Military prepares for President Obama's visit to Fresno

President Barack Obama's trip to Fresno is scheduled for Friday, but signs of his arrival were apparent on Wednesday.
February 12, 2014 12:00:00 AM PST
President Barack Obama's trip to Fresno is scheduled for Friday, but signs of his arrival are already visible.

A military transport plane and presidential aircraft are parked at Fresno's airport.

For airplane watcher Javier Ortega, who spends hours every day just watching the planes come and go, seeing all that was quite a show.

"Today we saw two MV 22 Ospreys and two of the president's helicopters," said Ortega.

When asked if it was exciting, Ortega replied, "Yeah it really is, it sure is, to see something like that; not too often you get to see that especially around Fresno."

The presidential choppers and the Ospreys came off a big transport plane and are being readied at the Army National Guard base. The aircraft are expected to be used to carry the president and his entourage on a tour of the Valley.

Congressman Jim Costa of Fresno will be accompanying the president. He told us by phone from Washington, President Obama is deeply concerned about the drought.

"He wanted to see first-hand the impacts of very, very productive land that doesn't have surface water and well water, and we are working on that, and we hope it will be a very productive visit," said Costa.

Security will of course be tight. During previous visits by other presidents, Air Guard jets from the Fresno Air National Guard base were in the air.

Across town at Chandler Air Field, private pilot Tom Litton told us the FAA has already issued orders for the whole area.

"For those four hours there is a temporary flight restriction and yes that's the disruption basically we're going to have to be grounded because we are within the 10-mile range, and there's actually an extended range beyond that to 30 nautical miles, so we will have to ground operations, and that's going to affect instructors and other private pilots that had other issues or other plans for that day. But if you think about it, wherever the president goes there's always that type of accommodation that must be made," he said.

And for pilots who didn't pay attention to the FAA notice, Litton said, they may "get to see an F-15 up close and not the happy way."


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