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FAA to restrict flights over Charlotte during DNC

The Federal Aviation Administration says it will restrict the airspace over Charlotte during the Democratic National Convention “to provide a safe and secure environment” for the event.

Among other things, the restrictions mean that, from Sept. 4 through Sept. 6, almost no flights will be allowed in a 3-mile-diameter ring directly over uptown Charlotte.

Among the exceptions: law enforcement aircraft, air ambulances and Department of Defense aircraft supporting the event.

Pilots who don’t adhere to the rules can be intercepted, detained and interviewed by law enforcement.

Less restrictive rules will govern the airspace in a 35-mile-diameter ring over uptown Charlotte. The rules are designed not to affect scheduled commercial flights to and from Charlotte-Douglas International Airport.

But it’s unlikely that other aircraft, such as the helicopters that television stations commonly use for aerial photography, will be allowed to fly over Charlotte during the convention.

“Really, there’s no way to get around that (temporary flight restriction),” said Bill Houska, director of training for Helicopters Inc., an Illinois-based company that flies for WSOC-TV. “Pretty much, it’s a dead air space.”

Such flight rules are commonly imposed during major political conventions. Similar restrictions will be in place from Aug. 26 to Aug. 30 in Tampa, during the Republican National Convention.

For full details on the flight restrictions, go to www.faasafety.gov and search for DNC.

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