Because President Obama is coming to Minneapolis tomorrow, the Federal Aviation Administration has posted a 10-mile no-fly zone over Minneapolis during his stay. The exact location of the zone will change as the president changes his location.

Occasionally, some pilot will stray into the zone, get intercepted by a fighter jet, and then make the nightly news (it happened today). It’s difficult to keep up with a moving zone. And quite often, the no-fly zones are thrown up on short notice, and the government isn’t really very good at providing them.

Here’s a map of the no-fly zones (click for large version). The small red circles are the 10-mile, no-fly zones. As you can see, they move when the president does and as a pilot, you’ve got to know when the zone moves. If the president decides to tarry in a spot longer than necessary, too bad for the pilot; he/she still has to stay out of the no-fly zone, even though he/she doesn’t know where it is.


The larger red circle is the 30-mile zone, which has restricted airplane movements.

For the reasons cited above, most pilots within the large red circle just wait it out. But that also means that businesses that depend on flying — flight schools, for example — are out of business on Saturday.

And it’s not just pilots. If you’re within this zone and you wanted to take your kid over to the park to light off his/her nifty model rocket, you can’t do that.