Trump NJ visit grounds model airplane club at 4-H fair

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The Broken Props Airplane Club could not fly during the Somerset County 4-H Fair this year because of President Donald Trump’s visit to Bedminster. The club members, however, still parted with valuable life lessons.
Nick Muscavage | Wochit

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — Marshall Hayward has been flying model airplanes and rockets at the Somerset County 4-H Fair for the past 15 years, but this year, the planes couldn’t take flight.

As the leader of the Broken Props Airplane Club, a model airplane club associated with 4-H, Hayward has been teaching children and teens how to fly model planes and rockets, and the life lessons that come with it.

This year, however, the planes could not take off at the fair because of temporary flight restrictions in place because President Trump is vacationing nearby at his Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster.

Hayward said that he received notices from the FAA instructing the club not fly.

“It’s because the president is in Bedminster and we’re in the zone, we’re only 4 miles away. We’re fairly close,” Hayward said. “I don’t think we’ve ever had a TFR (temporary flight restriction) during the fair previously.”

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Typically, club members will take their model aircraft to the county flying field during the fair right down the street, then watch their creations take flight.

This year, club members will instead be building airplanes, flying in a simulator and participating in other 4-H activities.  

There are 10 members of the club. They build mainly radio-controlled airplanes. The members range from fourth-graders to 19-year-olds.

“They’re making the best of it,” Hayward said. “They have a lot of respect for the rules and regulations because it is a regulated activity.

“Of course they’re disappointed, but they’re compliant with what the rules say we can do and what we can’t do.”

Flight restrictions for the president prohibit all air traffic within a 10-mile radius. There are two airports within a 10-mile radius of Trump National — Somerset Airport in Bedminster and Solberg Airport in Readington.

The flight restrictions will last through Aug. 21.

Robbie Devergillo, 13, of Bedminster is president of the Broken Props club. He said he has never experienced a no-fly zone restriction.

“This is the first time that I’ve encountered it,” he said. “It’s pretty unfortunate, but of course the president’s protection is always number one. You can’t complain about it, you just have to deal with it.”

Follow Nick Muscavage on Twitter: @nmuscavage

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