Mr. Obama came to Alaska on August 31 and shut the state down! The air space of Alaska is restricted for the next three days. In a state that relies on air travel and at a time of year when the air is full of small planes, the silence in the air is very noticeable. It is very similar to the situation following the terrorist attacks on 9/11 when no aircraft were in the air over Anchorage except military airplanes.
Hunting season starts on September 1 every single year. There are always hundreds of small planes taking off and landing at airports, air strips, and lakes every day and even more on the days leading up to September 1. Then Mr. Obama comes to town! He is not popular with most Alaskans; I suppose he is even less popular with hunters and pilots.
My husband and I drove out to Lake Hood on the evening of August 31 to check on our airplane and to make sure the ropes were tight enough to endure the brisk wind. We saw no float planes on the lake preparing to take off or taxiing to their tie down spots. We saw no people around the thousands of aircraft on the lake and surrounding land except for a few TSA agents. The only airplanes we saw in the sky were jet airliners taking off from Anchorage International Airport. Any aircraft leaving the area had to leave before the air space closed or endure an inspection of their aircraft by TSA. Any aircraft returning to the area had to first land at Palmer or Wasilla Lake for inspection. It was obvious to my husband and I that few pilots were willing to endure the lack of freedom to fly.
We left the airport to drive home and found a police car blocking the entrance to the Minnesota Bypass, forcing us to drive further east before turning south. Then we saw the Black Hawk helicopter flying around the southern part of Anchorage. Later we learned that Mr. Obama and other guests enjoyed a two-hour dinner at the home of Alice Rogoff on the shores of Campbell Lake. Rogoff is the liberal publisher of the Alaska Dispatch News, Alaska’s largest newspaper.
The Obama entourage is in the Seward area today for a hike up a glacier and will travel to Kotzebue and Dillingham tomorrow. Even though Mr. Obama is out of Anchorage, our air space continues to be restricted until 12:30 a.m. on Thursday, September 3, 2015. I will be grateful when Mr. Obama leaves Alaska and life returns to normal; I am sure that I am not the only Alaskan that will be happy to see him go!