AOPA fights against sporting interests' attempt to dictate airspace policy

September 25, 2002

University of Michigan vs. Michigan State University Football Tickets: $50

"Go Blue!" Tee shirt for your 9-year-old son: $20

Peace of mind knowing the skies are safe above: Priceless

Let's keep our sports fans safe by
Keeping aircraft away from stadiums

Dear Colleague:

On any given Sunday hundreds of thousands of Americans file into stadiums to cheer for their football team. The same is true for baseball games, NASCAR races, and college football games throughout the country. These stadiums and the fans that fill them are sitting targets. After September 11th, all of these stadiums increased their security on the ground. They perform extensive searches of the individuals and vehicles entering the stadiums to ensure everyone's safety. We need to protect them from above as well.

During game days, the skies above our Nation's stadiums should be free of circling planes. Restricting the airspace above stadiums will give all Americans a greater peace of mind and raise the level of safety and security.

Even if the terrorist attacks of September 11 never occurred, outdoor venues packed with many thousands of spectators are no place for pilots towing banners. An aerial accident could be a disaster. Accidents have occurred before. And they could certainly happen again. For example, a plane buzzed Memorial Stadium, in Maryland, approximately fifteen minutes after the conclusion of an NFL game. The plane came in from the open end of the field at the press box level, could not pull up quick enough, and hit the upper deck about half way up. There was also a near mid-air collision between two banner aircraft flying over Veterans Stadium, in Philadelphia, during an NFL game. As a result, one of the planes was forced to make an emergency landing.

Stadium security officials have enough to worry about without air traffic. The fans should be able to watch the games without having fears from above.

This week, I plan to introduce a measure that will effectively ban flights over major sporting events. This legislation will NOT have adverse effects on commercial flights, military, or law enforcement aircraft.

If you would like to join me in keeping our stadiums safe, sign on as an original cosponsor of this important legislation. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me directly or have your staff contact Michael Beckerman of my office at 5.3761.

Sincerely,

Fred Upton
Member of Congress

September 25, 2002