April 25, 2003
With the major fighting in Iraq concluded and the terrorist threat level in the United States lowered, AOPA is once again pushing to have longstanding "temporary" flight restrictions (TFRs) lifted. While the New York Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) and the downtown Chicago TFR have been rescinded, flight restrictions still plague pilots in 13 states, from Washington on the West Coast to Washington, D.C. in the east.
In a letter to Adm. James Loy, the head of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), AOPA President Phil Boyer said, "AOPA members are asking, 'Isn't it time for temporary restrictions to be lifted given the reduced threat level, ending of hostilities in Iraq, and phase-out of Operation Liberty Shield?'"
AOPA recently conducted a review of the 16 national security TFRs that have been in effect since shortly after the September 11 terrorist attacks, and every area has a local impact on general aviation operations.
For example, four security TFRs in Washington State's Puget Sound region have had a significant impact on three Victor airways and VFR arrivals and departures at three airports, and have led to the closure of a seaplane base. Similar impacts have been felt in Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Hawaii, Texas, Colorado, Alabama, Utah, Missouri, and Georgia.
"AOPA is asking the TSA to consider removing these restrictions," said Boyer. "We want to ensure due consideration is given to the continued need for each one, especially when you consider that these restrictions have been in place for almost 18 months."
A new FAA policy on obstructive sleep apnea that addresses many of the concerns raised by AOPA is scheduled to take effect March 2.
AOPA and the National Business Aviation Association have jointly filed an amicus, or friend of the court, brief in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals as part of the ongoing legal battle over the future of Santa Monica Municipal Airport.
Fourteen aviation organizations have banded together to urge the FAA to take immediate steps to lower barriers to ADS-B equipage.
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