July 29, 2003
The day after Chicago's Meigs Field proved its value again, the FAA stuck another nail in the airport's coffin. On Sunday, an aircraft flying just north of the airport on its way to Oshkosh suffered an electrical failure and made an emergency landing in the grass alongside the rubble from Meigs' torn-up runway. On Monday, the FAA published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to revoke the Class D airspace around the closed airport.
"Twice in as many weeks, aircraft have set down at Meigs despite the closure, due to in-flight situations," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "But Mayor Daley still plans to begin final demolition of the runway in less than a month."
A spokesperson for the FAA praised the pilot in Sunday's incident, telling the Chicago Tribune, "He did the correct thing and that is to put the aircraft down safely."
But in its NPRM, the agency said, "The City of Chicago has permanently closed Merrill C. Meigs Airport, Chicago, IL, and therefore there is no longer a requirement for the existing Class D airspace."
The FAA is accepting comments on the NPRM. Visit the federal Docket Management System, click the search button, and enter the docket number (15398), or go directly to document FAA-2003-15398-1. The deadline for submitting comments is September 29, 2003.
A touch of history, affordable flying, unique sightseeing, a good meal, and a community of pilots: Isn’t that what general aviation is all about?
Getting the job done on the local and national levels requires long-term planning, a hands-on approach, and keeping the effort moving, said Sean Collins, AOPA’s Eastern regional manager.
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