March 19, 2003
The Honorable Marion Blakey Administrator Federal Aviation Administration 800 Independence Ave SW AOA-1 Room 1010 Washington, DC 20591
Dear Administrator Blakey,
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) has reluctantly accepted the airspace restrictions imposed by "Code Orange" in Washington, D.C., for several weeks, and most recently in the New York City area. Both venues were targeted in the tragic attacks of September 11, 2001. By this fact of history regarding these two major U.S. cities, it can be assumed to have a continued threat level. The ADIZ restrictions imposed have created operational problems for both our pilots and government air traffic controllers. To that end, last week AOPA put forth a series of proposals to alleviate many of these problems, yet would maintain the desired level of airspace security, which have gone unanswered.
The association and its almost 400,000 members cannot, however, tolerate the indiscriminate, "Mickey Mouse," temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) placed around Disney World in Florida and Disneyland in California. The FAA's own chief spokesman told CNN "there has been no credible threat" to these facilities. So, we ask, why are they being singled out at this time? Is it due to the longstanding wish of Disney Park officials to eliminate air traffic over their facilities, dating back prior to 9/11/01? Is it because they have employed lobbyists to convince the Federal Aviation Administration to accomplish this, under the guise of security?
We have been encouraged that the government has pledged to use concrete, threat-based intelligence to issue airspace and other transportation restrictions. This recent action over the theme parks in Florida and California, both heavily traveled pieces of airspace, contradicts that pledge.
AOPA requests the immediate removal of the restrictions.
March 19, 2003
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AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.