October 7, 2003
AOPA's efforts to get the "permanent" security-related temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) lifted continued Thursday in a meeting with Rep. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.). Larsen's district north of Seattle is one of areas most heavily impacted by TFRs demanded by the Department of Defense (DoD) after the September 11 attacks.
AOPA staff members contacted the Washington Pilots Association before the meeting to make sure they accurately conveyed the pilots' concerns to the congressman. Using an aeronautical chart with the restricted areas highlighted, the AOPA staffers explained the impact that the TFRs have on home pilots in Larsen's district.
"Congressman Larsen asked us if the Navy had similar restrictions over its bases in San Diego or elsewhere along the Pacific coast," said AOPA Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Melissa Bailey. "We told him no. He said he was at a loss to understand why the military commanders in his state still feel they need the TFRs."
"He told us he believed the commanders are looking at possibilities, not probabilities," added AOPA Legislative Affairs Director Julia Krauss.
Larsen introduced language into a House report on the FAA reauthorization bill expressing concern about the effect of the DoD-requested security TFRs and urging the FAA to work with the Pentagon and all interested parties to evaluate the ongoing need for the restrictions. AOPA Manager of Legislative Affairs Rachel Carr has worked closely with Larsen and his staff on the TFR issue.
AOPA has called on the Transportation Security Administration to review more than a dozen longstanding temporary flight restrictions. TSA Administrator James Loy responded recently, saying his agency is conducting a "thorough audit" of the restrictions.
The Flying Physicians Association (FPA) has become the latest group to lend support to third-class medical reform and urge government officials to speed up their review of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). The NPRM would expand the number of pilots who could fly without needing to obtain a third-class medical certificate, a standard that has been successfully used by sport pilots for a decade.
California pilot Christopher Braun has created a revamped version of the cleco plier that is said to be lighter and more ergonomic.
There is no shortage of pilots in eastern Washington, but there does seem to be a scarcity of clubs in that part of the country.
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