April 6, 2005
AOPA President Phil Boyer spent an hour before a standing-room-only crowd today, discussing the issues that are top-of-mind for Washington, D.C.-area pilots - the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) and the recent incursions that led to the evacuation of the Capitol and White House.
Some 350 people, including reporters from The Associated Press and Washington Post, packed the seminar tent to hear Boyer discuss operational issues relating to the ADIZ. Also on hand to answer questions were representatives of the FAA, NORAD, and ATC, including controllers from the Potomac Tracon responsible for handling traffic in and around the ADIZ.
Boyer admitted that the May 11 incursion into the ADIZ and Flight Restricted Zone (FRZ) by a Cessna 150 has set back AOPA's efforts to improve the ADIZ, but added that the association is not ready to give up.
Boyer told the crowd that AOPA has prepared two separate proposals designed to reduce the economic and operational burdens associated with the ADIZ. One plan focuses on reducing the size of the ADIZ to dramatically improve access to numerous small airports in suburban communities outside of Washington. An alternative proposal would dramatically simplify the procedural requirements for typical light GA aircraft operating within the ADIZ.
Both ideas drew loud applause from the crowd.
Boyer also struck a hopeful note, urging those frustrated by the current environment to look ahead to the future of GA. He pointed out that for this year's fly-in, AOPA asked pilots to bring along a friend or family member who would like to learn to fly. Response to the invitation was so overwhelming that seminar sessions quickly filled and more had to be added.
"Now that is what I think flying is all about," Boyer told the appreciative crowd.
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