October 31, 2005
"Once you get people all talking in the same room with the door closed, it is possible good things can happen," said AOPA President Phil Boyer.
The meeting on the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) took place in an ornate Senate hearing room this week and was spearheaded by AOPA member and pilot Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.).
And while AOPA has held more than 100 individual meetings with the many people, agencies, and departments that claim ownership to the stringent ADIZ rules, having them all together is rare. The closed-door dialogue was open and frank and without the normal posturing for the public and the press.
"I remain confused and frustrated on why there has been so much effort focused on restricting GA access to the Washington, D.C., airspace with little to no justification for it," stated Sen. Inhofe. He called the meeting after a recent plea from Boyer to assist in the Washington, D.C., ADIZ stalemate.
Inhofe specifically chided the FAA for failing to submit congressionally mandated reports justifying the ADIZ and recommending operational improvements. The regulators explained themselves...
(September 14, 2006)
AOPA is objecting to the FAA's proposed special awareness training for the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) on three grounds: It won't solve the problem the agency is trying to fix; it's too broad; and the action itself is premature.
The FAA is still in the middle of rulemaking for codifying the ADIZ size, configuration, and operating rules.
"More than 22,000 anti-ADIZ comments and three public meetings are still pending, without the FAA answering or mitigating the concerns raised by law-abiding pilots and members of Congress," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "It begs the question of whether the agency is truly committed to considering public comment and following the rulemaking process as required by law." Training won't solve the problem...
(September 7, 2006)
AOPA and the FAA agree on this: All of the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) incursions (save one) have been unintentional, and that training is the solution to the problem.
"But AOPA and the FAA diverge when it comes to how to implement that training," said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs.
"The FAA wants a de facto expansion of the ADIZ. That could very well lead to more enforcement actions against pilots who have not actually violated the ADIZ."
How? The FAA is proposing to require mandatory training for any VFR pilot flying within 100 nautical miles of the DCA Vortac. That effectively expands the ADIZ to engulf 117 airports. Training mandated for pilots flying anywhere in the Mid-Atlantic...
(July 6, 2006)
The very people who oversee policy for the Department of Homeland Security and the FAA are firing serious questions at the DHS about the necessity of the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ). That's because AOPA has taken its fight against the ADIZ to Capitol Hill.
Ranking member of the Committee on Homeland Security Bennie G. Thompson wrote DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff on June 22 requesting answers: "In light of the improvements to the security of the airspace surrounding our nation's capital, I would like to know whether the department has assessed whether the ADIZ is still necessary today." DHS can't ignore Congress...
(June 27, 2006)
They're back! The transcripts of the ADIZ public meetings have been reposted to the Web. AOPA had filed a Freedom of Information Act request to get them back.
The transcripts were removed from public view because they "might" have contained "security sensitive information" (SSI) about security and defense operations in the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone.
At the request of NORAD (the North American Aerospace Defense Command), the Department of Homeland Security was to scrub the transcripts for any SSI and redact any public comments that might have compromised security.
They found nothing. Not a word was cut from the transcripts. More on ADIZ transcripts...
(Updated: April 13, 2006, 9:54 a.m. EDT)
What do they have to hide? Believe it or not, the FAA has yanked the transcript of the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) public meeting off the Web. The FAA told AOPA they were ordered to do so by the Department of Defense and security officials.
So AOPA has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to get the information back in public view.
"How ridiculous can you get?" said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "These were public meetings covered by the news media. Nothing was said that wasn't already in the more than 21,000 written comments. Do they honestly think security information was disclosed during the public meetings?"
Apparently they do. More on ADIZ transcript...
(March 10, 2006)
More than 21,380 comments. That's a record number of responses to an FAA notice of proposed rulemaking. And AOPA members from across the nation should be proud that they answered the call to help strike down a permanent air defense identification zone (ADIZ) around the Washington-Baltimore area.
But will it do any good?
"It's clear that the incredible number of comments made a huge impression on congressional staffers," said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs.
AOPA on Monday briefed more than 40 of the key aides to members of Congress, aides who help influence lawmakers' position on issues and help them write the legislation.
"We made it clear that their constituents, pilots who vote for their bosses, are deeply concerned about the spread of ADIZs to other parts of the country. The number of comments was a forceful reflection of that concern." More on ADIZ comments...
Graphic: This overlay of the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone and Flight Restricted Zone on a street map was used to illustrate a car analogy for congressional staffers.
(February 8, 2006)
The Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy is asking the FAA to consider alternatives to making the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) a permanent fixture around the capital.
In comments filed Monday, the agency urged the FAA to get more information about the impact of the ADIZ on small businesses and offer "less burdensome" alternatives to making the ADIZ permanent.
"The SBA's comments reinforce the fact that airspace restrictions like these aren't just a problem for pilots," said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. "The effects extend well beyond the pilot community and create real hardships for business owners and their employees. It's great to know that the SBA's Office of Advocacy is listening to the businesses it represents."
AOPA instigated the Office of Advocacy's involvement in the issue. AOPA's Rob Hackman, manager of regulatory and certification policy, twice briefed its aviation roundtable on the economic impact of the flight restrictions on businesses in and near the ADIZ. More on SBA ADIZ comments...
(February 7, 2006)
The deadline is fast approaching. If you don't want the government to clamp down on your airspace the way it has around Baltimore and Washington, now is the time to file your comments against the proposal to make the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) a permanent impediment to air travel along the East Coast.
The deadline for comments is Monday, February 6. (See AOPA's Member Action Center: Operation ADIZ to learn more or file your comments.)
"As anyone who rationally considers the question recognizes, the security threat from small general aviation aircraft is minimal at best," wrote a 30-year private pilot from the Midwest. "Even most of the smaller motor vehicles traveling in and out of the area hourly, 24/7 pose a greater security risk, than a typical four-seat plane such as mine. The load-carrying capacity and the mass just are not substantial in a small GA plane, as compared to most vehicles on the street.... Establishing the ADIZ is not a good idea!" More on the ADIZ...
Illustration by John MacNeill: The Washington, D.C., ADIZ with Flight Restricted Zone.
(January 31, 2006)
AOPA is working all the ADIZ angles, heading down every avenue to prevent the 3,000-square-mile Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) around the Washington-Baltimore area from becoming permanent.
Last week, for example, AOPA met again with the Small Business Administration's Office of Advocacy to brief that agency on the economic impact of the flight restrictions on business inside the ADIZ.
"That's something the FAA did not calculate, claiming they couldn't get the data," said Rob Hackman, AOPA manager of regulatory and certification policy. "The FAA looked at just two small airports. AOPA gathered the data from 13 airports within the ADIZ and 20 other airports near the ADIZ."
And even though the FAA couldn't find it, AOPA did discover a significant impact - more than $43 million a year in lost wages and local spending and taxes. More on ADIZ impacts...
(January 27, 2006)
"I implore you; don't take this bad idea and make it permanent!"
Nothing summed it up better than AOPA President Phil Boyer's presentation to collected federal security officials in the large hotel meeting room just next to Virginia's Dulles International Airport Wednesday afternoon. The hotel and the airport are deep inside the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), and Boyer was only the first of some 200 pilots ready to explain exactly why the ADIZ is a bad idea.
And for the first time in public, Boyer revealed his own personal bad experience with the ADIZ.
AOPA had requested this public meeting, and the one last week, because - as Boyer told the panel of Secret Service, Department of Defense, Customs and Border Patrol, Homeland Security, Transportation Security Administration, and FAA officials - "The voices and faces and the appeals of the affected pilots would have a greater effect [on you federal officials] than even the outpouring of written comments from across the nation."
Boyer said that some 90 percent of the nearly 20,000 written anti-ADIZ comments came from outside the Washington area, "mainly because [pilots] fear that the same thing that was done to Class B airspace here in this city could happen to 29 other places around the country."
Click here to see a 7:30 video of excerpts from the ADIZ public meeting. More on ADIZ meeting...
Photo: AOPA President Boyer tells federal security officials that the ADIZ is a bad idea.
(January 18, 2006)
The second set of ADIZ public meetings that AOPA had pushed for will start this afternoon from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Airport Marriott Hotel in Dulles, Virginia. AOPA President Phil Boyer will be first to speak at this meeting. The meeting will resume at 6:30 p.m. and run to 9 p.m.
Federal security officials already got an earful last week from pilots and air traffic controllers about the inadequacies of the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).
A not-so-simple flight through the ADIZ illustrates some of those problems. AOPA recently recorded such a flight and condensed it into a 9-minute, downloadable audio file. ( Click here to listen.) More on ADIZ problems...
(Updated: January 18, 2006, 6:36 a.m. EST)
AOPA members got the chance to come face to face with representatives from six federal agencies to air their experiences and concerns about the hastily developed Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) during Thursday's public meetings. More than 300 local pilots - mostly AOPA members - attended the first of two public hearings in Columbia, Maryland, which AOPA had worked hard to create. Over the course of six hours, more than 30 speakers provided the government with a clear message about the ADIZ's inadequacies through personal accounts of operational nightmares, safety hazards, and negative economic impacts.
"Our members are the real asset, and I am proud of the way they are stepping up to present their personal, passionate, well-researched comments against a permanent Washington, D.C., ADIZ," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "And these public meetings allow the government to hear that - loud and clear - directly from the members, the pilots and aircraft owners who have to struggle with these unworkable regulations every day."
And while the 11-member panel composed of representatives from the FAA, Transportation Security Administration, Homeland Security, Defense Department, Customs and Border Protection, and the Secret Service seemed unresponsive, the FAA assured AOPA that the agency is listening.
"We appreciate all the thought that people have put into their comments - the almost 20,000 submissions to the docket and live testimony yesterday," said an FAA spokeswoman. "We appreciate the time they took to come to the public meetings to offer their recommendations, alternate ideas, and suggestions of how to protect the airspace around the Capital Region but still allow the aviation community to thrive. We will look at all the comments and consider the many creative recommendations we have." More on ADIZ meetings...
Photo: Doug Gould (FAA) and Col. Randy Morris (Department of Defense), two of the 10 federal officials facing pilots detailing ADIZ problems at the public meeting Thursday.
(January 13, 2006)
More than 200 people on Thursday filled a conference room in Columbia, Maryland, and almost all were there to tell federal officials why the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) shouldn't be made permanent.
"The ADIZ should be abolished," said one of the first speakers, Scott Proudfoot. He was speaking for the controllers union, NATCA, and said, "The ADIZ is nothing but a burden on the users and the controllers."
AOPA had pushed for the public meetings, arguing that regulators needed to hear directly from pilots themselves about the problems caused by the ADIZ. And there are plenty. More on first ADIZ meeting...
(January 12, 2006)
The first of two ADIZ public meetings that AOPA had pushed for is set to start this Thursday at the Sheraton Hotel in Columbia, Maryland. The second is next week, January 18, at the Airport Marriott in Dulles, Virginia. AOPA President Phil Boyer is scheduled to speak at the second meeting.
And if some of the recent comments to the public docket - almost 20,000 of them so far - are any indication, the FAA and security agency officials - who've promised to be there - are going to get an earful about the failure of the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone.
Consider this example: The pilot had landed at his airport inside the ADIZ. He had jumped through all the right hoops, talked to all the right controllers. Nevertheless, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Blackhawk helicopter was dispatched to find him.
"After several passes [the Blackhawk] descended, landed, and four agents bailed out with machine guns. Myself and perhaps a hundred of my curious neighbors watched as they circled my tied-down 172," the pilot wrote in his comments. More on bad ADIZ experiences...
(January 11, 2006)
Security officials will finally get to hear directly from pilots, airport managers, and others about the economic and operational impacts of the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ).
Thanks to AOPA's persistent efforts, contact by numerous members of Congress, and input from affected pilots, the FAA has announced two public meetings in January, which will also be attended by representatives from the departments of Defense and Homeland Security.
"This represents the first time since 9/11 that security officials and the FAA will attend public meetings together about airspace issues," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "The government will finally hear it from the people in their own words." More on ADIZ public meetings...
(December 8, 2005)
Does the 9/11 Commission want ADIZs everywhere? Perhaps. In the commision's latest "report card," it gives the government a B- for homeland airspace defense. The commission notes that there is "no overarching plan to secure airspace outside the National Capital region."
"That's most ominous," said Andy Cebula, AOPA senior vice president of government and technical affairs, "because what 'secures' the National Capital region is the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ)!
"I'm not sure which is more distressing - that the commission thinks the Washington, D.C., ADIZ works, or that they think the model should be applied elsewhere," said Cebula.
Which makes it all the more critical that pilots tell the government that they don't want the Washington, D.C., ADIZ to continue, and they definitely don't want an ADIZ in their airspace. More on ADIZs everywhere...
(December 7, 2005)
The problems associated with the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) are drawing ever more attention, even outside aviation circles. On Thursday, AOPA President Phil Boyer answered questions from a Bloomberg News reporter regarding the negative economic impact of the ADIZ and flight restricted zone (FRZ).
"The impact of the airspace restrictions is felt even beyond the airports themselves," said Boyer. "Loss of local spending in communities around just four of the airports inside the ADIZ amounted to over $10 million annually between 2002 and 2004."
That is based on AOPA's recent independent economic study, which also shows that 10 general aviation (GA) airports inside the ADIZ are losing nearly $43 million per year in wages, revenue, taxes, and local spending.
"Pilots are security-minded and are being respectful of the need to protect the nation's capital," said Boyer. "But enough is enough."
Last month, more than four years after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Congress approved $5 million in compensation for the DC-3 airports - College Park, Potomac Airfield, and Washington Executive/Hyde Field - and associated businesses hardest hit by the security restrictions put in place around Washington, D.C.
The FAA has extended the deadline to file comments on its proposal to make the ADIZ permanent. AOPA is urging pilots who have not yet filed comments to do so before the February 6, 2006, deadline. To learn more about the ADIZ and what it means to pilots, or to file comments, see the AOPA Member Action Center: Operation ADIZ.
(December 2, 2005)
Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta promised it November 3 at AOPA Expo in Tampa. Now the FAA has delivered the formal paperwork, reopening the comment period on the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ). Already more than 21,100 pilots, an unprecedented number, have spoken out against making the ADIZ permanent around Washington and against allowing ADIZs to metastasize to other Class B airspace.
Pilots now have until February 6, 2006, to file their comments. And the FAA also has granted AOPA's request for public meetings on the ADIZ, saying that the meeting dates will be published in a future document.
"Even with the weight of more than 21,100 comments, the public meetings are important," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "And besides the FAA, officials from the Department of Homeland Security, Department of Defense, and Secret Service need to be front and center at these meetings. They're the ones making decisions controlling the airspace; they need to look pilots in the eye and hear firsthand what their decisions are doing to general aviation."
Meanwhile, the nation's political leaders continue to speak out against the ADIZ. Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.) was particularly vociferous against the ADIZ during his address to AOPA Expo. More on congressional opposition to the ADIZ...
(Updated: February 6, 2006, 4:30 p.m. EST)
Before a crowd of some 1,000 general aviation pilots and enthusiasts, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta announced Thursday that he has directed the FAA to extend the comment period by 90 days and hold an AOPA-requested public meeting on its plan to make the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) permanent.
Mineta's announcement, made during the opening general session of AOPA Expo 2005 in Tampa, was greeted with enthusiastic applause from the audience, as was the news that more than 17,900 individual comments - many of them written by AOPA members - had been filed to the docket.
Mineta thanked pilots for their comments and pledged to pay attention to their concerns, but he also urged them to be accountable for their actions in the air and do a better job of understanding and following security requirements that are in place.
"Americans expect us to do a better job," he said. "It is an issue of accountability and the general aviation community needs to work harder to police its members."
Mineta also addressed an issue that's top-of-mind for many general aviation pilots - user fees. Answering a question from an audience member, Mineta said that solving the FAA's future funding problems "is not going to be a one-size-fits-all solution."
"I can tell you right now from my perspective [the solution] will not be user fees," Mineta added to resounding applause. Mineta also said that he would support AOPA's recommendation to continue using fuel taxes as the most effective and fair means of funding the FAA.
At that point AOPA President Phil Boyer jumped in, asking if he could tell his staff working on the user-fee issue to stand down. Mineta smiled, acknowledging that the battle is not yet won and encouraging AOPA to stay vigilant. More on Mineta at AOPA Expo...
Watch videos of the general session: Part 1 (Phil Boyer's remarks and Secretary Mineta's address); Part 2 (member questions and the secretary's answers).
Photo: Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta and AOPA President Phil Boyer respond to members' questions.
(November 3, 2005)
AOPA's comments opposing plans to make the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) permanent stretch to 27 pages - the culmination of the association's extensive efforts to understand and explain the true impact of the ADIZ. Those efforts have included talking to hundreds of affected pilots, numerous meetings with security officials from the White House and a wide array of government agencies, an independent economic analysis of the ADIZ, and ongoing meetings with members of Congress.
To see how that information shaped AOPA's formal comments, see the excerpt from the executive summary below.
In Washington, D.C., more than 10,000 pilots (8,000 of which are AOPA members) are based at airports in the area. These pilots, as well as those not based in the area, conduct approximately 80 percent of the 900,000 operations annually from 19 public-use airports in the region. For those pilots who live and work in the area, the existing ADIZ flight restrictions are a daily problem. For members who live outside of Washington, D.C., the proposal to make the flight restrictions permanent raises a substantial concern that the FAA will use them as a template for establishing similar restrictions in the airspace around other major cities. More on what AOPA had to say...
The Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) is ineffective, operationally and financially burdensome, a threat to aviation safety, and unnecessary in light of advances in security; it should be eliminated or dramatically modified, AOPA told the FAA in comments filed Wednesday on the agency's proposal to make the ADIZ permanent.
AOPA also expressed its opposition to the idea of making permanent a "temporary" security measure that was created with no analysis or public comment - a security measure that turns the same tactics used to protect U.S. borders during the Cold War against law-abiding citizens in the heart of the nation's capital.
"It raises the very serious question for pilots across the country, 'Have the terrorists won when we apply security requirements internally that are designed to protect our borders?'" AOPA President Phil Boyer wrote on behalf of the association.
AOPA's formal comments present carefully reasoned, legally based arguments against making the ADIZ permanent, including:
(November 2, 2005)
The U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, which has direct control over the FAA, has expressed its concern over the proposal to make the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) permanent. It also has requested public meetings that include Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security officials, and it has asked for an extended comment period.
"There is a real concern about the need for and utility of such wide-sweeping flight restrictions," 40 committee members told FAA Administrator Marion Blakey in a letter. "As such, it seems very reasonable for the FAA and DHS to clearly identify the conditions that would allow the removal of the restrictions and a process for lifting the restrictions immediately."
"Forty members of Congress came together under the bipartisan leadership of Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Don Young and Ranking Member Jim Oberstar as well as aviation subcommittee Chairman John Mica and Ranking Subcommittee Member Ray Costello to show their concern about the rulemaking," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "That should send a strong, clear message to the FAA that pilots, aircraft owners, and members of Congress are opposed to making the ADIZ as it currently exists permanent." More on U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure comments...
(November 1, 2005)
The frustration pilots and air traffic controllers feel with the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) is coming through loud and clear in the more than 21,100 comments filed in response to the FAA's proposal to make the restrictions permanent. One resounding theme: The ADIZ punishes law-abiding pilots but does nothing to protect against terrorism.
"I am a member of the Army National Guard currently deployed in Iraq and I am civilian pilot," wrote one commenter. "Ostensibly, I am in Iraq to protect the freedom of the American people, and I find the imposition of regulations such as the D.C.-area ADIZ personally offensive because they abolish the very freedoms I have given up a year of my life defending, yet do nothing to enhance the public's safety." More on ADIZ comments...
[See also AOPA's Member Action Center: Operation ADIZ.]
(Updated: February 6, 2006, 4:15 p.m. EST)
Ten general aviation airports inside the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) that are dependent on providing services to pilots of light aircraft are losing nearly $43 million per year in wages, revenue, taxes, and local spending. That's what AOPA's independent economic study of 13 airports impacted by the ADIZ has revealed.
"The study shows that those most affected by the ADIZ are GA aircraft owners and pilots, and the businesses that serve this group, even though they pose the least threat," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "If the ADIZ is not modified, it could permanently jeopardize the economic viability of GA operations in the Washington, D.C., area."
Total revenue at the impacted airports has dropped $27.5 million since the ADIZ imposition in 2003. And more than 100 jobs have been lost, sales of aviation gasoline are down by nearly 20 percent, a flight school has closed, and many pilots have either stopped flying or have moved out of the area.
"Overall, it is clearly apparent that airports within the ADIZ have been negatively impacted (both operationally and economically) by the events of 9/11 and that their recovery had lagged the recovery experienced at airports outside of the ADIZ," the study conducted by Aviation Management and Consulting Group and Martin Associates revealed.
AOPA commissioned the study to find out just how much the ADIZ is negatively impacting those airports because the FAA failed to gather any data about the impact the ADIZ has on general aviation airports. More on ADIZ economic impact...
Pilots aren't the only ones worried about the safety implications of making the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) permanent. In comments filed with the FAA on Monday, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) said the ADIZ is dangerous, expensive, and unjustified.
"The ADIZ is not only a burden to its users; it is an unsafe mixed bag of personal controller technique without even a veneer of procedure or common sense," wrote NATCA President John Carr, adding that the ADIZ has increased traffic by 30 percent for controllers at Potomac Tracon while staffing levels have not changed.
"Controllers know the ADIZ does far more harm than good, and so do pilots," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "Making the ADIZ permanent will only increase the risk - not for terrorists - but for law-abiding pilots, their passengers, and the public at large."
In its comments, NATCA pointed out that it has repeatedly asked the FAA for guidelines for implementing the ADIZ - guidelines that have never come. As a result, every controller handles the ADIZ differently, causing confusion for pilots. More on air traffic controllers' response to the ADIZ...
(October 31, 2005)
As pilots around the nation urge the FAA not to make the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) permanent, one community that has been directly affected by the restrictions is taking action of its own.
The Town of Leesburg, home to Leesburg Executive Airport, has passed a resolution strongly urging the FAA to withdraw the notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that would make the ADIZ permanent, reduce the airspace restrictions as much as security concerns will allow, and consider the economic and political impacts of the airspace restrictions. And the local airport commission has sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta detailing the financial hardships the ADIZ has created and urging him to stop the hemorrhaging by eliminating the ADIZ.
"If you want to know what kind of harm an ADIZ could cause in your community, you need look no further than the dramatic losses sustained by Leesburg," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "This is a community that was poised to grow its airport and its business infrastructure - and now it's just trying to hold on to the businesses that remain." More on Leesburg's response to the ADIZ...
While the FAA has yet to agree to AOPA's request for public meetings on the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), AOPA has asked the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to participate in any meetings held.
"It is imperative that security officials hear directly from members of the general aviation community and air traffic controllers about the practical difficulties and economic hardships caused by this highly restrictive airspace," AOPA President Phil Boyer told Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Michael P. Jackson. "Simply reviewing and responding to written comments does not afford the proper opportunity for questions, discussion, and the exploration of alternatives." More on Homeland Security and the ADIZ...
(October 28, 2005)
The chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works is taking strong opposition to making the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) permanent.
Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), an active general aviation pilot and AOPA member, told FAA Administrator Marion Blakey that not only is he opposed to the ADIZ, he is also very concerned that the agency has failed to comply with the law.
"What is most troubling about this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking is that the FAA is proposing to make permanent the ADIZ without addressing the necessary operational concerns to ease the burden on pilots and air traffic controllers," said Inhofe. "Public Law 108-176 'Vision 100 - Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act,' required that the FAA provide Congress with justifications for the ADIZ every 60 days, which were to include proposed changes to improve operations. To my knowledge, we are still waiting for these justifications." Inhofe was directly responsible for the inclusion of that reporting requirement in the law. More on Sen. Inhofe and the ADIZ...
(October 25, 2005)
When you write the FAA to oppose the ADIZ, here are a few things you should say, in your own words:
There should be no mistaking the message - pilots don't think the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) should be made permanent, and they definitely don't want ADIZs to spread to other parts of the country.
"I'm a VFR pilot who must rely on the airspace access to exercise the privileges of my airman's certificate," wrote a California pilot. "I see this proposed regulation as a direct assault on my airspace access. If imposed, this regulation is now 'justified' and can then be duplicated across the country and limit or down right restrict my ability to commute via light aircraft."
By Monday afternoon, 21,136 people had commented on the proposal to make the Washington ADIZ permanent. And literally thousands - including members of Congress - have asked the FAA for public meetings on the proposal.
But the FAA has yet to respond. "I fail to understand how the FAA can ignore the voices of the people on this," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "The FAA, Department of Transportation, and Homeland Security officials need to look pilots in the eye and hear directly how the ADIZ doesn't work and how it unfairly hurts general aviation."
There is still time to add your voice to the opposition. See AOPA's Member Action Center to submit your comments to the FAA.
"This is one of the most important fights we've had for a long time," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "The outcome could affect pilots' freedom to fly everywhere. That's why AOPA has devoted so much to preventing a permanent Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) around Washington, D.C."
And so have AOPA members. By Monday afternoon, 21,136 people had commented to the FAA proposal, the vast majority in opposition. Many of those people had been prompted to write because of an AOPA National Pilot Alert mailed to all 406,000 members. That illustrates how important the ADIZ issue really is, because it is only the third national alert the association has issued in over a decade. More on the anti-ADIZ efforts...
(See also AOPA's Member Action Center: Operation ADIZ.)
The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) has sounded off on the ADIZ. In its letter to FAA Administrator Blakey, GAMA also has asked for a public meeting on the onerous airspace.
"While I certainly understand and agree that security measures are needed," said GAMA President Peter Bunce, "I believe the best way to address these measures is in close coordination with the airmen who fly in and around this airspace." More on GAMA's ADIZ comments...
While AOPA members are weighing in by the thousands against the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), AOPA members who are also members of Congress are taking a stand as well.
"I have spent my whole career trying to convince regulators and my colleagues to get rid of rules and regulations that place a substantial burden or pose an unnecessary nuisance without significantly increasing safety or security," wrote Rep. Vernon J. Ehlers (R-Mich.) in his letter to FAA Administrator Marion Blakey, detailing just some of the onerous burdens imposed by the ADIZ. "I've heard from many general aviation pilots who have experienced problems trying to operate in the ADIZ, including increased hold times, potentially unsafe maneuvering as they circle outside the ADIZ, confusing clearances, lost flight plans, and stiff and irreversible penalties for minor infractions." More on members of Congress attack the ADIZ...
Photo: Rep. Robin Hayes, Rep. Sam Graves, and Rep. Vernon J. Ehlers.
(Updated: October 20, 2005, 12:06 p.m. EDT)
Want a real-life illustration of the operational problems with an ADIZ? Consider what happened this week when the FAA tried to change the flight plan requirement.
Earlier this week, the FAA confidently told AOPA that pilots could file ADIZ flight plans through DUATS. Previously, the required VFR or IFR flight plan could only be filed through a flight service station, so adding DUATS filing would have been a small step forward in reducing some of the ADIZ operational hassles for pilots. AOPA has pushed for that change since 2003. More on ADIZ DUATS flight plans...
(October 20, 2005)
Business owners at airports within the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) say it's suffocating small aviation businesses. They report revenue cut in half or more, employees leaving for fear of harming careers, and customers scared away by daunting regulations. And those comments are quantified by an AOPA-commissioned, independent economic impact study.
"The FAA concedes that it hasn't collected any data on the change in operations and revenue imposed by the ADIZ," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "So AOPA commissioned two nationally known firms to find out. And it wasn't pretty." More on ADIZ damage to aviation business...
(Updated: October 17, 2005, 3:37 p.m. EDT)
The comments continue to pour in. By Monday afternoon, 21,136 pilots had responded to AOPA's call to protest the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) and the horrible precedent it could set for pilots everywhere.
"I am extremely concerned that if the Washington ADIZ is made permanent, then New York will shortly follow and this will create a tremendously difficult flying environment for training and travel," wrote a New York pilot. "All citizens should have a voice in this issue, especially pilots, and in a democracy as strong as the United States, the FAA, at a minimum should hold public hearings on the ADIZ rule."
"We're very pleased with the response so far, but we need much more," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "Politicians respect numbers, and this is ultimately a political decision.
"Whether you live in Washington, D.C., or across the country in Washington State, you too need to respond, because if an ADIZ is allowed to remain over the 3,000 square miles of airspace near Washington and Baltimore, ADIZs could multiply to cities like Boston, Miami, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Seattle." More on ADIZ response...
AOPA is urging all of its more than 406,000 members to take just 15 minutes to help protect your freedom to fly - to prevent a future air defense identification zone (ADIZ) from restricting airspace in your area.
"AOPA needs the voice of every member to tell the FAA and Congress not to make the Washington, D.C., ADIZ permanent," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "The ADIZ is ill conceived, poorly executed, and unnecessary. It's a dangerous precedent because it paves the way to make these confusing and onerous flight restrictions a real possibility within the footprint of every Class B airspace around the country." Pilots attending the Phoenix-area Pilot Town Meeting last week - more than 2,000 miles from D.C. - expressed their concern to Boyer about the ADIZ becoming permanent.
AOPA is taking this highly unusual step - only the third time in more than 10 years - in order to take full advantage of one of the association's key assets. More on the ADIZ threat...
(Updated: October 9, 2005, 2:51 p.m. EDT)
Collaboration between the German government, academia, and airplane manufacturers may make future aircraft cabins more protective of pilots and passengers. The Safety Box team plans to apply auto racing technology to general aviation.
A father and his 14-year-old son were helping another pilot ferry a newly purchased aircraft from California to their home field in Virginia. The three made an overnight stop in Albuquerque before flying on to Illinois for fuel. But shortly after they parked the aircraft in Marion, Ill., they were approached by as many as 18 uniformed and non-uniformed law enforcement officers who came running toward the airplane.
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