AOPA President Phil Boyer let the nation know this morning that not all aviation is back in the air. During a live interview on CNN, Boyer pointed out that there are some 282 airports in 30 metropolitan areas that remain effectively closed to VFR operations. More than 41,000 aircraft are affected. These aircraft are used for personal and business transportation, just as Americans use their cars, Boyer said. Many of these aircraft are used extensively for business travel and provide a necessary alternative to the airlines. The continued VFR ban, Boyer said, is also having a tremendous economic impact on the infrastructure that supports general aviation. Businesses that sell fuel, maintain aircraft, flight schools, etc. are suffering significant losses, and many have had to lay off or fire employees.
Boyer noted the incongruity of current regulations allow student pilots to fly solo in Class B airspace, but that their instructors and other licensed pilots could not. "As these rules have been relaxed, pilots are wondering why they can't use their aircraft for their businesses," Boyer said. [Listen to audio of AOPA President Phil Boyer's interview ( 2.7 Mb WAV file | 509 k RealAudio file; a broadband connection is recommended). A transcript is also available at www.cnn.com.]