In a letter to the President, AOPA President Phil Boyer reminded President George W. Bush that tens of thousands of licensed pilots are still restricted from flying in America and urged the President to review AOPA recommendations to reduce emergency restrictions and reopen key reliever airports to general aviation activities. [See AOPA President Boyer's letter to President Bush.]
"I watched with great interest today as you urged Americans to "get the airplanes flying again all across America" and "get about the business of America," Boyer said. "As the leader of the nation's largest pilot organization, our members would like to do nothing more than utilize the investment they have in their general aviation aircraft and get them " flying again across all of America." But today, tens of thousands of pilots licensed under strict FAA regulations still cannot fly."
Boyer said an estimated 65 percent of general aviation flights are conducted for business and public service and that the existing restrictions on general aviation today are putting a great number of Americans out of work and hurting aviation business at a level exceeding $400 million to date. General aviation is a $20 billion-a-year industry that generates more than $64 billion in economic activity and is deeply woven into the fabric of American life. "Therefore, we would very much like to " get about the business of America."
AOPA has provided the FAA with several measured proposals to return more general aviation access to enhanced Class B airspace and reduce the current temporary airspace ban on all general aviation flights surrounding New York City and Washington, D.C. These recommendations immediately open several key reliever airports to business travelers who rely on general aviation for travel to these cities and eliminate the need to temporarily relocate hundreds of aircraft.
"Mr. President, as I write this letter, we have learned the White House could issue a statement that "deadly force" could be used against any aircraft that enters restricted or prohibited airspace without authorization. Since this places the "ultimate penalty" on a pilot violating airspace restrictions, then why can't the AOPA proposals above be implemented?"
Boyer thanked the President for his tireless efforts at this critical moment in the history of our great nation. "All of America stands with you," he said. "I made note of your remarks in bringing the country together during this tragedy that terrorists should 'not change our way of life...' or 'affect our freedoms.' General aviation pilots in America have been patient, but isn't now the time to reassess these emergency restrictions?"