The Honorable Monte Belger
Federal Aviation Administration
800 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20591
As the first anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks draws near, security of the United States is the focal point of many state and local government officials. For the general aviation community, this means renewed requests for airspace restrictions over metropolitan areas. On behalf of our more than 386,000 members, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) wishes to reiterate its concern over the impacts of such restrictions. In the absence of a credible threat, it is inappropriate for the federal government to institute arbitrary airspace restrictions.
One such example of local government's attempted involvement in airspace matters is the recent request by Chicago's Mayor Richard Daley to establish a large no-fly zone over the city. It makes me wonder what Mayor Daley knows that the other mayors don't. To our knowledge, despite a previous request from Mayor Daley, the security community has not identified threats to the city's buildings and landmarks. In a recent article in the Chicago Tribune, State of Illinois security official Matt Bettenhausen dismissed general aviation aircraft as a threat to the city of Chicago.
President Bush has been adamant that the United States should not allow the terrorist attacks of September 11th to undermine our way of life. Arbitrary airspace restrictions are contrary to the President's message. As stewards of the National Airspace System, the FAA is obligated to look past the emotional grandstanding of local politicians and preserve the integrity of the national aviation system.
August 22, 2002