AOPA is asking the FAA to avoid issuing "knee-jerk" flight restrictions as the nation approaches the anniversary of the September 11 attacks. Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley has just asked the FAA to reimpose a large temporary flight restriction (TFR) over downtown Chicago because of "reports" that several U.S. cities could be targeted by terrorists.
But in a strong letter to the FAA, AOPA President Boyer said that without a specific, credible threat, it would be "inappropriate for the federal government to institute arbitrary airspace restrictions. 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." Boyer also sent the letter to the Transportation Security Administration.
Boyer said that despite previous requests from Mayor Daley, the security community has not identified specific threats to the city's buildings or landmarks. And Illinois homeland security "czar" Matt Bettenhausen told the Chicago Tribune that a small aircraft would not likely do any harm.
"President Bush has been adamant that the United States should not allow the terrorist attacks of September 11th to undermine our way of life," said Boyer. "Arbitrary airspace restrictions are contrary to the President's message."