AOPA is telling FAA Administrator Jane Garvey to rescind the temporary flight restriction (TFR) area over downtown Chicago. By continuing the TFR, "The FAA is tacitly endorsing the use of wholesale airspace restrictions to address a perception that general aviation poses a threat to the citizens of Chicago or other large metropolitan areas," AOPA President Phil Boyer wrote in an April 2 letter to the administrator. "This sets a troubling and unacceptable precedent that essentially abdicates airspace control to local authorities." AOPA questioned why the FAA would extend the TFR when security officials have confirmed that there is no credible threat to any Chicago buildings or landmarks.
The TFR was supposed to expire today (April 2), but the notam has not been rescinded. For the past six months since the September 11 terror attacks, general aviation aircraft have been prohibited from operating over Chicago, despite the fact that no credible threat has ever been established.
The FAA originally instituted the TFR in response to pressure from city officials in a misguided attempt to mollify anxiety expressed by some citizens. In his letter, Boyer noted that the continuation of the Chicago TFR was in direct contrast to the easing of other post-9/11 security restrictions around the city. For example, Chicago recently removed concrete barriers around the city's federal plaza, and public gatherings are once again permitted in the mall area.