AOPA is battling an eleventh-hour effort by Louisiana Senator John Breaux to give control of some airspace to major sports interests. Breaux is maneuvering to slip a stadium overflight ban into the last-minute flurry of legislative activity. In an unusually direct letter sent to every member of the Senate Thursday afternoon, AOPA President Phil Boyer called Breaux's legislation "bad public policy" that would turn over the "control and regulation of airspace to private interests rather than the agencies established by Congress." Boyer said that Breaux's efforts would put the control of the nation's public airspace "in the hands of commercial and college sports interests."
Boyer said that the legislation misrepresented issues of aviation security. And he wasn't particularly subtle in reminding the senators that because of the size of AOPA membership, the association could flood their offices with thousands of faxes and phone calls on the issue. He asked the senators to oppose Sen. Breaux's efforts.
Sen. Breaux's legislation would take away the FAA's and TSA's authority to regulate airspace near sports stadiums. It is aimed at banning banner-towing aircraft, but it also has the effect of closing hundreds of general aviation airports near stadiums with a TFR each time a team plays.
Major league sports and colleges have spent considerable resources lobbying for the legislation.