Rep. Richard Geist (R-Dist. 79), Rep. John
Perzel (R-House Speaker), AOPA President
Phil Boyer, Rep. Gene McGill (R-Dist.
151), Rep. Keith McCall (D-Dist. 122)
Remember that poor pipeline patrol pilot who unwittingly flew over the presidential motorcade in Philadelphia earlier this year? The Pennsylvania legislature certainly does. AOPA President Phil Boyer was the honored guest of state Rep. Gene McGill (R-Dist. 151) as the state House of Representatives on Monday passed by a near-unanimous vote a resolution sponsored by McGill that calls on federal security officials to reduce the size of presidential-movement temporary flight restrictions (TFRs).
The four-page resolution also calls for authorities to "reconsider the need to issue such restrictions based on nonspecific threats and ways to improve the timely dissemination of flight restriction information to pilots."
Presenting the measure on the floor of the House, McGill, an AOPA member, said, "If it wasn't for the help and assistance of AOPA to carry this message to Washington, D.C., this resolution would not be possible."
In step-by-step detail, the resolution outlines the importance of general aviation in Pennsylvania and nationwide, the lopsided nature of the TFRs—affecting only GA, not scheduled air carriers, the economic impact of the TFRs and the confusion they can cause.
"Pennsylvania lawmakers are serious about getting this message across to the federal government," said Boyer. "The resolution is being sent to President Bush, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey, the director of the U.S. Secret Service, and each member of Pennsylvania's congressional delegation.
"All pilots recognize the need to protect the President, but at some point someone in a position of authority needs to step back and ask if the excessively large airspace restrictions are worth the cost to a vital portion of America's transportation industry."