The two U.S. senators from Washington state, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), have added their voices to AOPA's in calling on the Pentagon to review and possibly lift four temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) in the Puget Sound area.
Murray and Cantwell sent a co-signed letter to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, asking for an evaluation of the TFRs' ongoing value.
At the same time, senior AOPA staff members are meeting this week with Pentagon and White House officials to discuss those TFRs.
"The four Puget Sound TFRs, along with the Baltimore-Washington Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) and the other 10 remaining Pentagon-requested TFRs across the country, are relics of the fearful days immediately following the September 11 terrorist attacks and the days leading up to the Iraq War," said AOPA Phil Boyer. "The need for them needs to be reevaluated. The call from Senator Murray and Senator Cantwell to do just that certainly bolsters our case."
In their letter, the senators note the impact of the Puget Sound TFRs, saying, "These TFRs cause operational, access and efficiency challenges for civilian pilots. For example, pilots can no longer use the Columbia River as a navigation reference without deviation. The restrictions impact the arrivals and departures into four airports in the region, and have closed a seaplane base. All of this has had a significant economic impact on aviation businesses."
They also note that the FAA, in coordination with the Department of Defense, has "reviewed and eliminated three TFRs across the country, while maintaining appropriate security. We ask you to determine whether the TFRs in the Puget Sound region continue to advance our nation's security, or whether they should be modified or eliminated."
The association has been urging such a review for almost a year and has told Pentagon officials that the association will vigorously contest any efforts to turn the TFRs into permanent, charted restricted areas.