AOPA was quick to respond to New York Senator Charles Schumer's proposal that the FAA close the Hudson River corridor to VFR traffic. During a press conference last week, Schumer said the temporary flight restriction (TFR) that will be imposed around New York City during the Republican National Convention should be made permanent, creating a New York Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) like Washington, D.C.'s. "If they can do it for Washington, they can do it for New York," Schumer said.
"It doesn't work for Washington; it won't work for New York," was the gist of the message AOPA President Phil Boyer sent back to Schumer. He pointed out that the Washington ADIZ has been an operational nightmare for both controllers and pilots. "Several of your colleagues in the House at a recent hearing noted that the ADIZ has done nothing to enhance security in the D.C. area other than placing undue hardship and what could be perceived as harassment of local pilots," Boyer said in a letter to Schumer.
Boyer also said that "the Transportation Security Administration, the agency responsible for all aviation security, recently stressed that it does not consider 'general aviation aircraft and airports to be a threat,' in and of themselves." And he pointed out that when security agencies have credible information dictating the need for additional airspace security, they will impose temporary restrictions as needed.
AOPA reiterated all of the steps taken by both industry and the government to enhance general aviation security since the events of September 11, 2001. "AOPA has taken the leading role in protecting the nation's general aviation infrastructure by investing more than $700,000 in an 'Airport Watch' program," Boyer told Schumer.
"AOPA has shown a commitment to work with the government to enhance aviation security," Boyer concluded. "However, our members, many of them your constituents, are concerned with your call for unnecessary permanent airspace restrictions over New York."
July 22, 2004