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AOPA's advocacy deters unwarranted restriction at Michigan airportAOPA's advocacy deters unwarranted restriction at Michigan airport

AOPA's advocacy deters unwarranted restriction at Michigan airport

It will be business - or pleasure - as usual for pilots flying into Oakland/Troy Airport (7D2) during the Ryder Cup Tournament, thanks to a unified effort from AOPA's advocacy team.

Chuck Griswold, Airport Support Network (ASN) volunteer at 7D2, and several other local AOPA members contacted AOPA when they discovered that officials in Troy planned to close the airport from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. during the golf tournament next week.

"We used every resource to reverse the planned nighttime closure of 7D2," said Bill Dunn, AOPA vice president of airports. "The local officials soon realized that their attempt to enhance security during the tournament was unwarranted and extreme."

The airport is replacing the closure plan with AOPA's Airport Watch program. Volunteer pilots have begun signing up already for "watch times" at the airport.

During the day, pilots will have only one point of entry into the airport, and they will have to show identification to sign in and out. At night, other security measures will be in place, which include pilots keeping watch.

Bill Blake, AOPA's Great Lakes regional representative, talked with state officials; AOPA's Washington, D.C., staff weighed in with TSA and the FAA; and Griswold worked with the airport management - all toward keeping the airport open.

AOPA's letter to the airport manager pointed out that the restriction not only violated FAA policies regarding unrestricted access to general aviation airports, but it also negated one of the reasons the Ryder Cup is located in the area - access to the local airport. Spectators and corporate sponsors use the airport to travel to the event.

Neither the FAA nor the Transportation Security Administration believed that general aviation posed a security threat - TSA denied the request for a temporary flight restriction (TFR) during the event.

September 10, 2004

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