Nuclear power plants aren't in danger from general aviation aircraft and don't need additional airspace restrictions for their protection, AOPA President Phil Boyer told Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell.
In an August 4 letter responding to Rell's calls for such restrictions, Boyer pointed out that Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge has repeatedly reviewed concerns about the safety of nuclear power facilities and determined that airspace restrictions are unnecessary and inappropriate. Boyer added that studies by independent nuclear engineers also have concluded that GA aircraft don't pose a significant threat.
"AOPA believes that general aviation aircraft do not pose a risk to nuclear power plant safety and that it is inappropriate for the federal government to institute airspace restrictions or allow the closing of vital general aviation airspace or airports in proximity to them," Boyer wrote.
"While general aviation does not pose a threat, the FAA has issued an advisory to pilots to avoid circling or loitering over power plants," he added. "AOPA supports this advisory and encourages pilots to fly responsibly."
Boyer also noted that in the years since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, federal officials have taken numerous steps to enhance aviation security and that AOPA has led the way in protecting the general aviation infrastructure with its Airport Watch program.
August 9, 2004