Transportation Security Administration chief Adm. David Stone faced criticism Thursday over what some view as his agency's foot-dragging in reopening airports near Washington, D.C., to general aviation traffic.
During a hearing to review the TSA's budget, Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), chairman of the House subcommittee on Homeland Security and a friend to GA, questioned Stone about delays in delivering a report that will outline a plan for reopening Reagan National Airport and airports within 15 nm of it, the so-called DC-3, to general aviation traffic.
That report was due to Congress on March 1. Another TSA report that's supposed to provide updates on the continuing need for the ADIZ airspace restrictions around Washington is months overdue.
"AOPA hasn't forgotten about all the pilots whose access to the nation's capital is limited by the ADIZ and airport restrictions, and we're making sure that lawmakers don't forget them, either," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "That's why our Capitol Hill staff stays in touch with key lawmakers to ensure that they understand how important these issues are to pilots and that they will not quietly disappear."
And that advocacy has begun to pay off, though significant hurdles remain. In February, the TSA issued a new rule opening the DC-3 airports to transient operations, provided that pilots comply with the same extensive security procedures that based pilots must follow. The move was significant because it represented the first time that transient GA pilots could have access to those airports since September 11, 2001.
March 4, 2005