The Washington, D.C., ADIZ
with Flight Restricted Zone
The comments continue to pour in. By Monday afternoon, 21,136 pilots had responded to AOPA's call to protest the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) and the horrible precedent it could set for pilots everywhere.
"I am extremely concerned that if the Washington ADIZ is made permanent, then New York will shortly follow and this will create a tremendously difficult flying environment for training and travel," wrote a New York pilot. "All citizens should have a voice in this issue, especially pilots, and in a democracy as strong as the United States, the FAA, at a minimum should hold public hearings on the ADIZ rule."
"We're very pleased with the response so far, but we need much more," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "Politicians respect numbers, and this is ultimately a political decision.
"Whether you live in Washington, D.C., or across the country in Washington State, you too need to respond, because if an ADIZ is allowed to remain over the 3,000 square miles of airspace near Washington and Baltimore, ADIZs could multiply to cities like Boston, Miami, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Seattle."
And that threat hasn't escaped some of the commenters.
"While I do not reside in the D.C. area...I nonetheless see the door opening to ultimately make any Class B airspace area subject to ADIZ regulatory constraints," wrote a Detroit pilot.
"The restriction proposed in Washington, D.C., is unneeded and is like killing a mosquito with a pile driver," said a pilot from Washington State.
Echoing similar concerns, a pilot from Glendale, Arizona, wrote, "Among the issues we face in general aviation, the most oppressive and potentially harmful is the possibility of ADIZ areas being established and made permanent, the most likely first to be the existing one in the nation's capital."
A U.S. Army-trained aviator from Mississippi with experience in combat zones and international and U.S. ADIZs wrote, "Never have I seen such an unjustified need for a permanent ADIZ as this proposal."
"I see [the ADIZ] as only, at best, a type of smoke and mirrors, an illusion," wrote a "Flying Padre" and Navy chaplain who ministers to Navy cadets flying with the Navy Annapolis Flight Center (NAFC). A private pilot himself, he noted how the ADIZ affects even those learning to fly to defend their country. "I've been on the phone on hold over 20 minutes while I stood line with as many as four other pilots, student pilots, and instructors at NAFC trying to file an ADIZ flight plan," the chaplain told the FAA. "Then I've stayed in the run-up area burning up rental time and fuel while other student pilots behind do the same. Then yet another delay to reach Potomac Approach and copy the four-digit transponder code and contact frequency for departure from Lee Airport. It's not working!"
A police helicopter pilot in the Los Angeles area expressed his strong opposition to the ADIZ, saying it places a "major, unnecessary burden on pilots and air traffic controllers with almost no increased security benefit." And he couldn't resist taking a shot at the "Mickey Mouse" TFRs. "As a law enforcement pilot in Orange County I can speak with authority as to the ridiculousness of the TFR" over Disneyland.
Other pilots wrote how the ADIZ had forced them to stop flying, or stop doing business in the area. A Pennsylvania businessman wrote, "Since 9/11, it has been so difficult if not impossible to service the greater D.C./Baltimore area that I simply do not seek to do business there any more."
"The ADIZ is intimidating and, because of the associated clearance and transponder code requirement, it takes sometimes 30 minutes to get through to flight service," said a Virginia pilot. "I used to love to fly VFR around D.C. And now, between the ADIZ and the TFR, the airspace is too complicated to make it fun any more."
Finally, a United Airlines pilot, who reminded the FAA that two of his company's aircraft were hijacked for the 9/11 attacks, wrote, "But I grow weary and disgusted at the continued emphasis the bureaucrats put on aviation, when other much more suitable terrorist targets exist.... Perhaps aviation is such a relatively small group of people and interests that the government (TSA, FAA, FBI, etc.) feels that they can get away with putting together onerous restrictions on general aviation that, in truth, do virtually no good, but have huge political clout.... Everybody knows the vast sums of taxpayer money spent on 'security' is nothing more than window dressing, a faï¿½ade that diverts resources from the very places it ought to be going. The Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone is more of the same. It is a waste of resources, time, and money. But worst of all, it does no good."
Updated: February 6, 2006, 4:15 p.m. EST