The frustration pilots and air traffic controllers feel with the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) is coming through loud and clear in the more than 21,100 comments filed in response to the FAA's proposal to make the restrictions permanent. One resounding theme: The ADIZ punishes law-abiding pilots but does nothing to protect against terrorism.
"I am a member of the Army National Guard currently deployed in Iraq and I am civilian pilot," wrote one commenter. "Ostensibly, I am in Iraq to protect the freedom of the American people, and I find the imposition of regulations such as the D.C.-area ADIZ personally offensive because they abolish the very freedoms I have given up a year of my life defending, yet do nothing to enhance the public's safety."
Other pilots pointed out the numerous measures already in place to protect the nation's capital - measures that make the ADIZ an unnecessary burden.
"We already have the proper solution in place with the 15-mile no-fly zone around the Capitol, missile systems, and fighters flown by pilots such as my son (a USAF F-16 pilot) on alert," wrote one airline pilot. "Little slow Cessnas are not a viable terror threat to the Capitol, and have never been used as such."
And one pilot summed up his position clearly: "As a U.S. taxpayer, I see the ADIZ as a waste of federal funds. As a U.S. citizen, I am offended by government actions that restrict my freedoms and the freedoms of fellow citizens for a perceived threat that general aviation does not present. As a pilot, I am dismayed that I, and my family, cannot visit large regions near our nation's capital without fear of fatal consequences due to simple misunderstandings or mechanical failures. As a person, I feel empathy for all the suffering felt by the cities, towns, businesses, and workers accustomed to the benefits of general aviation. Benefits which are now severely curtailed, if not outright denied."
There is still time to add your voice to the opposition before the comment period closes on February 6, 2006 . See AOPA's Member Action Center to submit your comments to the FAA.
Updated: February 6, 2006, 4:15 p.m. EST