NATCA President John Carr
Pilots aren't the only ones worried about the safety implications of making the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) permanent. In comments filed with the FAA on Monday, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) said the ADIZ is dangerous, expensive, and unjustified.
"The ADIZ is not only a burden to its users; it is an unsafe mixed bag of personal controller technique without even a veneer of procedure or common sense," wrote NATCA President John Carr, adding that the ADIZ has increased traffic by 30 percent for controllers at Potomac Tracon while staffing levels have not changed.
"Controllers know the ADIZ does far more harm than good, and so do pilots," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "Making the ADIZ permanent will only increase the risk - not for terrorists - but for law-abiding pilots, their passengers, and the public at large."
In its comments, NATCA pointed out that it has repeatedly asked the FAA for guidelines for implementing the ADIZ - guidelines that have never come. As a result, every controller handles the ADIZ differently, causing confusion for pilots.
The comments also reiterated points often made by pilots - the focus on navigating the ADIZ and talking to air traffic control can move their attention away from looking for traffic and prevent them from switching to local traffic frequencies when they need to.
"The ADIZ is a bad policy idea perpetuated by fear and allowed to continue not because it is worthy or effective but due to bureaucratic inertia which prevents common sense, good judgment and cogent methods from trumping dread and doubt," Carr wrote. The ADIZ does not contribute to, but rather weakens, safety and efficiency while creating a false sense of security in today's Air Traffic environment. Our Union's motto is 'Safety Above All.' Please abolish the ADIZ for safety, security and efficiency's sake."
October 31, 2005