This overlay of the Washington, D.C., Air
Defense Identification Zone and Flight Restricted
Zone on a street map was used to illustrate
a car analogy for congressional staffers.
More than 21,380 comments. That's a record number of responses to an FAA notice of proposed rulemaking. And AOPA members from across the nation should be proud that they answered the call to help strike down a permanent air defense identification zone (ADIZ) around the Washington-Baltimore area.
But will it do any good?
"It's clear that the incredible number of comments made a huge impression on congressional staffers," said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs.
AOPA on Monday briefed more than 40 of the key aides to members of Congress, aides who help influence lawmakers' position on issues and help them write the legislation.
"We made it clear that their constituents, pilots who vote for their bosses, are deeply concerned about the spread of ADIZs to other parts of the country. The number of comments was a forceful reflection of that concern."
AOPA lobbyists reiterated the impact of the ADIZ on pilots and businesses, citing a $43 million annual loss in regional economic activity because of the ADIZ. And they used a car analogy, written by an AOPA member, to help the congressional staffers understand the impracticality and unfairness of the ADIZ.
The staffers were asked to imagine that a rule is passed requiring everyone within 75 miles of the city to place a call to the authorities for every car trip they make. The driver would have to supply his name, car make, license plate, time leaving, and exact destination.
A police dispatcher will give the driver a number that he must write on a card and display in the window for the entire drive. He will be told what time he can leave and what roads he must use.
If the driver takes a wrong turn, fails to display the card properly, fails to follow police instructions, or loses cell phone coverage, the driver may be pulled over, possibly arrested, and likely lose his driver's license.
If the police give confusing or contradictory instructions, or a little dirt or sun glare makes the card hard to read, that is entirely the driver's problem.
Drivers in this region would have to go through this procedure for every single trip, even if it's just backing out of the driveway.
All skateboards, scooters, sleds, wagons, bicycles, and tricycles would be prohibited within those 75 miles. But trucks would still be allowed to drive right up to the front of the office buildings.
"From the comments, from the public meetings, from the congressional briefings, to the letters from members of Congress themselves, there should be no question in the minds of FAA and security officials about how pilots stand on the ADIZ," said Cebula. "It will make a difference."
February 8, 2006