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AOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot--Special Legislative AlertAOPA Online Members Only -- AOPA ePilot--Special Legislative Alert

October 1, 2001

AOPA President
Phil Boyer asks
for member action.

Call Your Senators and Representatives Today!

Like all Americans, you and I are still in shock over the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and outraged that suicidal fanatics would use against our country the freedom of the aviation system we use every day. We are all deeply saddened by the tragic events, and AOPA and its more than 375,000 members want to help in any way we can to ensure our country's national security. But as you well know, there are currently 41,000 general aviation aircraft and about 120,000 pilots stranded in or under "enhanced" Class B airspace where VFR is still prohibited, and also in two restricted areas where no GA flight is allowed.

Aircraft owners, pilots, and businesses that support flight activity have been brought to their knees by being denied access to the public's airspace. As we all know, the fixed costs of individual ownership, or a business with a fleet of rental aircraft, must still be paid—monthly payments, hangar or tiedown fees, insurance, etc.

What you can do to help

Please take a minute today to telephone your U.S. Representative and both of your Senators. To identify your members of Congress by your zip code, click here. Click on "info" under their picture for pertinent numbers. A phone call makes a much greater impact than an e-mail. A personal call from a constituent is the most effective method of influencing members of Congress. This is especially true in trying to provide relief as soon as possible to this dilemma. Although it is unlikely your call will be put directly through to your Representative or Senator, the sheer number of calls with a coordinated message from pilots will make your elected officials and their staffs aware of just how important this issue is to pilots. The volume of calls registered is also important, and is tallied by office personnel. AOPA Legislative Affairs will be following up with Congress, and I have several appointments on Capitol Hill this Wednesday, so your call assists in us sensitizing them to our follow-up.

If you do write a letter, fax it--the number is also listed under "info." In all cases, please take the time with letters and e-mails to copy the Department of Transportation and FAA:

DOT: 202/366-7202 (fax); [email protected] (e-mail)
FAA: 202/267-5047 (fax); [email protected] (e-mail)

Now is the time for action

The key ingredient for AOPA success, after accomplishing much through the transportation agencies, will be our ability to generate phone calls, and lots of them. We are turning to Congress for assistance because in working with the FAA and DOT we have not been able to accomplish relief for these 30 geographic regions (our major cities). The grassroots level will hopefully get us to the decision makers, and allow us to proactively offer solutions to the National Security Council that will allow VFR pilots to return to the Class B skies.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you call: Personalize and localize the issue. Let them know you are a constituent of their district or state. Stress the hardships and economic effects on you and on aviation in your hometown. If you are grounded in the Class B, so state. If you live outside, but are unable to enter, tell your Representative or Senator the direct and indirect impacts on you.

Request specific action. This is the whole point! Ask them to contact the National Security Council (NSC) on your behalf and urge the Council to restore our flight activities in these areas. Request that they intercede with the NSC and request that NSC hold a meeting with AOPA and other GA organizations to solve this problem.

Talking points
• Something must be done immediately to permit the 41,000 general aviation aircraft affected by the prohibition against operations under Visual Flight Rules (VFR) inside the 30 enhanced Class B airspace areas to return to the skies.

• The current total airspace ban on all general aviation flights in the New York City and Washington, D.C., areas should be reduced from 25 nautical miles to 16 nautical miles. This immediately opens several key reliever airports to general aviation activities and eliminates the need to temporarily relocate hundreds of aircraft.

• AOPA has received creative solutions from members throughout the country. These can be brought to a meaningful discussion of procedures that address the security threats, that can be handled within air traffic system constraints, and will still allow reasonable VFR access to Class B airspace.

• Such solutions include allowing aircraft weighing 6,000 pounds maximum gross takeoff weight or less to resume operations. These aircraft weigh less than many automobiles and have insufficient weight, momentum, and inertia to cause significant damage.

We need your help NOW!

It is going to be the combined efforts that you, other AOPA members, and your association put forth that is going to make this happen.

Please call today!

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Copyright � 2001. Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

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