Apr. 1, 2004 - AOPA President Phil Boyer is calling on members of the House aviation subcommittee to demand that the FAA obey the law and report on operations in the Baltimore-Washington Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ). In letters to subcommittee chairman John Mica (R-Fla.) and ranking Democrat Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), Boyer called the FAA's failure to provide the report "insulting to Congress and pilots in the area."
When President Bush signed the FAA Reauthorization Bill into law in December, it included a requirement that the FAA report to Congress within 30 days on the continuing need for the ADIZ and steps being taken to improve operational efficiency.
" It has been well over 90 days [original emphasis] since the initial reporting requirement in the law was established, yet the FAA has not provided this required report to Congress," wrote Boyer. "I ask that you hold the FAA and the other agencies accountable for the actions that they are taking in the National Capitol Area that are adversely affecting general aviation."
Boyer noted that all general aviation flights, both VFR and IFR, are required to follow what amounts to IFR flight plan filing and communications procedures. The requirement to maintain two-way radio communication with air traffic controllers has been especially harmful to operational efficiency because it overloads an already-busy ATC system.
In his letter, Boyer restated a quote from the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, which he had drawn to the aviation subcommittee's attention during testimony two weeks ago:
Simply put, the Washington ADIZ creates an unworkable situation for both pilots and controllers. The ATC system is being asked to perform a function for which it is not designed and for which it lacks the capacity. It creates confusion for both pilots and controllers, proper resources have not been allocated to provide equipment and procedures to meet the objective, and ultimately there is no evidence to suggest that the intended goal is achieved.
"These requirements have overloaded the Washington-area ATC system, and pilots continue to experience extreme difficulties in gaining access to the 19 public-use airports in the ADIZ," Boyer wrote. "The congressionally required report, and, most importantly, the elements of that submission to address operational problems of the ADIZ, are extremely important to the aviation community. Please insist the FAA not insult your committee by this lack of response and immediately meet the requirements of the law by reporting back to Congress."