FAA Proposal to Make D.C. Flight Restrictions Permanent Draws Criticism

The FAA has received more than 18,400 comments from individuals, corporations, airports and industry associations, largely in opposition (e.g., 99 out of 100 submissions).

Imram Anwar - "If we stop building skyscrapers because terrorists hit them, start restricting airspace over the free world's capital, or start limiting our freedoms (including free speech or the right to fly over the land of the free) we may as well announce to the terrorists that we are afraid even in our own home and homeland. That is homeland INSECURITY."

Ron Lane, Essex Skypark Association - "The current and proposed [procedures] have created a condition that puts pilots, aircraft and public safety at risk. The most significant is in the case of a transponder failure such as the failure of the Kentucky Governor's airplane. [ASW note: On June 9 a Kentucky State Police King Air 200 carrying Gov. Ernie Fletcher had a transponder failure when it encountered restricted Washington, D.C., airspace; the plane landed at Washington National Airport, with the pilots following directives from air traffic controllers]. Requiring a pilot to leave the ADIZ and not land at the nearest airport is a recipe for disaster.

"Last year a pilot left Essex and when they were less than 4 miles from the airport their transponder failed. They were instructed to leave the ADIZ and they landed at an airport 15 miles from their home airport. The failure turned out to be a tripped circuit breaker, but it could have been the beginning of a cascading electrical failure or worse. The proper course would have been for the pilot to return to the airport that they just departed from.

"The list can go on of the safety compromises pilots have made not to get busted in the ADIZ."

Washington Special Flight Region, Springfield, Va. - "The size and complexity of the ADIZ has resulted in over 1,700 infractions; most of these were minor and none of these were 'attacks on Washington' ... The underlying cause of the infractions is because the ADIZ is too large, which results in the procedures becoming too complicated. ...

"Other countries provide protection to their leadership without severely limiting aviation in large areas. South Korea has a well-identified, prohibited area around their 'Blue House' and supports it with their version of a visual warning system. South Korea doesn't have a 3,600 sq. mile ADIZ to protect their president.

"There is an inherent governmental bureaucracy to keep existing infrastructure and programs which took time and effort to build. There will be a natural resistance to reduce the ADIZ because of the command and control system now in place. But similar to a former president taking the U.S. bomber force off nuclear alert in 1989, it is time for the ADIZ to be 'right sized.'

"Recommendation: Reduce the ADIZ to the size of the DCA 15 NM ring (the Flight Restriction Zone) and change the Flight Restriction Zone to the size of the inner ring of the Class B airspace (surface to 10,000 MSL)."

[Copyright 2005 Access Intelligence, LLC. All rights reserved.]


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