Alphabets Push For Washington Access

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The National Business Aircraft Association, AOPA, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) and the National Air Transportation Association gave presentations Tuesday at a congressional hearing to urge the creation of a workable set of security procedures to allow bizjets back into Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). "[T]he fact is that our nation's security organizations have not failed to find a workable solution that will bring general aviation back to [DCA] -- it is that they have failed to even try," said GAMA President Ed Bolen. It was also noted that the FAA has failed to provide written justification for the Washington Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), as mandated by the FAA reauthorization bill. AOPA President Phil Boyer used the hearing to proclaim, "College Park Airport is our Reagan National, and needs to be set free." AOPA urged the reopening of DCA to GA traffic and made a pitch for eliminating the ADIZ that now blankets the Washington and Baltimore areas. Boyer told the hearing the security justification for the ADIZ no longer exists and that it's causing an unnecessary strain on pilots and air traffic control. Pilots entering the ADIZ must receive ATC clearance and squawk a discrete transponder code. Boyer played tapes of confused exchanges between pilots and ATC and also told of personal hardships caused by accidental contravention of the ADIZ rules. As AVweb's sister publication Business AVflash reported Wednesday, most of the hearing was devoted to developing a plan to allow direct access by business aircraft to DCA.