Chicago Gets A TFR Of Its Own...
It seems that EAA and NATA were premature in congratulating the FAA late last week for keeping the skies open in Chicago. As AVweb reported Monday, the alphabets were full of praise for the agency's refusal of the city's request for a no-fly zone. The FAA and TSA said there was no credible threat. Apparently something changed over the weekend, and the FAA declared that until further notice, VFR flight is banned below 3,000 feet over a chunk of downtown Chicago. Meigs Field remains open, but some approach and departure routes will be affected. The alphabets were not amused. Politicians should be careful what they wish for, said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "Tourist and business travelers will interpret the restrictions to mean that there is an imminent threat of a terrorist act and will cancel plans to visit your city," he said in a news release.
NOTE: Read the full text of the flight restriction in Adobe's PDF format.
...Alphabets Are Angry, But Daley Is Delighted
EAA Executive Vice President Bob Warner said, "Department of Homeland Security [DHS] officials had stated that they would not introduce more widespread restrictions unless intelligence points to a specific target or credible threat. We call on the FAA and DHS to stick to their word; either produce the specific, credible intelligence of a terrorist threat, or cancel this TFR." AOPA says Chicago Mayor Richard Daley apparently went over the head of the FAA, straight to Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge. Meanwhile, Mayor Daley was pleased, saying: "[The TFR] will deter hostile acts and contribute immeasurably to the safety and peace-of-mind of the millions of people who live, work, visit and attend public gatherings in the greater downtown area of Chicago." EAA's Warner believes the DHS has seemingly "caved in to Mayor Daley, who has a history of spurious requests to severely restrict airspace above his city."