Daley Gets Support

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Globe Editorial On The GA Threat...

After weathering a media storm for three weeks over his X-marks-the-spot destruction of Meigs Field, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley has found a few words of support. Editorial writers at the Boston Globe gave Daley their Op/Ed attaboy on Friday, suggesting his actions, in a more restrained fashion, make a good public policy blueprint. "The Department of Homeland security and the [Transportation Security Administration] should take a page from Mayor Daley and, without using bulldozers, explore ways to reduce the threat to this country's population centers and national monuments posed by small private aircraft," the Globe opined. Well, you can imagine what EAA thought of that. President Tom Poberezny shot back a letter to the editor explaining that Daley ripped up Meigs because he has always wanted to turn it into a park and that a carefully crafted series of political maneuvers allowed him, initially, to use security concerns as slim justification for the airport's destruction. Poberezny also notes that the useful load of most GA aircraft makes them anemic, at best, as terror weapons and that if the Globe was serious about eliminating such a threat, cars, boats, trains and people would have to be banned from the city's core. Just for balance, the Globe opinionators might have looked up the views of their colleagues in Washington, D.C., where the circumstances they advocate have been in place, to varying degrees, since 9/11. In a March 30 piece, Washington Post columnist Melanie Scarborough noted that little has been achieved by banning GA traffic from within 15 nautical miles of the Washington Monument ... nothing except erosion of personal freedom.

...As TSA Drops (Some) Restrictions

Just as the Globe's opinions were being formulated for the next day's edition, the people whose job it is to actually gauge security risks were concluding that those risks had abated considerably. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced Thursday that it was eliminating many of the flight restrictions imposed when the terrorism threat level was at orange, or high. That level dropped to yellow on Wednesday and the TSA cancelled the New York ADIZ, Chicago TFR and the gateway airport and screening requirements for the Maryland-3 airports within the Washington SFAR. Sporting event overflight waivers (except banner towers) were also reinstated. The Washington ADIZ and the Disney TFRs remain but there's a hint there may be changes coming for the ADIZ, something AOPA is fighting for. AOPA President Phil Boyer said the Washington ADIZ was imposed when the threat level went to orange from yellow in February and, for the sake of consistency, should be cancelled at the yellow level. Boyer plans to bring the issue up when he meets next week with Asa Hutchinson, the Homeland Security undersecretary responsible for aviation issues. He will also likely tell Hutchinson about the numerous delays, cancellations and lost business suffered by GA because of the ADIZs. "Based on real-world experiences by pilots, the ADIZ is not working," Boyer wrote in a letter to the TSA. "It is clear that the air traffic control system does not have the resources in place to effectively manage, for extended periods of time, the volume of general aviation traffic requiring access," he wrote.