Airspace And Agendas

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Alphabet Groups Push For Meigs Revival...

It may have faded from the headlines (in the mainstream press, anyway) but the fight to reopen Meigs Field (CGX) is far from over. Just this week, three aviation organizations rallied their members to keep the pressure on Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. On its Web site, EAA notified the flying public that The Friends of Meigs Field and the Meigs Action Coalition are in need of support from "EAA members and aviation enthusiasts who want to see Meigs Field preserved." NBAA and AOPA also advised their members of pending legislation that could be crafted to reopen Meigs. In testimony on Monday before the Illinois Senate General Assembly, NBAA officials opposed legislation that addresses Illinois airport needs without including the reopening of Meigs. David Vornholt, a member of the NBAA's Airports/Heliports Committee, testified in support of Meigs for the NBAA at a May 12 committee hearing on Senate Bill (SB) 802. AOPA Vice President of Regional Affairs Bill Dunn was also on hand to tell the Illinois Senate panel Monday evening that they cannot ignore Meigs Field as the legislature contemplates changes to the Chicago-area system of airports. "Chicago's airports are not independent; they operate as a system," Dunn said. "When considering the future of Chicago's air transportation system, you must not ignore the need to reopen Meigs Field."

...While Newspaper Questions Disney TFR

Aside from the Meigs issue, EAA also notified its members of a newspaper article that challenges the logic used to enforce a TFR over the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla. The Orlando Sentinel published a story on May 11 that questions the need to have flight restrictions over the Disney complex and the alleged behind-the-scenes pressure used by park officials to get the TFR in place. The paper also questions the need to have security at the Disney theme parks on par with such sites as federal research labs, weapons depots, and nuclear military installations. According to the article, the no-fly zone was granted without any input from national security agencies, such as the Secret Service, Defense Department, Office of Homeland Security and the Transportation Security Administration. "Without public debate or even a request from the new Homeland Security Department, Congress bent its own rules to help Disney secure the no-fly zones at the urging of at least one well-connected company lobbyist," the Sentinel wrote. The Sentinel's report also links theme-park lobbyists and some key U.S. senators who helped include the no-fly zones in the legislation. Joe Kittinger, a retired Air Force colonel, said politics, not security, closed the airspace. "Disney tried to make that restricted airspace for years but couldn't until now because the airspace belongs to the people, not to a corporation," said Kittinger. "They've achieved it now under the guise of national security, and there is absolutely no reason for it."