FAA Firm On Air Show Restrictions...

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No Waiver For Civilian Performers In Cleveland...

An FAA spokesman says the agency will stand firm on a decision to ban civilian pilots from flying at the Cleveland National Air Show on Friday evening. FAA representative Tony Molinaro told AVweb the agency has no choice but to ban the flights because of a Cleveland Indians game scheduled for Jacobs Field on the same evening. The air show happens once annually. The conflicting game is one of 162 the Indians will play this year (missed games will be rescheduled). The air show attracts 60,000 to 100,000 fans. The Indians averaged 21,358 fans per home game, last year. (How's the math working for you, Cleveland?) Alas, Public Law 180-7 prohibits flights below 3,000 feet within three nautical miles of a Major League game and prohibits the FAA from issuing waivers. "[The law] really doesn't give the FAA that much latitude," Molinaro told AVweb. The agency will allow military performers during the twilight presentation but air show organizers have rejected the compromise and are considering a court challenge to the FAA decision. Meanwhile, Executive Director Chuck Newcomb said more than half the scheduled performers for the evening show are civilian and it can't go on without them. "We couldn't deliver the event promised," he said. The evening show is a new event this year and the other three daytime performances are unaffected because there are no baseball games for the rest of the weekend. Newcomb said the show could be cancelled entirely in the future if the current interpretation of the rule is upheld because the air show (and the multiple layers of complicated planning that go into it) can't be at the mercy of unpredictable sports schedules. As for the FAA, "We're trying to uphold the law," Molinaro said.