...Awareness Needed

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Most of the alphabet groups got an advance look at the system last Thursday and seemed to agree it has merits as long as it's accompanied by a massive educational and public-relations program. "If you didn't know what it meant, you wouldn't know what to do," AOPA spokeswoman Melissa Rudinger told the Post. "It's important to get the education out as wide as you can, not just in this region." Part of that education is the posting of a video of the demonstration by AOPA and EAA and a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions posted by NORAD. EAA spokesman Doug Macnair, who saw the demonstration from inside a Blackhawk helicopter, said pilots illuminated by the lasers will immediately know that something is going on. "Even with a low sun angle in full daylight, there is no missing the signal," he said. "Ultimately when the full array of stations is installed at the center of the Flight Restricted Zone, it will be an effective means of warning pilots." At least one pilot who has inadvertently busted the ADIZ seems to agree. Charles Mayer was among a few GA pilots taken along on Thursday's tour and he sees the laser system as an attempt by the government to strike a balance between security and airspace access. "I'm glad they are trying to find ways to keep the airspace open and to keep us safe but a lot of pilots I know are really suspicious of this," Mayer said. "I hope I never see [the lasers] again."