Airspace Proposals Gathering Steam In D.C.

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The overwhelming sentiment of more than 20,000 written comments and dozens of personal presentations at two public meetings is that the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) surrounding Washington, D.C., is an operational, legal, safety and economic boondoggle that does almost nothing to enhance security and therefore should be scrapped. Well, that isn't going to happen. But there are some (vaguely) encouraging signs that voices opposed to a permanent ADIZ may have permeated the inner rings of the nation's security apparatus. It's even possible that some common-sense revisions may be in the works. Sources privy to some of the details spoke to AVweb on condition of anonymity, but what they tell us is that the frustration of operating in the restricted airspace may be reduced. At public hearings held in Virginia and Maryland last month, a panel of FAA, Department of Defense, Secret Service and Homeland Security representatives heard horror story upon horror story of dropped clearances, cases of mistaken identity and delays in gaining clearances that could have turned dangerous. They were also told of the huge economic cost of the airspace restrictions -- which, according to one source, actually caught their attention.