Potomac Airfield: Our Tahrir Square?
As the world—or at least the Middle East—grows ever more restive in the face of burdensome governments, is the spark of resistance about to ignite at tiny Potomac Airport? It's a reach, I'll admit, and maybe the unseasonable Florida heat has addled my brain this evening, but such fantasies are too delicious to ignore.
Potomac Airport, you may or may not know, is one of the so-called DC-3—three airports that got caught inside the burgeoning security apparatus following the 911 attacks a decade ago. (Yes, it's been that long.) One of these is College Park Airport, where I learned to fly Cubs while I was attending the University of Maryland. That the airports have even survived is a minor miracle, given that all three (Hyde Field is the third) are inside the flight restricted zone designed to protect the White House and other important government buildings. Everyone knows, of course, that the FRZ is a farce—an annoying, overbearing and expensive one--but a farce nonetheless.
The owner and operator of Potomac, the irrepressible David Wartofksy, has asked that Executive Order 13563 be invoked to examine the FRZ and the onerous, pointless procedures that go with it. This order requires agencies to "review existing significant rules to determine if they are outmoded, ineffective, insufficient, or excessively burdensome." If ever there was a shoe that fit, this is it.
So onto the Department of Transportation's docket, Wartofsky has placed a request to review these procedures and like the rest of us, he wouldn't mind seeing them go. Although I give the odds of this happening somewhere between slim and fat chance, the timing is, arguably, perfect. The electorate is growing weary of overbearing government and excessive regulation and many—including me—have let their Congress people know it. The DOT/TSA complex has proven surprisingly resistant to attempts to throttle it back. Recall TSA's John Pistole and his defiant refusal to meet the public halfway on the issue of airport scanners.
When we lived in Connecticut, I used to fly the Mooney into Reagan Airport (then National) and hop the Metro over to the NTSB for research work. Now I do it faster and better online, but I'd sure like to have that option again, if not Reagan then College Park or Potomac. Yes, I know, you can arrange this, but it takes a secret decoder ring and procedures most of us don't have the patience or time to execute.
What a nice present this would be for GA. Of course, those quarters I used to get from the tooth fairy were nice too and about as likely to happen as the end of the FRZ. I'll let you know when the docket is up.