AVmail: April 3, 2003
Reader mail this week about the terrorism at Meigs Field and limitations of New Jersey's two-lock rule.
Meigs Field Massacred
I just read about an early morning attack against an airport and how its runway was destroyed. What stunned me was that it didn't occur in Iraq or Afghanistan by those fighting against us, but rather, by a government entity right here in the USA.
The cited rationale that the Meigs closure (actually, nocturnal vandalism) was done with public "safety" in mind is laughable. Meigs has been a political "hot potato" for years, and everyone knows it. If the concern is that Meigs' proximity to downtown means that there's no reaction time to preclude an attack on a building, that same rationale should dictate closing O'Hare as well.
Look at the facts. Aircraft inbound to ORD on the ILS to 32L pass about 6 nm southwest of the Sears Tower. Aircraft on approaches to 32R are even closer at only 5 sm. The approach to 27L is also close, with aircraft passing 5 sm north of the Sears Tower.
Since any airline aircraft using these approaches are faster than the typical small aircraft that frequent Meigs, their time from potential takeover to potential impact will be just as quick as those slower aircraft from Meigs. Public safety thus DEMANDS that ORD be closed. While we're at it, let's close all the roads in the downtown area (to preclude vehicular attacks), and close Lake Michigan in the event that the terrorists have a navy we don't know about. How about a particle-beam weapon on top of the Sears Tower than can vaporize stuff at 100 miles?
The Meigs issue has zero to do with security, and everything to do with politics. The fact that the runway destruction was commenced under cover of darkness further demonstrates that point.
Since the Chicago folks busted FAR 157.5, maybe the FAA will go after them with the same zeal as they did Bob Hoover.
To the Honorable Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich
I vividly recall my experiences as a youngster in the 1950's and 60's growing up in southwest Michigan across from Chicago near the lake. We frequently heard on WGN and other Chicago TV stations about "the Daley Machine," how its corrupt and self-serving system gained thousands of votes from the dead, how it bulled its way through any opposition, how it trampled the rights of so many citizens.
Now it seems the current mayor Daley has revealed more of that same seed of greed, deception and contempt for due process. His middle-of-the-night demolition of Meigs Field is, by far, the closest thing to terrorism Chicago has ever experienced. What a sad sham that, feigning fear of terrorist acts, he should sneak in, with the full support of the city police no less, to tear up the runway without notifying anyone - even the FAA - and wreak havoc on the assets of his own city! Talk about danger - what if someone had need to use the airport that night for an emergency other valid reason? If the danger from terrorism was so great why couldn't it have withstood action during the day with proper warning, rather than skulking around in in the dark of night like street thugs? It's obvious there was no real threat, just a selfish desire and disdain for anything else. What about the citizens whose airplanes remain trapped at Meigs, totally uniformed of the action, with no safe way to remove them short of dismantling? What about the entire region whose economy gained from the convenience and service that Meigs provided? What about the federal laws and FAA procedures he completely ignored, sabotaging the very safety which is FAA responsibility? What the about the concepts of law, integrity and due process that have been utterly trampled so he can have his precious park? What a sad day when the "leader" of one of our biggest cities himself designs a plan that would put honest people directly in harm's way, cause immediate financial and vocational harm to many others, and is nothing but a slap in the face to anyone who expects our governments to act responsibly and honestly. Mayor Daley clearly has learned more from Saddam Hussein, the Taliban, Adolf Hitler and other such pillars of society about dealing with his subjects than from the Constitution, the laws and the freedoms we claim to hold dear. If he is allowed to remain in office it is an insult to every honest voting citizen in this country. If he is not convicted of some criminal act it is an insult to every honest, law-abiding person in the country. At the very least his actions have severely eroded citizen trust in our governments.
I can assure you that in our frequent travels to the Midwest I will go out of my way to avoid Chicago. I will not do business there, I will not visit the city for any reason, and I will urge everyone I know to do the same. Besides being at the mercy of a self-serving, dictatorial and ruthless "mayor" in such a place, I would fear the likelihood of physical danger. After all, what might he choose to demolish next without telling anyone? A road? A bridge? perhaps a stadium, historic building or museum? I can certainly live happily and safely somewhere far removed from a city run by someone like Daley.
Richard A. Lentz
I assume it is an April Fool's joke, but it's a good bad one.
Jean Claude Dispaux
AVweb responds ...
We wish it were a joke. The event happened after we went to press Sunday night, but we were informed by many helpful readers on Monday. Stay tuned to AVweb for further information and ideas for what we can do about it.
Features and AVmail Editor
Door, Mag Locks Meet Jersey Rule
"... it now appears the normal precautions most of us take are enough for New Jersey. For instance, the two locks can be the door and magneto switch ... even if they use the same key."
That's good news for single-engine pilots, but it doesn't do diddly for piston twin drivers, since twins use ordinary toggle switches (not key-operated switches) to ground out their magnetos. (Let's not even think about those pesky turbines!)