AVmail: May 1, 2003

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Reader mail this week about boycotting Chicago, GPS - ILS reversion and more.

Pentagon Cold Shoulder

As long as the DOD is expressing its right to boycott, can someone ask them to also boycott the 2003 Chicago Airshow? I think Mayor Daley can make the connection.

Mitch Aldrich

Meigs Field

The purpose of this letter is to express my dissatisfaction with the City of Chicago's recent closing of Meigs Field. I am a software engineer and private pilot with over four years experience. I also own a small aviation equipment rental business in Palatine, Blumenthal Aviation, Inc. This business contributes over $50,000/year to the local area economy, and many of my customers fly into Meigs. I have personally flown into Meigs over 10 times in the past few years. I found it convenient to fly into downtown Chicago for business and pleasure. The users of Meigs Rield support the City of Chicago financially, and in other ways, each time they visit. Everyone benefits, including city restaurant owners and shops.

In recent times, Meigs Field has cost the City of Chicago more money than it brings in. I believe this to be due primarily to the city's neglect of the airport. Using the revitalized Navy Pier as an example, I present a few points on how to transform Meigs Field into a successful downtown attraction that not only makes money for the city, is fun and accessible to millions of city residents and visitors, but is still a working, functioning airport:

  • Put several aviation-themed restaurants on the field. For an example of how successful this can be, look at Schaumburg Regional Airport. This airport, located on Irving Park Road near the ballpark, is fronted by Pilot Pete's, an aviation themed restaurant that is packed nearly every day of the week. This restaurant brings many non-pilots to the airport, and new customers to its fight school and FBO;

  • Put an aviation museum, or aviation-themed gift shop on the field;

  • Freshen up the airport and make it more inviting to the public. Make an observation deck, open to the public, with coin-op binoculars;

  • Bring a business to the airport that gives airplane rides (in addition to the Young Eagle Rallies that gave free airplane rides to inner city children at Meigs ... this can no longer happen with the airport's closure);

  • Lower the landing fees at the airport, increasing use and revenue for the airport and it's services. The airport is currently priced too high for maximum economic benefit;

  • Open a flight school at the airport;

  • Develop noise abatement procedures at Meigs that would allow expanded use of the airport while still providing a quiet environment for the downtown residents, workers, and visitors.

In short, meigs field is a valuable resource to the people of Illinois and the nation. It was in a damaged state even before being recently closed. Damaged in that it could not reach its full potential. Reopening the airport, and implementing just a few of these suggestions, would benefit Chicago and Illinois financially, socially, and in many other ways.

Seth Blumenthal

Perils of GPS

You were soliciting comments as to why automatic reversion should not be mandatory. In Canada, automatic reversion is strongly discouraged. The reasons are given in Transport Canada Aircraft Certification Policy Letter (ACPL) #11, which can be found from the index of Aircraft Certification Policy Letters.

Dennis Hoeppner