The federal government has proposed making permanent the huge restricted airspace over and around the capital, Washington, D.C., and its adjoining states of Maryland and Virginia. Stated purpose is to reduce the number of “careless and inadvertent” violations – the only kind that have occurred – and to reduce the risk of terrorist attack.
An earful was delivered in response to those representing the federal government – from FAA, Secret Service, Homeland Security and other agencies – at four public meetings held on Jan. 12 and 18.
Dozens of private and corporate pilots, representatives of general aviation organizations, and even air traffic controllers spoke out against the ADIZ. Not one of the roughly 800 in attendance spoke in its favor.
Many told of lost revenue and genuine danger of airport closings from the existing ADIZ, let alone an expanded and permanent one.
A representative of the air traffic controllers stated that safety actually is compromised by the ADIZ due to the excessive workload it imposes on tower personnel.
Matt Zuccaro, president of the Helicopter Association International, documented one company’s loss of $75 million – and ultimate closing – because of the ADIZ.
Dennis Boykin of the Leesburg (Virginia) Airport Commission, said that the continued existence of that airport “as a viable business entity is at stake.”
“This is an idiot’s game,” James Coyne, president of National Air Transport Association (NATA), told the group. “All we’re doing is punishing law-abiding people. They deserve something better.”
Speakers from AOPA, NATA, airports near the metropolitan area and pilots flying in its vicinity all disputed the government’s claims.
Despite FAA’s assertion that it will “look at all the comments” and “consider” them, a number of pilots who attended the meetings described the panel members as unresponsive.
Phil Boyer, AOPA president, told how he and his wife had been accused of violating the ADIZ while on a flight between two airports well outside the zone. It was only after obtaining radar tapes indisputably identifying their ADS-B equipped Cessna 172 that they were able to prove the FAA wrong. “Very few aircraft currently have ADS-B,” Boyer commented, “so for most pilots it’s their word against the FAA’s.”