U.S. Senator James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), a long-time general aviation pilot, said in an interview at EAA AirVenture that the FAA “must justify continuance of the Washington, D.C., ADIZ” before his Environment and Public Works Committee will reauthorize it.
Inhofe called a Sept. 12 meeting which top FAA, Defense Department, Department of Homeland Security and other federal security officials were told to attend. Initially, he invited representatives of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Experimental Aircraft Association, General Aviation Manufacturers Association, National Business Aviation Association and the media to attend and ask questions.
That isn’t how it turned out.
The day before the hearing, Inhofe’s committee decided to hold it behind closed doors, on the premise that “the chances of having a frank discussion (with security officials) are nil with the media present, based on experience.”
General aviation was represented only by AOPA’s Phil Boyer and NBAA’s Ed Bolen, as far as we know at press time. Neither is willing – perhaps not able – to offer public comments at this time.
A year ago, the FAA was required by law to “justify the ADIZ, any changes they make, and the continuation of it,” Inhofe told us at Oshkosh. “They haven’t done it, so what we are doing is telling them that they have to do that before there is any continuation of the ADIZ.” The FAA, DoD and DHS had refused to meet with the aviation community up to that point, he said.
Whether the ADIZ was justified to the committee’s satisfaction at the hearing remains to be learned.
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