Sen. Charles Schumer: Idiot-in-Chief

Congratulations, Sen. Schumer. You’re now at the top of my shit list.

Via AVweb:

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) claims New York City is being shortchanged on security by the existence of the uncontrolled VFR corridor and he believes the Big Apple deserves the same sort of GA ban that Washington, D.C., has. “If they can do it for Washington, they can do it for New York,” he told a news conference. Now, we’re not sure if Schumer is envious of the 15-nm no-fly zone in Washington or the Air Defense Identification Zone (neither of which has bagged a single criminally minded pilot to date) but he’s particularly upset with the Hudson River Corridor (which he calls the Hudson River Approach). The corridor is open to uncontrolled traffic below 1,200 feet and takes pilots past the heart of New York City (and under some of the busiest IFR airspace anywhere). Schumer says there’s nothing to stop a pilot using the corridor from taking a short detour and wreaking havoc on the Statue of Liberty or other vulnerable landmarks. What he didn’t mention is that there’s also nothing to stop the pilot of an airliner from doing the same thing. In any case, the FAA is closing the corridor as part of its security clampdown during the Republican National Convention next month and Schumer doesn’t want it to reopen. In addition to holding a news conference, Schumer has also sent letters to the FAA and Transportation Security Administration.

That’s just brilliant, Senator. Let’s destroy the multi-billion dollar general aviation industry so you can score some political points.

And that’s exactly what would happen, too. If Schumer gets his no-fly zone, Daley will re-demand one over Chicago. And at that point there are enough precendents that VFR flying would disappear completely. And since the IFR system does not have anywhere near the capacity to handle the entire general aviation fleet (as the Washington D.C. ADIZ so clearly demonstrates), it would mark the virtual end of general aviation.

Just so we’re clear, GA encompasses law enforcement, medevac, public benefit flying, tourism, environmental conservation, traffic reporting, disaster relief, and a lot more. I’m sure we could count on Sen. Schumer to loudly demand all those benefits for New York even as he clamors for shutting out the folks who provide them.

Sure, the planes flying the Hudson corridor have so little kinetic energy that they’d barely break a window, let alone do any notable damage to a landmark. But why let something as annoying as facts, truth, or freedom get in the way of your crusade against successful, law-abiding Americans?

Idiot.

  6 comments for “Sen. Charles Schumer: Idiot-in-Chief

  1. Dale B. P,
    August 9, 2004 at 5:30 pm

    You sould be so lucky to have Sen. Schumer as your senator!
    If you lived in an extremely populated area that had been hit twice by terrorists already, you would feel good that someone was actually thinking of protecting that area.
    Rather than rant and rave and curse and call people names,
    why don’t you think first about the safety of Americans.
    We used to be a forward thinging society. We used to think
    about how to get things done. Not say how we can’t.

  2. Ron
    August 9, 2004 at 9:31 pm

    Dale,

    Perhaps you’d disagree, but in my opinion there are more important things than safety. Freedom is one of them. Like the Founding Fathers, if I had to choose between freedom and safety, I’d pick the former every time.

    Even if you disagree with that assertion, you might be interested to know that the TFR Sen. Schumer wants would do absolutely nothing to make New York safer. On 9/11 those airplanes were traveling at a rate of 8 miles per minute. They would move through such a restricted area in seconds — far too quickly for even trained personnel to respond. No, the TFRs Schumer wants are for purely political purposes. If you want to be angry with someone, start with Sen. Schumer.

  3. Dale B. P,
    August 10, 2004 at 5:10 pm

    I also agree with the founding fathers that freedom trumps safety. What freedoms are you talking about? Free to take off for a spin to New York for a night at the theater or a day of shopping? I don’t own a plane. My brother does. He keeps his plane about 20 miles from Albuquerque, where he
    lives. He uses his plane for shopping and just plain sight-seeing junkets as I believe the vast majority of pilots do. Restricting airspace over very populated areas for short periods of time to these people is not taking away their freedoms. They are still free to take a car to their destination.

  4. Ron
    August 10, 2004 at 5:51 pm

    They are free to take a car, yes. But if their livlihoods depend on aviation, they are economically hurt by these TFRs, which exist for no substantive purpose.

    I can’t say for sure what most pilots fly for. What I can say is that there are nearly 700,000 pilot certificate holders in the United States, and another 534,000 miscellaneous (mechanics, parachute riggers, dispatchers, instructors, flight engineers, navigators, etc) airman certificate holders. That’s more than 1.2 million people who directly depend on aviation. It does not count the aviation attorneys, FBO owners, and others who are directly linked to our ability to fly.

    The freedom I’m talking about is the freedom to fly. To work in fields like pipeline patrol. Traffic reporting. Environmental conservation. Disaster relief. Law enforcement. Fire suppression. Personal and corprate transportation. Freight. Flight instruction. Sightseeing. Aviation product development. Aircraft manufacturing. Aircraft repair and testing. Charter flights. Air ambulance. Search and rescue (CAP). Public benefit flying (Angel Flight, Young Eagles, etc).

    If you stop to think about it, you WANT the services aviation provides. Well, now it’s time to start paying attention to the needs of the aviation infrastructure that provides them.

    You are correct in stating that restricting airspace for short periods of time is not taking away their freedom to fly. We’ve been dealing with these TFRs for years. But since 9/11 they are growing exponentially in diameter, altitude, frequency, and duration.

  5. EvanT
    August 19, 2004 at 11:15 am

    Dale,
    If you’re that worried about my Piper Cherokee bouncing-off an NYC sky-scraper, why not ban ALL aviation over metroploitan areas? Oops, too many politicians, jobs and dollars sunk into those airports. Face it, government and business today is all about the big bucks: who gets ’em and who spends ’em. I’d be more worried about an 80,000 pound semis delivering “food supplies” to Shea Stadium and then going “BOOM” in the parking lot, but oops again…too much money there too. The ONLY reason General Aviation suffers is that we are the little guys…not enough money.
    i

  6. Vijay Dandapani
    February 24, 2005 at 5:44 am

    The main issue is whether or not GA planes in the wrong hands can pose a threat to NYC. The two terrorist attacks referred to in an earlier post used vastly heavier transportation modes than the single engine planes that generally ply the Hudson VFR corridor. There is no empirical evidence that points to light planes being used to inflict damage and should that occur in the future. Recent instances of pilots who committed suicide for reasons other than terrorism using small planes as in Tampa and Milan provide examples of how little damage they caused with no loss of lives other than the two pilots.

    Also, banning flights directly affects the tourism industry to NYC. Virtually every hotel in NYC sells sight-seeing flights on Liberty Helicopters – they are a big draw for tourists, domestic and international

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