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