Goodbye Cleveland Air Show, Hello Pulp Fiction

Another multi-million dollar aviation event falls by the wayside due to the idiotic and useless restrictions on general aviation. Via AVweb:

In Cleveland, Ohio, organizers are scrambling to get a waiver so they can go ahead with a planned air show this weekend after a stadium sports event was scheduled nearby. The FAA said that means no flying. If the show has to be cancelled, organizers said, the event is likely “doomed” for the future.

More on this in a statement from the Cleveland Air Show:

The 2004 Cleveland National Air Show may mark the end to the city’s premier aviation event at Burke Lakefront Airport and its $5 million-plus economic impact on the region.

The Federal Aviation Administration, which issues the necessary waivers for the event, notified the Air Show on Wednesday that the Air Show cannot go on at the same time as a regular season major sporting event in Cleveland.

“That interpretation will effectively cancel future Cleveland National Air Shows because of the unpredictable annual schedules of Major League Baseball, the National Football League and other professional sports. The resulting financial losses suffered by the Air Show would doom the event,” said Executive Director Chuck Newcomb.

This airshow has been going on for more than forty years. Look at this history. The show attracts 100,000 people and produces millions in economic activity, not to mention promoting aviation and giving the people of Ohio a look at the world’s top civilian and military aviators.

Now it looks like the whole thing may be banned permanently. And for what? Not a goddamn thing. The restrictions on general aviation are so pointless. A three mile TFR can be penetrated in less than 60 seconds (180 mph = 3 miles/min). Either the TFRs have to be so large that aviation ceases to exist altogether — in which case the whole country instantly regresses to the 19th century — or it must be acknowledged by all clear-thinking, intelligent, reasonable people that these restrictions are worthless.

As if this wasn’t enough, we can now enjoy sensationalized, fear-mongering crap from the Boston Globe.

The threat of terrorists using small planes to attack American targets does exist and requires immediate action by the government, according to a Washington think tank that is nearing completion of a study of general aviation’s vulnerabilities.

”It’s a threat that can’t be ignored any longer,” said David Heyman, the director of the homeland security program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

From where I sit, what ‘can’t be ignored’ is the shoddy reporting and intentional mischaracterization the Boston Globe is using in a sad quest to sell more pulp fiction. To put it simply, the Globe is trying to scare people, facts be damned.

The article is so badly skewed that the Center for Strategic and International Studies took the unusual step of refuting the Globe’s article in a press release, noting that:

  • the Globe article is just plain “incorrect”
  • CSIS “has not yet drawn any conclusions regarding the current vulnerability of, or recommendations to benefit, the entire transportation industry or general aviation in particular.”
  • personal statements made by CSIS staff were “taken out of context” by the Globe
  • the Globe article is “incomplete” and “does not take into account a broad range of findings that are still under development”

Normally, I would be tempted to cut the Globe some slack and say that they just don’t realize how much damage an untrue article like this can do to the GA industry. But the fact is, they know perfectly well. They just don’t care.

Bottom line: be careful who you get your news from. Today general aviation is being maligned; tomorrow it will be ______________ (fill in the blank with your avocation or profession). If we should be alarmed about anything, it’s yellow journalism from cheap rags like the Boston Globe.

  4 comments for “Goodbye Cleveland Air Show, Hello Pulp Fiction

  1. Chon Buri Squid
    August 30, 2004 at 4:34 am

    Why blame the Globe when you can blame the IDIOTS who are responsible for the “FAA REVISED RULING”?

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  3. Steve Janowski
    September 9, 2004 at 8:59 am

    Closing the Air Show in Cleveland is the first step in justifying the CLOSING of Burke Lakefront Airport. Make no mistake, the “administrators” who run this city want nothing more than to create a glorified downtown park. They can’t build on it because it used to be a landfill. You can blame the FAA or the Boston Globe, they’re both full if idiots – BUT ! we heard no large outcry by the city leaders about the future of the airshow, as they did when the Browns moved. Think about it.

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