Keep Meigs Field Open

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    Mayor Richard M. Daley
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There are hundreds of thousands of pilots within the USA whose very heart and soul was attacked with the closing of Meigs Field in Chicago. The shutting of Meigs Field in this fashion sets a dangerous precedent that will allow local governments to shut down small heartland airports without any warning to the FAA, the ruling aviation authority.

Many Americans' livelihoods are at stake; tens if not hundreds of thousands of pilots make their livings out of these small airports, doing everything from training to banner flying to sightseeing. General Aviation is NOT a threat; most vehicles weigh more and carry more fuel than the majority of small planes. The most common GA plane, the Cessna 172 cannot have a total weight of more than 2400 lbs; this includes the plane itself, human occupants, fuel and cargo; there is only room for 200 lbs. of cargo on these planes. Look at an SUV and the cargo room, weight, etc. of those. With car-bombings in the news in other parts of the world, why no call to regulate those?

Aviation is more regulated than ANY other form of transportation, and now with your actions, it's beginning to appear to some paranoid politicians that these strict regulations are not enough. Your actions make it appear that the only way to make America safe in your eyes is to take away the American citizen's right to fly and enjoy the freedom flight provides to millions of people.

Furthermore, knee-jerk reactions like this will only further hurt the economy. With all the layoffs and small businesses that run out of Meigs now closed, there will be a few more dozen, if not over a hundred people lining up for unemployment. This is only the start. Once other politicians see they can do the same, where will it stop?

Finally, the closing of Meigs creates a greater security threat to Chicago than it was prior to its being left open for operations. The control tower at Meigs field was the only method to track and monitor general aviation traffic along the lakefront. With the tower closed, your biggest fear, Mr. Daley, which you youself have said, was about the danger all the small planes flying near downtown Chicago 'unmonitored' created. That fear will now be realized by your own doing. By closing Meigs you have shut down the only means to monitor airplane traffic along the lakefront and near Chicago's magnificant downtown skyline.

For further info see the articles I link to below from the AOPA. Thank you and I hope that you truly consider how this issue is affecting the thousands of pilots that make the skies of America their life and allow them to enjoy the freedom America stands for. You have not improved safety and security in downtown Chicago; all your actions have done is to strip one more hard-earned freedom away from the citizens of this country, and especially of the citizens of Chicago.

Below are links to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association's news reports on this issue:

http://www.aopa.org/whatsnew/newsitems/2003/030403meigs.html