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Thu, May 12, 2005

DC Scare Spurs Daley

Wants GA Aircraft Banned Over Cities, Says Incident Justifies Closure Of Meigs

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, the man General Aviation loves to hate, renewed his call for a ban on GA flight over major cities in the wake of Wednesday's light plane incursion deep into the Washington ADIZ.

Daley also said the Washington incident proves he was right to destroy Meigs Field under the cover of darkness two years ago.

"They should value the lives of people in large cities," he said during a City Hall news conference, quoted by the Chicago Tribune. "We need the same protection as Washington, DC."

Daley told reporters, "The thing about this was a single-engine plane. And remember when I talked about, after 9/11, single-engine planes can fly any part of the country except Disneyland in California, Disneyland (Disney World) in Florida, the White House, the US Capitol and New York."

"We don't have enough time," he said, referring to the amount of time between the detection of a possible airborne threat over Chicago and the time a military of DHS response might be mounted. "We don't have any jets here. I mean, the city doesn't have a military force."

General aviation aircraft should be forced to circumnavigate the Windy City, he said, flying around the town and over Lake Michigan rather than over the Loop, he said.

"That's why closing [Meigs Field] was the best thing we did. I value the lives of people in Washington, New York, and of course Disneyland. They should value the lives of people in large cities such as ours... and we need the same protection as Washington, DC," he said hours after the Washington ADIZ incursion.

For those pilots who stray, Daley said he wanted to see federal authorities institute big fines. "I think it should be a mandatory fine; $100, $200, $500,000. I mean, they have all the equipment necessary on these planes."

FMI: http://egov.cityofchicago.org

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