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Tue, Aug 05, 2003

Friends of Meigs: Hammer Time On Mayor Daley

"Daley Shows His Ignorance, Indifference To Air Safety"

The Friends of Meigs, an aviation consumer group dedicated -- even at this late date -- to reopening the airport Chicago's mayor bulldozed under cover of darkness, says Mayor Richard Daley got it all wrong again. The group says Daley displayed "amazing ignorance and indifference to the safety of a pilot" who made an emergency landing at the closed Meigs Field on Sunday.

Daley was quoted in a news conference as saying "This is the city of Chicago. It's in the state of Illinois. Oshkosh is up there. It's north of here a couple hours. If he's going to Oshkosh, that man is going in the wrong direction." According to the Chicago Sun-Times, his insinuation was that the incident might have been intentional to embarrass the mayor for his recent closure of Meigs.

Friends of Meigs says the Mayor's comments reflect both a callous indifference to the safety of air traffic in the region and a woeful ignorance of the airspace around Chicago and its traffic. 

In fact, because pilots usually do not fly single-engine aircraft over Lake Michigan as a precaution in case of mechanical difficulty, a great deal of traffic between the EAA convention and points east passes along the busy VFR lakefront flyway over Chicago's lake shore. 

The wisdom of this practice was only proven by the experience of the pilot landing at Meigs on Sunday.  Suffering from an alternator failure and a loss of radio communications, and faced with increasing rain and falling visibilities, the pilot did the safe thing:  Landed at Meigs.

The Friends of Meigs Field responded with a press release today, detailing how the pilot was exactly where he should have been if he had really been en route from Michigan (originally from Maine) to Oshkosh (WI).



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