Comments On Emergency Landings "Out Of Line"
The Friends of Meigs
Field have condemned the remarks made by Chicago Mayor Richard
M. Daley pertaining to an emergency landing made at Meigs Field
just before the start of AirVenture. According to news accounts,
Mayor Daley is reported to have blamed pilots for two recent
emergency landings at the closed Meigs Field, and implied that the
second pilot was purposely trying to embarrass Mayor Daley for
'The Mayor's comments demonstrate a gross ignorance of general
aviation and are completely out of line," said Steve Whitney,
Chairman of the Friends of Maigs Field. "To somehow blame those
whose lives have been saved by Meigs Field as being an
embarrassment to Mayor Daley is shocking."
"It is frightening to think that this level of ignorance and
indifference to public safety characterizes the man who dictates
aviation policy in Chicago," he added.
On Course: Chicago is Directly on Route to Oshkosh
Mayor Daley was quoted as saying "if he's going to Oshkosh, that
man is going in the wrong direction," implying that the emergency
landing by Richard Randall last week at the closed Meigs Field was
some kind of set-up. Randall's home is in Standish, Maine. His
route of flight to the EAA's convention in Oshkosh, WI, was like
thousands of other pilots from out East--right along Chicago's
shoreline. Single-engine pilots usually fly near to Lake Michigan's
shore in case of mechanical difficulty, concentrating a great deal
of traffic along Chicago's lakefront -- Randall's very situation
proved the wisdom of this practice.
It is very common for pilots to fly the 'Lakeshore VFR (visual
flight rules) Flyway" between Wisconsin and points east. For a
visual representation of the flyway, the Friends of Meigs have
posted an excerpt from the Chicago Terminal Area Chart on their
It is this flyway that the Friends of Meigs have consistently
pointed out makes closing Meigs a bad idea. Not only is the Meigs
runway available in case of emergency, but the Meigs Field tower
provides guidance and separation for traffic flying along the lake
and over downtown. Without that tower, aircraft are at greater risk
But... They Still Made it to Oshkosh
According to media reports, Richard
Randall and his passenger Dick Green, safely arrived in Oshkosh on
They reported that they were not aware that Meigs had been
closed until they made a low pass over the runway and discovered
the damage done on March 37. The airport is still shown to be open
on charts-a result of the City's "illegal secret closing of the
airport without giving proper notice to the FAA."
With an alternator failure, a loss of radio communications.
increasing rain and falling visibilities, "Randall made the prudent
choice." He made another circuit, and landed on the grass adjacent
The men reported that the Chicago police who greeted them at the
airport were "helpful," but Park District officials-including a
lawyer who threatened to charge them with trespassing-were
"arrogant." After signing releases from the City of Chicago, the
pair ferried the aircraft out under a ferry permit from the FAA,
repaired a loose connection with the alternator, and resumed their
journey to Oshkosh.