E-I-C Note: The Aero-TV Team -- Jim, Bill,
Birgit, Rob, Paul, Sarah, Nathan, Jim, Laura, Ben, Scott and the
rest of the aero-gnomes -- want to wish you a Happy Holiday while
we all pursue our own various and sundry holiday diversions. Our
regular daily webcasting schedule will resume promptly on Monday,
though we'll offer two more of of our faorite 'classic'
features over the New Year's break. In the meantime, please enjoy
this 'classic' episode of Aero-TV from last year as we
all recover from the obligatory turkey induced comas....
One More E-I-C Note: We're immensely proud
of the work that Aero-TV has done in the past year with the better
part of 300 HIGH-Quality features shot and produced... but this
particular three-parter is near and dear to our hearts... as pilots
and journalists. It describes the height of post-911
foolishness/hysteria that has produced a false aura of
security that betrays the reality of poor decisions that
diminish what America stands for and harms the world of aviation
for no discernible reason. -- Jim Campbell, ANN
They called them the 'DC-3.' Three of the nation's most
interesting and vital airports were restricted, strangled and
severely punished for the fact that they were located in somewhat
close proximity to the nation's capital... and after 9/11, that was
a bad thing, indeed. The most celebrated of these airports is
College Park Airport, in Maryland... and is none other than the
world's oldest continuously operated airport.
College Park Airport's history is a storied one... as it was
established in 1909 after Wilbur Wright came to the field to train
two military officers to fly in the government's first aeroplane.
The facility is now the world's oldest continuously operated
airport, and is the site of many significant aviation firsts.
College Park Airport, known as the "Cradle of Aviation," is an
active airport serving the needs of aircraft pilots, and is also a
site for history buffs and aviation enthusiasts. In 1977 the
airport was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
In the paranoia that followed the tragedy of 9/11, the kneejerks
in Washington decided that severely restricting a lovely little
airport on the outskirts of DC was somehow a major security issue.
College Park Airport Manager Lee Schiek wrote ANN, several years
ago, of the travesties foisted upon his and the two other DC
airports in the name of national security... "After 93 years of
operation, our federal government has decided that this bucolic
little general aviation facility must be slowly choked out of
existence and sacrificed on the holy alter of National Security.
The year-old temporary flight restrictions imposed upon
College Park Airport(CGS), Hyde Field (W32) and Potomac Airfield
(VKX) have now been arbitrarily extended for another two years.
That action may very well destroy three previously vibrant general
aviation airports, no doubt to the subtle satisfaction of our
federal architects of security. The airports' assassinations will
not be quick and humane, but slow and drawn-out, Inquisition-style.
Not wanting any bureaucratic blood on their hands in the event of
negative press, the feds are now free to shrug their collective
shoulders and claim "lack of market response" as the "real" culprit
leading up to the government's Final Solution for these airports.
The fact that federal zealotry resulted in the seizure of 99+% of
their customer-base won't even qualify as a footnote in any future
For nearly seven years, College Park has held on, barely, to its
existence... and even started to recover a bit -- so very slowly...
as a few pilots begin to understand the value of an airport great
enough to jump through all the ridiculous security hoops TSA places
in front of them.
So... will they survive? Aero-TV spent some time with Lee
Schiek, who talked openly about what they endured and what they
must have, in the future, if they are to survive. Join Aero-TV and
Lee Schiek in a frank discussion of the trials and tribulations of
College Park Airport.