At the urging of Jake Garn, former senator, naval aviator and space-shuttle passenger, the Salt Lake Airports Department Board has agreed unanimously to ask the Federal Aviation Administration to lift some of its restrictions on general aviation.
"I'm angry. I see so many things being done that have nothing to do with security, that will not save one life," Garn told fellow board members Wednesday.
He called many of the emergency FAA restrictions "silly and arbitrary," and said a number of them "have no safety factor whatsoever."
Garn, an instrument-rated private pilot who flew with the Navy for four years and with the Utah Air National Guard for 20, said he cannot see any sense in continuing new requirements that private pilots must file an instrument flight plan and then fly on instruments each time they take off.
Only pilots capable of flying visual flight rules are grounded, which could cripple smaller airports dependent on those private pilots to purchase aviation fuel or bring in their small airplanes for general repairs and service, said Garn, who served in the U.S. Senate for 18 years.
"The theory is they'll have more control if you've filed a flight plan," Garn said. "But, having filed an IFR flight plan, once the pilot is in the air, you can't tell if that person is honest. It gives you no more control unless you're prepared to send up an F-16 to shoot them down if the pilot deviates from his flight plan."