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DB777
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Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Thu Dec 05, 2002 7:38 am

As previously reported in another thread, the public aircraft viewing area on the west side of FLL was barricaded off late last week in response to the missile attack on the Arkia flight. Whether you ever shoot at FLL or not, we need your support on this issue because it's an issue that affects aviation photographers and spotters around the world.

I saw the area first-hand today and I parked on Perimeter Road for 45 minutes from 1245 until 1330. In that time I counted 22 cars that turned into the roadway only to see the barricades and then do immediate u-turns in the animal shelter parking lot. This indicates to me that it is a very popular area with not only area residents but visitors with out of state vehicle plates. Some vehicles had 4 or more passengers in them.

I called BCAD's Jim Reynolds' office this afternoon after I got back and I spoke to a secretary as to who made the decision to close off the area. She put me on hold and came back and said it was the Broward Sheriff's Office (BSO). She connected me to the BSO and I spoke to an officer who told me that it was BCAD who made the decision. I told him that I had just spoken to Jim Reynold's office and that they told me it was BSO and transferred me to his number. He then asked me to hold and when he came back he told me that it was a "joint decision by high ranking BSO and BCAD officials" to temporarily close the viewing area.

Due to previous experience in working for an airport, I believe it is absolutely futile for outsiders to attempt to convince any airport official or local law enforcement agency that they have made a mistake and should reconsider their decision. I also believe that if you want some action you should go as high as you can in the chain of command. In this case, I believe the highest person you can contact is Lori Nance Parrish, Chairwoman of the Broward County Commission. She has been a commissioner in Broward for many years, has been deeply involved with the airport for many years, and now as Chairperson of the Commission she carries more clout in Broward government than anyone I can think of.

I sent Chairwoman Parrish a long e-mail explaining the situation of the view park being closed and that such a decision was wrong. I pointed out that terrorists can shoot these missiles miles from an airport, that they would prefer to hit an airliner in the air so that there are no survivors and that more people will be killed on the ground and more damage to buildings by a falling airliner. The view park is not suitable for such activity, yet terrorists could park along adjacent I-95 and do the same thing and have a better escape route than trying to escape from FLL's west side road network. I further explained about all the spotters and photogs that we get from Europe, Asia and other parts of the USA in the winter and that these folks spend a lot of money on hotel rooms, rental cars, food, and other necessities of life for anywhere from a week to a month and that in the economy we should be welcoming these folks instead of screwing them over. I mentioned that now the word is getting out about the view park's closure that these folks would be going elsewhere to shoot, and that FLL's reputation for not going "nuts" after 9/11 was now going down the toilet thanks to the view park closure.

In regards to the parking garage alternative, I said that the airport may mean well but the two areas are not equivalent because the garage is considerably further back from the runway and that requires longer lenses, plus many photogs prefer ground level shots and not photos taken from 7 floors up looking down on taxiing aircraft.

And finally I mentioned that as someone with many years of airfield operations experience, I believe that airports and law enforcement agencies should welcome spotters and photogs around their perimeters because they provide many extra eyes and ears to report suspicious characters via cell phone. I said that these folks are our friends, not our enemies, and the attitude by airport staff members and local law enforcement need to change for the better.

As I just sent the e-mail off, I don't have a response yet and will not for a day or two. However, Chairwoman Parrish needs to hear from others who would like to see the viewing area re-opened. She has a website URL where you can send your comments and we would appreciate it if a bunch of you would do that. The URL is at:

http://www.broward.org/parrish/cci01900.htm

The squeaky wheel gets the grease as they say and the squeakier we are the better off we will all be. Please take the time to submit your comments to her and urge that the view park be re-opened.

Thanks!

Don Boyd

Photographing aircraft since the Earth was flat and on Airliners.net since #338
 
ake0404ar
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Thu Dec 05, 2002 7:59 am

Even though I have never been to that viewing area, (been to FLL twice though) I will participate. Count me in Don.

Vasco Garcia
 
thomasphoto60
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Thu Dec 05, 2002 8:11 am

I'll do my part as well. While I have flown through FLL on more than a few occasions, I have never had the opportunity to take the time to photograph there.

Again, I'll construct a nicely worded e-mail and shoot it off tonight.

Thomas
"Show me the Braniffs"
 
flpuck6
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Thu Dec 05, 2002 8:54 am

Don--

I will definitely write a little something. I have a trip planned down to FLL / MIA for the 15th-18th of December and it looks like my photography will have to be limited to MIA.

Thanks a lot for the heads up on all of this.

-Chris
Bonjour Chef!
 
flpuck6
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Thu Dec 05, 2002 8:58 am

By the way, a while back, someone had posted a link to an article from the Houston newspaper about how "spotter friendly" IAH is. Perhaps we can find that link and suggest Broward County do a little reading?  Wink/being sarcastic

-Chris
Bonjour Chef!
 
flpuck6
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Thu Dec 05, 2002 9:21 am

Don--I chose to reiterate some of the same points you brought up, I hope you do not mind. I thought that a repetition of the same points might make them think twice. My letter:

Dearest Commissioner Parrish,

My name is Christopher Liao, I write to you from Providence, Rhode Island. You're asking yourself wow, why Rhode Island!? Allow me to start off by saying that I am a commericial aviation enthusiast. I am what we call a "spotter". It can be used as a noun, or as a verb, as in "to spot", as in to watch and obvserve airliners. I have loved planes ever since I can remember and this passion extends to the photography of commercial airliners. My passion is so profound that I have my own website dedicated to sharing my photographs: http://pages.wooster.edu/liaocl/

Word has spread faster than you can imagine about the closure of the spotter-friendly viewing park at the end of runway 9L at Ft.Lauderdale's International Airport. I actually have a trip planned for mid-December specifically to spend a day at this viewing park to take photographs. (The winter months provide much better sun for photography!)

As you might imagine, I was saddened to hear about the closure and somewhat disappointed that the paranoia of the American public has come to such a point. It might not be my place to make you believe this, but such a viewing park actually is not the "ideal" place for terrorist activity. It is very much a public place where "suspicious" activity can easily be reported. Let us be logic about this as well. What is to prevent someone from taking a bazooka and using it while driving on I-95 while an airliner is landing? I thoroughly believe that in the interest of keeping our hobby alive, we as spotters would be the first to report any "suspicious" activity, thus providing the airport with a cost-free asset in terms of security.

The closure of this viewing park also has its economic disadvantages. As I said, I am (was) flying into FLL specifically for this viewing park. This means I would be spending money in the city of Ft. Lauderdale to make this trip possible. This means revenue for the city. And I am coming only from within the United States. There are thousands of other spotters who descend on South Florida from all over the world specifically because this viewing park facilitates being able to watch and photograph planes. They rent hotel rooms, they rent cars, they keep local restaurants in business...just imagine all the lost revenue if they cannot come because of this.

I finish my message with hopes that you, as well as Broward County remain open to the letters you receive and that you will seriously re-consider the reopening (as it was before) of the viewing park. Spotters taking pictures of planes and watching planes are very simply just enjoying their hobbies, nothing more. We must not facilitate this growing paranoia.

Sincerely yours,
-Christopher Liao
Providence, Rhode Island
Bonjour Chef!
 
thomasphoto60
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Thu Dec 05, 2002 10:13 am

Chris,

At the risk of tooting my own horn, I was the guilty party in posting the article on IAH. Fyi, IAH is still very spotter friendly .......For the moment. I will try to locate that link and send it as a part of my e-mail to the appropriate Broward County officials.

I am glad to see some pro-active movement on the part of some spotter/photographers in contacting airport and appropriate officials here as opposed to all of the moaning and whining (I readily admit that I am at times guilty of this as well). When it comes down to it we are the only ones that any real chance of saving this hobby, as no one else will. I hope more will follow your and Don's fine examples and pen some well worded e-mails.


Thomas
"Show me the Braniffs"
 
skyliner
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Thu Dec 05, 2002 11:19 am

Don:
Very well put; thanks!
George
 
jderden777
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Thu Dec 05, 2002 11:30 am

i also typed up a note similar to chris's and sent it in - unfortunately i'm not able to post it up here, but i only hope our efforts will not be in vain...and i hope other enthusiasts chime in and offer their support as well....maybe we can use our numbers to our advantage in this situation...we'll just have to see what happens....

this really is saddening, to say the least...:-(

jonathan d.
"my soul is in the sky" - shakespeare
 
joe pries
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Thu Dec 05, 2002 12:17 pm

Broward County has received the following information:
[email protected]
question=

Dear Mrs. Parrish, My name is Joe Pries, I am chief airport/airline photographer for Aviation Week & Space Technology Magazine (a division of McGraw-Hill Publishing) and staff photographer with Airliners Magazine. I have been coming to the MIA/FLL area every January since 1993. One of my frequented spots for photography is the parking lot at FLL which affords great photos of airliners at a close range that is very suitable for quality documentation of the traffic that comes through FLL for the publications I serve. While I concur that we should all be vigilant and cognizant these days given the current geopolitical situation, I plead with you to re-open the lot to the folks who get so much out of it, especially between the months of November and February which are big months for folks like myself from New York, and much more exotic places like Europe, South America, Asia and Australia. These folks, like myself are a great boost to the local economy- we rent cars, stay in local hotels, pay a lot for flights. All we want is to stand there and enjoy the airplanes during daylight hours. Every year I visit, there are so many folks that come to the lot, to photograph, to eat their lunch, to just relax and airport operations and local police drive by, and keep driving- there are never any problems that I’ve seen or heard of. Additionally, rest assured that any of the photographers or locals ever saw anyone doing anything remotely suspicious, we’d be on the cell-phone dialing 911 immediately. I don’t have to tell you how vulnerable our airplanes are when in low altitude, but we must also be rational and avoid reactions which make little or no sense. I hope that you will give this a lot of thought and do the right thing for us, and one day in the future, do yourself a favor- drive by the lot at around lunch time, park for a short while, and see how much pleasure folks get from watching these airplane come and go, watch how excited the photographers get when an airplane they haven’t seen yet just passed by and they photographed it- you will see for yourself where the passion comes from. Thanks for taking the time to read this. Joe Pries [email protected]
SUBMIT=Submit my response


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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Thu Dec 05, 2002 12:18 pm

Count me in Don! As soon as I get a chance, I'll fire off a letter!

Brian - SPOT THIS!
 
flpuck6
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Thu Dec 05, 2002 12:26 pm

Thomas, you're not guilty of anything!

I'm just thinking that we should all forward the URL to the Commissioner, perhaps it will send her a message if she got 50 of the same URLs! LOL.

-Chris
Bonjour Chef!
 
DB777
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Thu Dec 05, 2002 12:44 pm

Thanks very much gents - I really appreciate your support in this endeavor to end the insanity at FLL. I hate it when bureaucrats make decisions that screw the public out of using publicly owned property. The airport needs all the public support it can get considering the noise and pollution levels it dumps on county residents and it is losing such support when it makes illogical moves like this.

I'm tempted to type up some flyers with names and phone numbers of all the commission members and pass them out to everyone who drives up trying to access the view park this Saturday. I may also try to get the local Broward newspaper involved along with the county's Tourism and Convention Bureau and the Hotel/Motel Association.

Don
Photographing aircraft since the Earth was flat and on Airliners.net since #338
 
cschleic
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Thu Dec 05, 2002 1:24 pm

Very good thread, Don. I was down there from Oregon for the first time last month. At the time I was a little worried about being early in the season and hitting bad weather. But weather was great and timing even better as it looks now.

As you suggested, one point that every local politician gets is the economic impact. I spent three nights in a hotel, rented a car, food, gas, plus flew into and out of Ft. Lauderdale (would definitely use it again for a south Florida trip because it's easy in and out). Chatted with a few people who had come from Europe to FLL and MIA to watch planes and, therefore, support the local economy.

Definitely make the point to the politicians.
 
thomasphoto60
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Thu Dec 05, 2002 2:13 pm

Hi Guys,

Just to let you know that I located the Chronicle story in the paper's archives, however the URL is sooooooooo loooooong it would take almost a half an hour just to type it in as a link. So if you e-mail me I will send you over a copy of the story and you can attach it (as I did) to your e-mail.

My e-mail is in my profile.

Thomas
"Show me the Braniffs"
 
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Bruce
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Thu Dec 05, 2002 2:48 pm

I also think it is sad what they've done. If it had been open there was a chance i would have visited there in december but now, I am considering IAH or CLT. It looks like ft. lauderdale has lost my money this time around.

A shot from happier (but pre-digital!) times which we have now lost:

View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Bruce Leibowitz




bruce
Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens
 
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JeffM
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Thu Dec 05, 2002 2:49 pm

Don,
Have you tried bringing this up to your local T.V. stations "trouble shooter"? Most stations have a person assigned to investigate stuff that seems wrong or unfair to the public by big business or local government. That, along with all the emails we are sending might put a little pressure on somebody.

If that area was paid for by taxpayer dollars, then it is clearly an abuse of funds to not keep it open.

Maybe you could find out what political party the guy who wants to keep it closed is affiliated with, and send off an email or two to someone in the opposing party, describe the evil deed and pledge your support to their party. Or contact a Civil Libertarian....surely they will agree that your rights are being violated.

As a last resort, get a bunch of kids together, bring 'em all down there and take their picture infront of the CLOSED sign with sad faces. Send that to the newspaper..

Best of Luck,

Jeff
 
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Bruce
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Thu Dec 05, 2002 3:47 pm

I think a large protest would work. You need to get a large crowd of FLL area spotters together and carry picket signs.  Smile

Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens
 
USAFHummer
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Fri Dec 06, 2002 1:10 am

As an FLL spotter I will definitely send something in as well...I have to say that I never expected the closure to generate this much action from other users on a.net, but everyone's help in trying to get our spotting back is most definitely appreciated...I will be down in FLL twice in the next 3 weeks so Ill try to see if I can learn anything new while Im there...

Thanks,
Greg
Chief A.net college football stadium self-pic guru
 
sunilgupta
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Fri Dec 06, 2002 1:56 am

Don, I'll get a note out to them asap! Sunil
 
Lindy
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Fri Dec 06, 2002 2:01 am

Count me in. First time I was at FLL in March and I really loved it. Its a great place and I want to go back there for some spotting in winter.
I'll write her an email in few minutes.

Rafal
BWIADCA - Nikon D100
 
EGGD
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Fri Dec 06, 2002 2:09 am

Here is my note, it didn't submit so I have time to change it if its not right. So what if some of it isn't (quite) true;

Dear Mrs. Parrish,

My name is Daniel Hamer, I am a 16 year old Aviation photographer from Bristol, across the pond in the UK. I've been informed by a number of proffesional photographers living in the Fort Lauderdale area that the viewing area parallel to runway 9Left has been closed due to recent events.

Now, being a photographer myself, I have been to Fort Lauderdale a couple of times, I've spent money on flights and hotels to the area, and of course bus fares/hire cars too. I'm quite shocked that the viewing area has been closed because I know that nearly everyone who visits have only one purpose, to enjoy the great view that we are treated to.

As you may know, our hobby, which is little known in the USA, has become a lot more difficult since 9/11. Many US airports are impossible to take photographs at, so many people start to take the time to travel to FLL, which is one of the best places in the country for aviation photography.

I plead with you to re-open this area, on behalf of myself and all other aviation photographers, I already have a trip planned for next feb/march but it will have to be cancelled if the viewing area remains closed. I hope that won't have to be the case.

Thank you for your time,

Sincerely,

Daniel Hamer


Dan Big grin
 
USAFHummer
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Fri Dec 06, 2002 2:39 am

well, good news, I think...

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Fort Lauderdale's biggest newspaper, actually has an aviation reporter (and hes good too, his work really impresses me)...having known that, from the day I found out the closure the hard way, Ive been in email contact with him, and he has told me that in tomorrow, Friday's newspaper, there will be an article about the spotting area...

Greg
Chief A.net college football stadium self-pic guru
 
DB777
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Fri Dec 06, 2002 2:47 am

I also have been in contact with the reporter. He said it was okay for others to send him comments but do it fast and his space is limited. His e-mail address is:

[email protected]

Also, there was a change in the Chair of the Broward County Commission last week. The new chair is Diana Wasserman-Rubin. The URL for her is at:

http://www.broward.org/diana/welcome.htm

Her e-mail address is:

[email protected]

Those of you who sent e-mails to former Chair Lori Parrish should resend them to Diana, the new chair. She has already responded to a gent on the Skyone Yahoo group whereas Commissioner Parrish's office is buried in e-mails and won't be responding for days.

Thanks everyone!

Don
Photographing aircraft since the Earth was flat and on Airliners.net since #338
 
joe pries
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Fri Dec 06, 2002 2:54 am

just emailed the reporter a copy of what i sent the commish

Joe
 
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Fri Dec 06, 2002 3:12 am

I have also referred the reporter to this thread to show him how much aviation enthusiasts noticed and care about what is going on down in FLL...I cant wait to read the article tomorrow...

Greg
Chief A.net college football stadium self-pic guru
 
Lindy
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Fri Dec 06, 2002 3:32 am

Ok, so I just sent long letter to Ms. Parrish. Should I send it again and just changing the name on the top? hehehe

Rafal
BWIADCA - Nikon D100
 
Lindy
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Fri Dec 06, 2002 3:38 am

Here we go again  Smile I just sent the same email to that new lady.  Big grin

Rafal
BWIADCA - Nikon D100
 
USAFHummer
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Fri Dec 06, 2002 4:23 am

I have sent my email as well to the commissioner...

Greg
Chief A.net college football stadium self-pic guru
 
USAFHummer
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Fri Dec 06, 2002 4:40 am

Well, I got a fast reply...lets see how it turns out...


"Dear Mr. Rosenthal:

I received your e-mail today. Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention. Please be assured that I will consider the information which you have kindly taken the time to share with me.

Cordially,

Diana Wasserman-Rubin
Chair, Board of County Commissioners
Commissioner, District 8"

Its a little bit form letter-ish...oh well...its a matter of time and persistence now...

Greg
Chief A.net college football stadium self-pic guru
 
Lindy
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Fri Dec 06, 2002 4:41 am

Few minutes ago I received email from Commissioner Diana Wasserman Rubin

"Dear Mr. Szczypek:

I received your e-mail today. Thank you for bringing this matter to my attention. Please be assured that I will consider the information which you have kindly taken the time to share with me.

Cordially,

Diana Wasserman-Rubin
Chair, Board of County Commissioners
Commissioner, District 8"

I dont know if this is automated response or if she really red my email. We will see.

Rafal
BWIADCA - Nikon D100
 
USAFHummer
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Fri Dec 06, 2002 5:00 am

I think its probably automated or at the least a standard form letter, Rafal, as you see I got the same thing...

Greg
Chief A.net college football stadium self-pic guru
 
Lindy
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Fri Dec 06, 2002 6:36 am

Hey,

Did anyone else got email from her?

Rafal
BWIADCA - Nikon D100
 
Dazed767
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Fri Dec 06, 2002 10:11 am

According to the newspaper in Orlando, Frontage Rd in Orlando may be closed down in the near future. I'm going to have to start my own emails soon.
 
DB777
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Fri Dec 06, 2002 10:57 am

I got the exact same response from Chairperson Diana Wasserman-Rubin so obviously they have a canned message for initial e-mail responses. At least her office responds because I haven't heard anything yet from former Chairperson Lori Parrish.

Again, thanks to all of you for sending e-mails. It will interesting to see if anything is done but I plan on doing a couple of other things to try and get the view park re-opened. I actually prefer shooting from the garage myself but I shoot from the view park occasionally and I know that a lot of other folks prefer the view park and it's important to get it re-opened for our winter visitors. MIA still sucks the big one for keeping the viewing areas on the south side of the airport closed along Perimeter Road.

Justin: let us know when you need some e-mail writing support for your problems in the Orlando area and I know some of us will fire off some e-mails to help you out. Just figure out who we should send them to and what we should say.

Thanks.

Don
Photographing aircraft since the Earth was flat and on Airliners.net since #338
 
Dazed767
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Fri Dec 06, 2002 11:08 am

Don,

I'll be working on my FLL letter soon (then using that for the MCO one). I need to contact a couple of people here and find out who I need to write my concerns to. A few people pointed out in that article that we (photographer/spotters) are actually doing them a favor by watching the area, because no terriorist would be stupid enough to do anything out there.

BTW, I've been meaning to email Joe F. about the 09L/12 holes.....is that blocked off/patroled now? Thanks.

Justin
 
danlauz
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Fri Dec 06, 2002 11:17 am

Dear MRS,

that letter is to let you know that, we are sad to hear that the viewing area of FLL airport is no longer open.

I am 38 and, every christmas time since I am young we go me, my girlfriend, my parents, every day (almost) to spot and listen to FLL departures and arrivals on the viewing area.

We loved to fly toFLL because of it and it was a pleasure to see others like us with the same feeling. (...)

I understand your decision but, could you please do all of us a pleasure, we will be all our family in the FLL area for the christmas time and, we would like the viewing area to be reopen to all of us.

it would be a good christmas gift...

daniel

montreal
 
DB777
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Fri Dec 06, 2002 11:42 am

The photo holes at MIA (all 5 of them) are still open to my knowledge. I was there last Saturday afternoon on a beautiful blue sky day and I was the only one there at the time. I didn't see a cop the entire time I was there except for one driving by on the inner service road.

Now, here is a damn fine letter sent by Marc Hookerman of St. Louis to the reporter regarding the closure of the public view park area at FLL. He sent a similar letter to the Chairperson of the Broward County Commission. He gave me permission to post it in this forum. He really hits on an area of human fascination of flight and that our liberties are being taken away from us. Great letter Marc!

Don

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Sir,

I have been referred to you by a friend of mine, Mr. Don Boyd of the
Miami area, who has so graciously brought to my attention that you were
writing an article on the recent aircraft viewing lot closure at the
Fort Lauderdale International Airport.

To supply a nonresident view on this, I thought sending you a letter would provide you with the feelings myself and others have who do not live in the Metro-Dade/Broward County area. I have been visiting South Florida since I was a child to see family and friends who live in the area, and also to enjoy the boundless abundance of aviation that it has to offer. Being the huge aviation fanatic that I am, I have always looked forward to spending countless hours at the wonderful public viewing lot at the Fort Lauderdale airport. I could not even begin to tell you the amount of time I have spent there watching planes, taking photos, and enjoying the overall ambiance of one of the most incredible accomplishments of mankind.

Every time I visit the Miami and Fort Lauderdale area, that viewing lot is my second home and I am always thankful that the county so kindly provided the public with such a facility. With the horrible events of the recent past, and the latest attack in Kenya, one can understand the immediate skepticism of keeping such a facility open. Especially with the ongoing threats on airports that exist today.

However, aviation enthusiasts such as myself are also slowly being robbed of our freedom to enjoy such an ageless pastime. Since the day the airplane came into our world, the human fascination with flight has become gargantuan in size. To take away our ability to enjoy something we cherish not only breaks our hearts but also questions who we are really fighting in this war on terrorism. Closing viewing lots, chasing away aviation photographers, and creating ongoing restrictions does nothing but remove countless eyes and ears that not only love aviation, but would take any step to protect it. Closing these facilities to prevent attacks is truly nonsense in itself because the rationale of locking off immediate areas around airports to counteract terrorists does absolutely nothing in the way of prevention. Aircraft are always flying over cities and towns, so to say that terrorists would only look to attack near an airport is absurd. We could sterilize land twenty miles out from airports, and there would still be a threat on aviation. In the end, it saddens and angers not only myself, but the immense aviation community around the world when publicly owned places such as these lots are taken away based only on the flawed logic stated above. I hope that airport authorities all over the country will start to proofread this school of thought, and start to give back to the aviation community one of our most precious dwellings.

Fort Lauderdale has the opportunity to set the precedent here, and I hope Broward County sincerely entertains the immediate reopening of the airport viewing lot. Keeping it closed does nothing but drown our freedom and imagination, and further comforts the terrorist ideology of unbalance in our society.

Thank you for your time and efforts and good luck with your article.

Best wishes and Happy Holidays,

Marc Hookerman
Saint Louis, Missouri
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Dazed767
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Fri Dec 06, 2002 11:58 am

Great letter Marc!

Sent an email off to a GOAA guy I keep in contact with when I need info, hopefully he'll give me some contact #'s or emails. I'll keep you posted. Hopefully tomorrow I can start working on a letter for FLL/MCO.

Rgds,
JC
 
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Fri Dec 06, 2002 12:10 pm

Fantastic letter....Im hoping of course that the BCAD wakes up and smells the coffee, realizes that their decision to close it is completely pointless, and reopens it...however, given that it is bureaucracy acting here, it is still up in the air...

So I pose this question to you all...do you think the BCAD will cave in???

Greg

PS I think once it does reopen we should have a South Florida gathering for sure to celebrate...
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Fri Dec 06, 2002 12:22 pm

Of course Mark crafted a great letter, hell he is one founders of Gemini Jets!

Thomas
"Show me the Braniffs"
 
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Fri Dec 06, 2002 12:38 pm

I have no clue if BCAD will cave in. It depends on political pressure if we can cause any, newspaper exposure, etc. They're not going to look too smart either way though because they're wrong.

Most people here in the USA seem to forget that airports are public properties that receive federal and state grants, in addition to fees charged to the airlines that we as the traveling public pay for one way or another. A lot of folks are unaware that the people working at airports are no more than public servants, that a good percentage of airport directors are nothing more than politicians hired because they have "connections", that some of those in that group are less than honorable, and that all airport staff members are still accountable to the public through the governing body overseeing the airport.

This use of the term "security" to exclude the public from public property is wearing damn thin. Perhaps it's time to start writing federal and state elected and appointed officials about denying financial aid to airports who exclude the public from the perimeters of the airports.

CORRECTION to the posting by Thomas above: Marc asked me in an IM to state that he only did computer work for Gemini Jets, that he had nothing to do with the founding of the company, that he no longer works for them and he doesn't even collect them anymore.

Don
Photographing aircraft since the Earth was flat and on Airliners.net since #338
 
thomasphoto60
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Fri Dec 06, 2002 12:52 pm

All we can do is keep the pressure up and pray that they see the light.

Thanks for the correction, Don. I just remember seeing Mark's name along with Dan Asher and another that I seem to have forgotten for the moment when they first hit the market in 99. I am still a rabid collector of these beautifully crafted pieces of metal.

Thomas
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Sun-Sentinel Article On FLL View Park Closure

Fri Dec 06, 2002 2:18 pm

Here's the news article from Friday's Sun-Sentinel with quotes from Crooked Eye Joey, Marc Hookerman and me.......

Don

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Terrorism alert closes airport viewing park

By Ken Kaye
Staff Writer
Posted December 6 2002

Most days, a small park on the west side of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport would overflow with aviation buffs, photographers and people who enjoy watching airplanes while eating lunch.

But that ended when terrorists attempted to shoot down an Israeli airliner with shoulder-launched missiles in Kenya.

In direct response to that near disaster on Thanksgiving Day, the Fort Lauderdale airport closed its popular aircraft viewing area, which is next door to the county's Animal Care and Regulation compound on Southwest 39th Street and a stone's throw from the main runway.

"We haven't determined when or if we'll reopen it," said airport spokesman Jim Reynolds. "It's a very popular location, and there have been a lot of inquiries."

Fort Lauderdale's is one of many airports nationwide to restrict areas near taxiways and runways, either temporarily or permanently, because of the coordinated two-pronged terrorist attacks in Kenya.

On Nov. 28, three suicide bombers crashed a sport utility vehicle loaded with explosives through the gates of a packed seaside Israeli-owned resort, killing 13 people as well as themselves. Minutes earlier, two surface-to-air missiles were fired at a chartered Arika Boeing 757, carrying 261 passengers, as it took off from Mombasa airport bound for Tel Aviv, but missed.

The same day, at the recommendation of the Transportation Security Administration as well as airport trade organizations, Fort Lauderdale airport officials closed their aircraft view area and took other undisclosed security precautions.

Called the Ron Gardner Observation Area, the small park has paved parking, picnic tables and loudspeakers, broadcasting radio conversations between the control tower and pilots. Portals in the nearby airport fence allow photographers to grab easy shots.

First opened in 1997, it would see 50 to 75 people at any given time, with midday and weekends being the most popular.

Frequent visitors were disappointed, saying officials overreacted in closing the area.

"Terrorists using shoulder launched missiles would hardly use the view park to do their damage, especially when spotters and photographers are in the vicinity and would immediately call 911 from their cell phones," said Don Boyd, of Miami Lakes, an aviation photographer.

Marc Hookerman, of St. Louis, said airport officials could "sterilize" an area for 20 miles around an airport and there still would be a threat to airliners.

"Closing viewing lots, chasing away aviation photographers, and creating ongoing restrictions does nothing but remove countless eyes and ears that not only love aviation, but would take any step to protect it," he said.

Some have even pleaded with the Broward County Commission to reopen the viewing area.

"While I concur that we should all be vigilant and cognizant these days given the current geopolitical situation, I plead with you to reopen the lot to the folks who get so much out of it," Joe Pries, a commercial aviation photographer, wrote to Commissioner Lori Parrish.

Pries noted that photographers from New York, Europe, South America, Asia and Australia come specifically to the Fort Lauderdale airport because it offers close up shots and good sunlight.

"These folks, like myself are a great boost to the local economy," he said.

Just the same, airport security and federal officials say for now caution is needed, as they fear a U.S. airliner could be the next target.

U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, D-Florida, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has called for an immediate tightening of security around airport perimeters.

"Frankly, we are facing a possible extreme spike in the vulnerability to attack inside the United States," he told Fox News on Sunday.

Dave Steigman, spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration, said that agency also is taking a closer look at aircraft viewing areas inside terminals.

Miami International Airport closed viewing areas on its south perimeter road shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, so it didn't need to take additional action after the Kenya attacks, said airport spokeswoman Inson Kim.

"If you do park there, expect a visit from the police," she said.

Palm Beach International Airport has left open its small observation park off Southern Boulevard.

Officials noted that airport inspectors, security personnel and police constantly patrol the grounds of all three of South Florida's main commercial airports.

Ken Kaye can be reached at 954-385-7911 or [email protected]
Copyright © 2002, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Photographing aircraft since the Earth was flat and on Airliners.net since #338
 
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Fri Dec 06, 2002 2:39 pm

Great letter, Hope it gets this issue on the table for you all down there.

Jeff
 
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RE: Sun-Sentinel Article On FLL View Park Closure

Fri Dec 06, 2002 4:08 pm

My e-mail was sent off. Hope they take action!

-Dmitry
 
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Fri Dec 06, 2002 9:49 pm

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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Sat Dec 07, 2002 12:38 am

I started a different thread on a similar problem up at Orlando Int'l Airport. The airport wants the parking area on the north side to be closed off to prevent missile attacks. See the other thread for the newspaper article and the reporter's name and e-mail address. He needs to hear from us.

Fortunately the article mentions that experts say there is a bigger threat from intruders onto airfields than there is from missile attacks in this country.

Don
Photographing aircraft since the Earth was flat and on Airliners.net since #338
 
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Sat Dec 07, 2002 1:38 am

Even though he didn't cite my name specifically, the line:

"Frequent visitors were disappointed, saying officials overreacted in closing the area" came from me, I said almost the exact same thing to Ken in an email to him...just a little note...

Anyway...I was unaware that the BCAD got this advice from the higher ups at the TSA in Washington...is there any further course of action we can take you think here? Or is it a matter of waiting and seeing if they overturn...

Greg
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timdegroot
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RE: Need Your Help Regarding FLL Viewing Area

Sat Dec 07, 2002 1:47 am

I also sent an email stressing the importance to keep the lot open to public.
I only visited FLL once in '94, and I want to be able to do that again whenever I want.

Tim
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