Do We Dare Raise Hope for a Meigs Revival?

Meigs Field

Two recent news events have lifted pilots' hopes for restoration of Meigs Field as an airport. President Obama has pledged to include repaving runways to his plans to boost infrastructure spending; and the man who unpaved it in the first place announced he will not seek re-election as Mayor. Richard Daley, as Mayor of Chicago, ordered Meigs Field's runway bulldozed under cover of darkness in March 2003. His claim that the airport posed a security threat due to its proximity to the city skyline was quickly refuted. But the worst Daley endured was a fine from the FAA for disabling an airport under cover of darkness, stranding several airplanes on its taxiways in the process. The property has been turned into parkland, but could still be returned to active airport status with relative ease under Obama's infrastructure funding program. The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association has begun the process of advancing that agenda. AOPA President Craig Fuller said, "Reopening Meigs, with its easy access to Chicago's Loop, would allow businesses in 'The City that Works' — as Mayor Daley's father (who also served as Mayor of Chicago) liked to refer to Chicago — to work even more efficiently."

Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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