NBAA President and CEO Ed Bolen joined with leaders of other general aviation (GA) associations in a Jan. 10 meeting on Capitol Hill with U.S. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) to discuss reopening the South Capitol Street Heliport (09W) in Washington, DC to civil rotorcraft operations.
Once home to 41 based operators, the South Capitol Street Heliport played a vital support role in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. However, in part because of its proximity to the nation’s capital, the heliport was closed to most civil helicopter operations in 2005. Despite numerous efforts to reopen the facility in the years since, only medevac and law enforcement operators are currently permitted to utilize 09W.
Those setbacks have not prevented GA advocates from continuing their efforts to reopen the facility, however. Recently, Holmes Norton introduced an amendment to the 2014 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill that would prevent the FAA from enforcing its “no-fly” rule into DC for commercial and other civil helicopter operators.
Following the meeting with Holmes Norton, Bolen noted that procedures enacted under the DCA Access Standard Security Program – permitting GA operations into nearby Reagan National Airport (DCA) – provide a template to follow in constructing similar procedures for 09W, and demonstrate the feasibility of allowing civil rotorcraft operations to return to the heliport, while also maintaining adequate and necessary security protocols.
“Reopening this vital facility would provide business people and others with an essential transportation link to the D.C. Beltway, while also contributing significant economic opportunities and the potential for additional jobs in the area,” Bolen added.
Also attending the meeting with Holmes Norton were Helicopter Association International President Matt Zuccaro, Eastern Region Helicopter Council Vice President Jeff Smith and South Capitol Street Heliport Chief Operating Officer Don Sciminoli.