Dave's Planet

Reggie Rhodes abuse of FAA power puts Dave on the "No Fly" list

I'm a member of a gliding club that flies out of an airport within three miles of a large college football stadium. Of course after 9/11 the government restricted flying that close to a stadim on game day, you had to apply for a waiver.

If you've ever had to deal with the FAA you know they are the apex of government bureaucracy. I became aquainted with Reggie Rhodes when I contacted the waiver department about flying gliders a mile away from a stadium. First and foremost Reggie flat out refused to answer any questions about what constituted legal activitiy and what required a waiver. He refused to discuss any scenario in which we might be granted a waiver. He knew one thing and one thing only - the waiver departments job was to respond to "Waiver Requests", it is NOT his job to answer questions about waivers.

So I filed waiver requests. All kinds of waiver requests. My intention was two-fold, first I wanted to explore the boundaries of what the FAA would regulate, and second I wanted to make an ass of myself and make fun of Reggie Rhodes and his little fiefdom.

I filed requests to know if I, as a licensed pilot, could do any of the following within 3 miles of a football stadium on game day:

Yes each and every request was DENIED. I called up the waiver department and verified that if a request was denied it was the FAAs official position that I was forbidden from performing this activity in restricted airspace. They aboslutly and unequivicably agreed that I was forbidden from performing those actions in restricted airspace. I have an official FAA rejection letter stating that their position is that I am not allowed to throw a frisbee within three miles of a football stadium.

BUT WAIT! It gets better! A couple weeks later Reggie sends two guys in suits and badges from the TSA to my place of employment. I explained to them that Reggie is an asshole who refuses to answer any questions on the subject of aircraft waivers, that Reggie will only respond to official waiver requests, and that my requests were blatent sarcasm directed at forcing Reggie to define basic boundaries for what might and might not be permitted in restircted airspace. They were really quite pissed at Reggie for wasting thier time and made damned sure they had his name and contact information when they left our interview.

BUT WAIT! It gets better! Yes,Reggie put me on the NO FLY list!!! If you screw with Reggie he will use his power and position of authority in the FAA to get revenge. Yes, I dared to poke fun at him, I dared to question his almighty authority, I dared to be an ass toward him, and he sicks the TSA police on me and puts me on the NO FLY list!

Dear Reggie: Please rest assured that someday you will get what's coming to you. Yes I fucked with you, yes I jerked you around, yes I treated you like the small minded bureaucrat that you are, but sending the TSA after me and adding my name to the NO FLY list was beyond the pale of abuse of power. Your name is one that I will remember until I can even the scales. Getting you fired from the FAA for abuse of power would be my A-#1 top of the line platinum grade revenge, but that is going to take time. I've got lots of time. I won't forget you.