Chicago gets no-fly zone to protect Sears Tower
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- There is now a no-fly zone over downtown Chicago ordered by the Federal Aviation Administration.
The ban applies to private planes whose pilots do not file flight plans and who rely on visual flight rules rather than instrument guidance, including news helicopters and banner-towing planes.
Such flights are no longer allowed below 3,000 feet in a semicircle extending 1.5 miles east of the Sears Tower.
Chicago Mayor Richard Daley had requested that the federal government institute a no-fly zone of at least five miles to protect the Sears Tower, the nation's tallest building.
Chicago Aviation Department Spokesman Monique Bond said the city would continue negotiating with the FAA to extend the ban.
"It's just not enough," she told CNN Wednesday, expressing concern that the ban does not protect other Chicago landmarks along Lake Michigan such as Wrigley Field, the Navy Pier or Comiskey Park.
"A lot of tourists, citizens and residents who live in high rise buildings along the lakefront are not protected, and that's what we are fighting for," Bond said, adding that the mayor had originally advocated instituting a no-fly zone of 25 miles around O'Hare Airport.
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, representing general aviation pilots, said the Chicago no-fly zone did not pose a significant inconvenience on planes or private-use airports.
"Meigs Field remains open, as does the important VFR fly-way along the Lake Michigan shoreline."
The Chicago flight restrictions are in effect until further notice, FAA officials say.
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