AOPA's Airport Watch

Look Out—Secure Your Airport

Look Out

Here's what to look out for:

  • Anyone trying to access an aircraft through force—without keys, using a crowbar or screwdriver.
  • Anyone unfamiliar with aviation procedures trying to check out an aircraft.
  • Anyone who misuses aviation lingo—or seems too eager to use all the lingo.
  • People or groups determined to keep to themselves.
  • Anyone who appears to be just loitering, with no specific reason for being there.
  • Out-of-the-ordinary videotaping of aircraft or hangars
  • Dangerous cargo or loads—explosives, chemicals, openly displayed weapons—being loaded into an aircraft.
  • Anything that strikes you as wrong—listen to your gut instinct, and then follow through
  • Pay special attention to height, weight, and the individual's clothing or other identifiable traits.

Provide details: Be specific in details whenever you report something amiss to authorities. Generalized concerns (e.g., "That guy looked shifty to me.") may not carry the appropriate sense of urgency. Be alert, report aircraft with unusual or obviously unauthorized modifications, and people or groups who seem determined to keep to themselves.

Details carry weight: "I'm at the Anytown Municipal Airport and just saw something dangerous loaded into a tan-and-orange airplane with tail number N1234. The pilot seems to be intimidated by his passengers; the passengers are keeping out of sight. I think something bad is about to happen." Pay attention to height, weight, clothing, or other identifiable traits.

Never approach someone you fear may be about to commit an illegal act or crime. Make some notes, such as the person's appearance, clothing, car license plate, type of aircraft, N number, and coloring. If appropriate, take a picture, but keep your distance if the situation seems hostile. If you can't safely contact authorities or the airport management without exposing yourself to risk, leave the field or go to your car and talk on your cell phone. It could be your best weapon in fighting airport crime.

Together we can make general aviation an unattractive option to terrorist or criminals!

Participate with your fellow pilots in the safekeeping of general aviation's local neighborhoods—our home airports. Report suspicious activity to 866/GA-SECURE (866/427-3287).

Learn more about using this phone number.