Perception: General aviation creates vulnerabilities in the aviation security system.
Reality: General aviation is a close-knit community that takes the security of its aircraft and airports very seriously.
The FAA has established an international notice to airmen (NOTAM) requiring that any U.S.-registered aircraft crossing the border file a flight plan, transmit (“squawk”) a discrete transponder code, and remain in two-way communication with air traffic control (ATC). Foreign-registered aircraft must follow these requirements as well as file a waiver with the TSA.
General aviation is a safe, secure, and important component of the United States transportation system. The use of a general aviation aircraft would likely be considered impractical and quickly dismissed by a terrorist. With the many layers of security and vigilance in place, it is unlikely that a terrorist would choose to use a private aircraft, especially with it small payload capacity. More popular alternatives that would not require special training, such as personal car, truck, RV, boat or rental vehicle, are each capable of carrying a larger payload, offer much less hassle, less reporting, and communication requirements.
AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.