South Dakota Pilot Action Alert

February 26, 2002

South Dakota Pilot Action Alert

The issue: Pilot photo identification requirements in South Dakota

Despite AOPA's objection, the governor of South Dakota has signed Senate Bill 32. This bill gives the authority for the state to replace current paper pilot registration certificates with a South Dakota Department of Transportation (SDDOT)-issued certificate that includes photo identification. In addition, the South Dakota Aeronautics Commission may develop rules for the display of the certificate while on an airport.

Why it's important

A meeting with SDDOT staff and aeronautics commissioners will be held March 5, 2002, at 9 a.m. at the Ramada Inn in Aberdeen to discuss concerns and comments regarding this issue. AOPA will be on hand to provide input; however, we also encourage South Dakota members to offer their insights to this proposal. The purpose of this meeting will be to gather information on the pilot identification requirements and for the implementation of the second part of the legislation requiring photo identification badges for airport employees, employees of a fixed-based operator and charter service at all airports in the state, not just those airports served by airlines as required by FAR Part 107.

What to say

  • A simple and more logical approach to pilot photo identification would be to utilize already state-issued driver's licenses or identification cards rather than to create new cards that will be a burden to administer and for pilots to obtain.
  • A requirement in the new Aviation Transportation Security Act, Public Law 107-71, provides that the federal government should consider whether to require all pilot licenses to incorporate a photograph of the license holder. A requirement to address this particular South Dakota issue may be implemented on a national level.
  • AOPA has filed a petition for rulemaking with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to implement on a national level a requirement for pilots to carry a form of photo identification. Issues such as pilot requirements should be left to the federal government to administer; individual state involvement threatens federal jurisdiction in these matters, creating varying requirements from state to state.
  • Any requirements for general aviation airport security should be left to the federal government to administer. AOPA has been working with the FAA and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to implement comprehensive and workable suggestions on GA security at a national level.
  • Implementation of procedures for the display of a SDDOT photo pilot certification card does not adequately address security for transient and out-of-state pilots, nor does it address requirements for pilots who may temporarily base their aircraft at a state airport. Again, a more logical approach should be taken on a national level.
  • Questions should be posed to state officials by what means they plan on implementing badges for all airport and FBO employees. Who will check these badges? Will there be any distinction in the requirements for badges at larger airports and smaller airports, where people are more likely to recognize and personally know airport employees? Who will be responsible for stopping or challenging an individual who does not possess an airport badge? What measure of increased security will be gained by requiring badges for airport employees at a small general aviation airport? What federal statutory authority authorizes the state to implement a system of badges at airports not served by airlines? Is there any way that a procedure could be developed to take advantage of an already issued state identification, at significantly less expense to the state?

Who to contact

  • Contact the Governor of South Dakota: Governor William Janklow, 500 E. Capitol Ave., Pierre, SD 57501-5070.
  • Contact the SDDOT Office of Air, Rail, and Transit, 700 East Broadway Ave., Pierre, SD 57501-2586; fax 605/773-3921.
  • Contact the Chairman of the South Dakota Aeronautics Commission: Harley Taylor, 1323 S Dakota St., Aberdeen, SD 57401-7223.
  • Send a copy to AOPA. If you mail, fax, or e-mail your views on this issue, please do send a copy AOPA State Legislative Affairs, 421 Aviation Way, Frederick, MD 21701; fax 301/695-2214 .

February 26, 2002