July 26, 2002
Some key members of Congress are saying general aviation is not a threat to national security. In a hearing this week on the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Fritz Hollings (D-S.C.) opened by stating that general aviation is not a threat. He said the danger remains in commercial aviation. Meanwhile, Senator George Allen (R-Va.) asked Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta why there was still no plan to reopen the Washington, D.C.-area airports to general aviation. And he urged new TSA chief Adm. James Loy to protect GA access for all aviators.
In a House TSA hearing, Representative Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) asked Mineta about the reopening of National Airport to GA. Sec. Mineta was vague in his response on the timetable saying, "It's bigger than a breadbasket, but smaller than a house." He claimed specific intelligence concerns that could not be brought up in an open session. When later asked to explain the DOT's approach with general aviation by Representative Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Sec. Mineta responded by acknowledging the importance of GA to the country. He added that the problem is in explaining to those directly responsible with security, such as the Secret Service, the National Security Council, and Homeland Defense, that some of the regulations are too restrictive and negatively impacting many people.
Advocacy and Legislation,
Transportation Security Administration,
A federal agency chartered to secure national borders has been working inland, targeting general aviation with no clear authority.
The board of Pennsylvania’s Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority will wait 120 days before making a final decision to close Braden Airport, citing community concerns.
Sometimes in politics, the good news is that bad news won’t happen. Thanks to AOPA, antique aircraft collectors and aviation employers in Louisiana dodged legislative bullets that would have raised the costs of aircraft ownership or of doing business.