January 22, 2003
The U.S. Senate this afternoon confirmed White House Director of Homeland Security Tom Ridge to serve as the first head of the newly created Cabinet-level Homeland Security Department. The vote was 94-0.
The most immediate effect of his confirmation on general aviation is that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will soon move out of the Department of Transportation and into the non-transportation-oriented Homeland Security Department.
"Over the past year, AOPA has developed good working relationships with Governor Ridge and with Admiral [James] Loy, who heads the TSA, and we hope they will continue," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "But one of our most important tasks during this time of transition will be to make sure that the new agency doesn't lose sight of its transportation responsibilities as it works to improve security."
AOPA also has a working relationship with Asa Hutchinson, whom President Bush has nominated to serve as the under secretary of Border and Transportation Security, from his days in Congress on the House aviation subcommittee. In his new role, Hutchinson would oversee the TSA.
The AOPA Medical Advisory Board is the latest group to urge quick action on the proposed FAA rule that would allow thousands more pilots to fly without the need for a third class medical certificate.
Mexico has lifted a requirement that pilots of arriving and departing private general aviation flights use a third party provider to file advance passenger information system (APIS) manifests.
The Perlan Project is less than a year away from the first flight of a glider being built to ride waves near the edge of space. While construction continues in Oregon, the team’s pilots are staying proficient in more ordinary aircraft.
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