MEMBER ALERT: AOPA will be closing at 1:45 p.m. Eastern on Dec. 6 and will reopen at 8:30 a.m. Eastern on Dec. 9.
May 9, 2003
The Department of Homeland Security yesterday issued an alert, warning that al Qaeda terrorists may once again be planning coordinated attacks using airliners, this time focusing on foreign air carriers that may be operating near or transiting U.S. airspace. Although the alert makes no mention of general aviation aircraft, AOPA is calling on GA pilots to continue to pay special attention to their airports' security.
"It's imperative that we do our part," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "The Airport Watch program offers tips on what to watch for and a nationwide toll-free hotline (866/GA-SECURE) for reporting suspicious activities."
The DHS alert also warns that al Qaeda may be contemplating types of attacks it has not used before against soft targets in the United States, saying, "Operatives still at large view attacks on U.S. territory as a priority and that they continue to pursue a range of targets, tactics, and capabilities to accomplish this objective."
"Even though the alert does not mention general aviation, the threat to soft targets should raise the concern of every citizen," said Boyer. Among the sorts of soft targets mentioned in al Qaeda operational plans are apartment complexes, gas stations, and restaurants.
"We can make GA aircraft and airports less desirable as targets or potential weapons simply by following the Airport Watch advice and being friendly, inquisitive, and watchful."
Advocacy and Legislation,
A House bill that would force FAA to go through the rulemaking process before imposing new policies for sleep disorders has passed a key committee.
The House has passed a bill requiring the TSA to consult stakeholders, including general aviation representatives, before making major changes to security policy.
Senators are demanding a written response from the Department of Homeland Security about unwarranted stops of general aviation aircraft by DHS and Customs and Border Protection.
AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.