Senate passes bill that includes photo pilot certificates

July 10, 2004

Senate passes bill that includes photo pilot certificates
AOPA still questions implementation timetable

N.J. ID requirement redundant

AOPA is lobbying to stop a redundant photo ID requirement in New Jersey. The proposed bill is unnecessary because current FAA rules and rigorous industry practices regarding aircraft rental already require much more than the New Jersey law.   Read more...

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday night passed the National Intelligence Reform Act (S. 2845) by a 96-2 vote. The bill would implement several aviation security recommendations from the 9/11 Commission report. It also includes a directive to the FAA to start issuing pilot certificates that include a photo ID within six months after the bill becomes law.

That provision is nearly identical to a Senate Commerce Committee bill passed late last month.

While AOPA supports including a pilot's photo on the pilot certificate, the association maintains that it is unrealistic to expect the FAA to gear up to provide the new certificates within the time allowed.

An intelligence reform bill also is moving through the House, but it does not include photo pilot certificates.

AOPA continues to work closely with Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), who offered the amendment on photo certificates.

"Senator Rockefeller is sensitive to the concerns of general aviation pilots, and that's reflected in the changes he's made in his amendment that encourage the FAA to use designees, such as aviation medical examiners in the process of issuing a photo pilot certificate," said Andy Cebula, AOPA senior vice president of Government and Technical Affairs. "However, we still have reservations about rushing implementation of a photo pilot certificate and the impact that could have on pilots."

AOPA is working with Congress and the FAA to ensure that the process for obtaining a photo doesn't impose an unreasonable burden on pilots.

Another part of the amendment would allow entities that rent or charter aircraft to have TSA check client names against terrorist watch lists. Taking into account concerns raised by AOPA, that provision was modified to apply only to aircraft weighing more than 12,500 pounds. Under the revised amendment, the secretary of Homeland Security would be directed to develop a report on the feasibility of extending the authority for making the request to companies providing smaller aircraft for rent.

Update: October 8, 2004