August 9, 2005
Each aviator, aircraft owner, and airport manager is responsible for airport security. That's why AOPA and the Connecticut Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security have partnered to reinforce this message to the state's pilots and airport managers. But this message applies to all pilots all across the country.
In a letter mailed today (Friday), AOPA President Phil Boyer and James Thomas from the Connecticut Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security reminded Connecticut pilots that, "It is up to all of us to monitor our surroundings and look for ways we can prevent negative events from happening. We each need to do our part to diminish the concerns that every small airplane and small airport could be a terrorist threat."
AOPA and the state have endorsed two simple security procedures that will enhance airport security: Securely lock your aircraft (ask others to do the same) and use AOPA's Airport Watch Program.
Airport Watch is modeled after the successful Neighborhood Watch Program - pilots know their airport as well as their neighborhood and can immediately spot any suspicious activity.
"AOPA's Airport Watch relies on civic-minded pilots like you to be alert to any suspicious activity at local airports, and report any irregularities," wrote Boyer and Thomas. "If you see any suspicious activity around your airport, the federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has established a toll-free reporting number (866/GA-SECUR[E]) answered by live specialists at the TSA." (See AOPA's Security Checklist for examples of possible types of suspicious activity.)
Pilots also will receive an Airport Watch brochure and decal in the mail with their letter. In the future, AOPA will be providing Connecticut airport managers with security training tapes along with warning signs and posters. Airport managers should invite based pilots to watch the video and discuss other community- and government-based efforts to secure their airport.
"During these extraordinary times, it's important that general aviation pilots like you take the initiative to show that pilots can, and will, foster security at our GA airports," concluded Boyer and Thomas.
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