Pilot vigilance needed during presidential transition

December 4, 2008

AOPA's Airport WatchThe recent tragic events in India (where local citizens noted suspicious activity) and a reported subway threat to New York underscore the possibility of a terrorist attack on the United States. Both terror attacks on the World Trade Center and the attacks on the bus and subway system in London happened shortly after new administrations came into power.

“This is a time for all Americans to exercise heightened vigilance,” said Craig Spence, AOPA vice president of security. “General aviation pilots already have a program in place that they can follow— AOPA’s Airport Watch.”

Airport Watch is modeled after the effective Neighborhood Watch program. It encourages pilots to “Look Out. Lock Up,” meaning lock their aircraft and hangars and watch for suspicious activity at the airport.

AOPA partnered with the Transportation Security Administration to offer Airport Watch, which has a toll-free alert line (866/GA-SECURE) that pilots can call to report anything suspicious.

“Pilots and airport personnel are in the best position to be able to spot and report something or someone that just doesn’t belong in the airport environment,” said Spence. “Complacency during this period of heightened awareness can be our biggest enemy.”

For more tips on how you can help with airport security, take AOPA’s “General Aviation Security” interactive online course.