July 24, 2008
In a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing on July 16, legislators questioned whether enough nuclear detection efforts were in place to prevent the devices from being smuggled into the country by private vehicles, general aviation aircraft, or small boats.
“Any security measures would need to be transparent,” said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. “They should not be burdensome to GA pilots and should not impair pilots’ ability to enter the country.”
AOPA’s goal on any efforts by the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, Customs and Border Protection, and the Transportation Security Administration is to ensure that GA pilots are not unfairly burdened or singled out.
Charles Galloway, deputy director of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, told the committee that all customs officers have a radiation detection device in hand when meeting a GA aircraft that has crossed the border and is waiting to clear customs. The office is currently working on ways to screen GA aircraft overseas before they enter the United States.
According to customs, about 400 international flights enter the United States each day, most from Canada, Mexico, and Caribbean but some also from overseas.
Advocacy and Legislation
AOPA is looking to the Michigan Senate for “refinement” of proposals amended unfavorably in last-minute House action.
The General Aviation Pilot Protection Act would allow pilots to use the driver’s license medical standard for noncommercial VFR flights in aircraft weighing up to 6,000 pounds with no more than six seats, as long as they carry fewer than five passengers, fly below 14,000 feet msl, and fly no faster than 250 knots.
The Civil Aviation Medical Association is objecting to the FAA's proposed sleep apnea policy, warning that the evidence doesn't justify the approach.
AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.