Pilots troubled by TSA Large Aircraft Security Program

October 9, 2008

AOPA has expressed its concern that the Large Aircraft Security Program proposal announced today by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) could have serious implications on general aviation.

“This proposed rule is an unprecedented imposition of security requirements on the general aviation community, affecting 10,000 individual operators and hundreds of airports,” said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. “An overwhelming majority of our members surveyed last week expressed strong concerns about the proposal.”

In the survey, members questioned the limits on personal freedom, financial impacts, and potential implications of the rule for the broader GA community, seeing this as a start for the federal government to regulate all noncommercial operations.

Over the years, AOPA has successfully worked with the TSA to develop security guidance, practices, and procedures for GA that do not place unrealistic or impractical burdens on operations. However, this proposed rule includes a number of initiatives—flight crewmember criminal history records checks, watch list matching of passenger manifests, biennial third party audits of each aircraft operator, and new airport security requirements—that could be problematic for general aviation.

“Our members believe that this proposal presents a potential drain on our nation’s limited financial resources for aviation safety and security that could be better spent improving other areas of our critical infrastructure,” Cebula added.

AOPA will be analyzing the proposal and will comment on behalf of its 415,000 members during the 60-day comment period.