June 18, 2009
AOPA ePublishing Staff
In the wake of a Long Beach, Calif., incident in which a pilot and his passengers were ramp checked at gunpoint by local law enforcement officers and Customs and Border Protection officials, AOPA has reached out to customs to prevent a repeat.
“Having weapons drawn at the ready without just cause is extreme,” said AOPA Vice President of Regulatory Affairs Craig Spence. “Customs has indicated that this type of ramp check is atypical and that pilots do not need to worry about similar forceful inspections.”
Pilots could, however, notice an increase in routine ramp checks at airports along the southwestern U.S. border. The Obama administration released a new National Southwest Border Counternarcotics Strategy June 15 to reduce drug trafficking and the flow of cash and weapons across the border. The initiative applies to air, maritime, and ground transportation.
AOPA also is working with customs to ensure that general aviation passenger manifests collected through its Electronic Advance Passenger Information System (eAPIS) are not used beyond the intended scope of terrorist watch list matching.
“AOPA will continue to work with the Department of Homeland Security and customs to find practical and workable alternatives to enhance security that do not unduly restrict GA operations,” Spence said. “In the meantime, we encourage pilots to continue with their planned international flights.”
MVP Aero is developing a $189,000 light sport amphibious seaplane that doubles as a camper and is expected to fly in 18 months, with deliveries in 2017.
The FAA will miss a deadline to reform aircraft certification by two years, the agency told the House Aviation Subcommittee during a July 23 hearing.
AOPA is testing whether aircraft ownership can be more affordable than many people believe with the development of “Reimagined Aircraft.”
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