June 18, 2009
By 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.”
As the cold weather chills AOPA’s Headquarters in Frederick, many of us are inside generating new resources for flying clubs.
In my house, every Friday night is “Movie Night.” While the movies are rarely educational (I don’t think I learned anything from the Lego Movie), we look forward to the weekly opportunity to spend time together. Why not use the same concept for your Flying Club (with the addition of education, of course)?
AOPA Flying Club Manager Kelby Ferwerda posted the following on the AOPA Flying Club Facebook Page: “Recently I’ve talked with quite a few Flying Clubs about maintaining social activity through the cold winter months. Some clubs host Holliday Parties, others have Potluck Movie Nights. What does your club do to keep members involved during the chilly months?”
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