October 1, 2009
By AOPA ePublishing staff
The Transportation Security Administration could have to clear a checkpoint, so to speak, if Congress gets its way.
Reps. John Mica (R-Fla.), Tom Petri (R-Wis.), Allen Boyd (D-Fla.), Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich.), and Sam Graves (R-Mo.) introduced a bill Sept. 30 that would modify the TSA’s authority to issue security directives (SDs) using emergency procedures.
An SD can be issued without notice or public input. In emergency cases, the TSA administrator can issue an SD even without giving notice or the opportunity to comment to the Department of Transportation secretary.
The bill would amend the U.S. Code so that the TSA couldn’t issue an SD immediately. Instead the TSA would need to have the SD reviewed by the Transportation Security Oversight Board “to determine if the regulation or security directive is needed to respond to an imminent threat of finite duration.”
It also would require the TSA to consider whether the cost of the SD would be “excessive in relation to the enhancement of security,” whether it would remain in effect for more than 90 days, and if it would require revision after 90 days. And any SD that would be in effect for more than 180 days would be required to go through the rulemaking process.
If the bill were to be enacted into law, Security Directive 1542-04-08G (SD-8G), which requires pilots based at commercial-service airports to get a badge in order to have unescorted access to the airport, would have to go through the rulemaking process. And that would give pilots the opportunity to comment and help change the directive.
The SD emergency process came under scrutiny earlier this year when the TSA issued SD-8G’s predecessor, 8F, without prior knowledge or input from the aviation community.
Department of Transportation,
Safety and Education
AOPA expressed concern in a meeting with town officials from East Hampton, New York, that restrictions proposed to curb airport noise “overwhelmingly” generated by transient commercial flights would unfairly burden traditional airport users.
The FAA on Feb. 23 issued a special airworthiness information bulletin recommending preflight inspection of Robinson R44 and R44 II main rotors.
Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) talks about the Pilots Bill of Rights II, which includes a provision to allow private pilots to fly an aircraft with up to six seats, weighing up to 6,000 pounds, VFR or IFR, without a third class medical certificate. The bill also reforms the NOTAM system, and provides more legal protections for pilots accused of regulatory infractions.
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