October 1, 2009
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
The Flying Physicians Association (FPA) has become the latest group to lend support to third-class medical reform and urge government officials to speed up their review of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). The NPRM would expand the number of pilots who could fly without needing to obtain a third-class medical certificate, a standard that has been successfully used by sport pilots for a decade.
A survey of flying doctors found that 80 percent favor third class medical reform.
Two tragic accidents that occurred within a week of each other, involved pilot incapacitation at high altitudes.
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