March 15, 2010
By Sarah Brown
The Transportation Security Administration consulted general aviation organizations about security initiatives March 9 and 10 in the first meeting of a working group created to increase industry involvement in GA security.
The general aviation security working group, a part of the TSA’s Aviation Security Advisory Committee, was created in September 2009 to increase industry involvement in the development of GA security measures. At the group’s first meeting, representatives from AOPA and other GA organizations met with TSA staff to discuss the group’s major areas of concern about TSA initiatives: interagency issues, credentials and access to airports, temporary flight restrictions (TFRs), grants to improve airport security, and incident management.
“The working group gives the TSA the opportunity to hear from representatives of a wide swath of general aviation—including national associations as well as corporate flight departments, ag pilots, and businesses such as NetJets,” said AOPA Vice President of Operations and International Affairs Craig Spence, who attended the meeting and participated in the focus group about interagency issues. “Industry feedback can help the TSA develop security policies that don’t impose an undue burden on general aviation.”
TSA Assistant Administrator for Transportation Security Network Management (TSNM) John Sammon and TSA General Manager for General Aviation Brian Delauter led the working group discussion, which included representatives from industry groups and staff from the TSNM office. The participants then split into smaller groups to discuss what the working group identified as its top five issues: interagency issues, credentials and access to airports, TFRs, grants to improve airport security, and incident management.
In the discussion of TFRs, AOPA Manager of Security and Borders Brittney Miculka emphasized the need for outreach and feedback after a TFR of a long duration such as the one over Hawaii in December. GA groups emphasized the economic impact of TFRs and the need for mitigation strategies, so that trusted pilots and businesses can still operate during the restrictions.
Each focus group will develop recommendations from their discussions, which it will submit to the working group, its parent committee, and the TSA.
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.
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