MEMBER ALERT: AOPA Pilot Information Center and Member Services will be closed today, Dec. 12, after 2:30 p.m. Eastern, and will reopen Dec. 13 at 8:30 a.m. Eastern. Thank you for your understanding.
January 28, 2011
By Dan Namowitz
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has announced that the familiar color-coded alerts of the Homeland Security Advisory System (HSAS) will be replaced by a new system to provide better terrorism-threat advisories to the public, government agencies, emergency responders, airports, and other transportation hubs.
The new National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) will be phased in over a 90-day period that began with Napolitano’s Jan. 27 announcement.
Instead of using colors, the revised alerts “will include a clear statement that there is an ‘imminent threat’ or ‘elevated threat.’ The alerts will give “a concise summary of the potential threat, information about actions being taken to ensure public safety, and recommended steps that individuals and communities, businesses and governments can take,” said a Homeland Security Department news release.
In some instances, “alerts will be sent directly to law enforcement or affected areas of the private sector, while in others, alerts will be issued more broadly to the American people through both official and media channels— including a designated DHS webpage, as well as social media channels including Facebook and via Twitter @NTASAlerts.” Alerts will also include a specified end point.
AOPA participated in a briefing on the new system during a Jan. 28 conference call with Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials, and will serve as a resource for the dissemination of information to members on security alerts that affect general aviation.
“AOPA has a strong working relationship with TSA and other departments within Homeland Security. We receive regular briefings on security matters that affect our members and general aviation,” said Craig Spence, AOPA vice president of operations and international affairs. “Hopefully with the revised threat alert system we will be able to build on that relationship to provide general aviation pilots the information they will need to keep our system safe and secure.”
Some commercial airports with TSA jurisdiction may be required to revise their airport security programs under the new alert system.
Napolitano announced the end of the color-coded alerts and the replacement system during a State of America’s Homeland Security address at George Washington University’s Homeland Security Policy Institute.
Advocacy and Legislation,
Transportation Security Administration
AOPA is looking to the Michigan Senate for “refinement” of proposals amended unfavorably in last-minute House action.
The General Aviation Pilot Protection Act would allow pilots to use the driver’s license medical standard for noncommercial VFR flights in aircraft weighing up to 6,000 pounds with no more than six seats, as long as they carry five or fewer passengers, fly below 14,000 feet msl, and fly no faster than 250 knots.
The Civil Aviation Medical Association is objecting to the FAA's proposed sleep apnea policy, warning that the evidence doesn't justify the approach.
AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.