May 11, 2011
By Dan Namowitz
The May 2011 revision of a set of Transportation Security Administration guidelines for commercial airport operators includes a new appendix dedicated to general aviation operations.
AOPA was instrumental in having the GA content added as Appendix D of the TSA’s revised Recommended Security Guidelines for Airport Planning, Design and Construction. The document is applicable to airports with scheduled passenger airline service under Transportation Security Regulation Part 1542.
“Appendix D was added to help commercial service airports accommodate GA operations in a more consistent and uniform manner,” said Tom Zecha, AOPA manager of aviation security.
“GA operations at commercial service airports should be evaluated, designed, and located independently from commercial operations areas as much as practical to minimize potential security conflicts, flight delays, and unnecessary inconveniences to both GA and commercial service operators,” he said.
Imposing commercial designs and procedures on GA “may result in unnecessary restrictions, potentially causing a decline in operations at the airport and a drop in GA activity and revenues,” Zecha added.
The two-page appendix discusses such topics as secure-area boundaries, ramp security, lighting, based aircraft, and signage. It recommends wording for signs that could include “warnings against trespassing, unauthorized use of aircraft and tampering with aircraft, and reporting of suspicious activity, i.e., AOPA’s Airport Watch and ‘See Something, Say Something.’ Signage should include phone numbers of the nearest responding law enforcement agency, 9-1-1, and/or TSA’s 1-866-GA-SECURE, whichever is appropriate.”
An AOPA Airport Watch sign is used as an illustration in the revised document.
Dan Namowitz is an aviation writer and flight instructor. He has been a pilot since 1985 and an instructor since 1990.
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