September 6, 2011
By Dan Namowitz
With the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks approaching and aviation security in focus, AOPA urged pilots to review steps to take to stay vigilant, keep their aircraft secure, and report any suspicious activity they observe around the airport.
On Sept. 3, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) issued an advisory in which it said that it continued to monitor reports on potential terrorist threats. “While there is no specific or credible intelligence that al-Qaida or its affiliates are plotting attacks in the United States to coincide with the ten year anniversary of 9/11, we remain at a heightened state of vigilance and security measures are in place to detect and prevent plots against the United States should they emerge,” it said.
The advisory listed 10 steps it encouraged pilots to take to increase security of aircraft and remain alert to unusual persons or activity in the vicinity. It also urged pilots to report any aircraft theft promptly to appropriate authorities and to the TSA’s General Aviation Hotline 866/GA-SECURE (866/427-3287).
“AOPA is reminding the general aviation community to review the security measures contained in this advisory, and the TSA’s Security Guidelines for General Aviation Airports,” said Tom Zecha, AOPA manager of aviation security.
He also urged pilots to participate in AOPA’s Airport Watch program, developed in cooperation with the TSA.
“We can’t stress enough the importance of remaining vigilant, with the increase in attention focused on general aviation security following the issue of the advisory last week,” he said.
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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