Congress concerned planes, boats could carry nuclear devices
In a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing on July 16, legislators questioned whether enough nuclear detection efforts were in place to prevent the devices from being smuggled into the country by private vehicles, general aviation aircraft, or small boats.
“Any security measures would need to be transparent,” said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. “They should not be burdensome to GA pilots and should not impair pilots’ ability to enter the country.”
AOPA’s goal on any efforts by the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, Customs and Border Protection, and the Transportation Security Administration is to ensure that GA pilots are not unfairly burdened or singled out.
Charles Galloway, deputy director of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, told the committee that all customs officers have a radiation detection device in hand when meeting a GA aircraft that has crossed the border and is waiting to clear customs. The office is currently working on ways to screen GA aircraft overseas before they enter the United States.
According to customs, about 400 international flights enter the United States each day, most from Canada, Mexico, and Caribbean but some also from overseas.
July 24, 2008