With Saturday's release of the notam restoring most VFR flying in 15 enhanced Class B areas, AOPA sent a special e-mail message to members in the affected areas to make sure they knew they could resume VFR operations this week. AOPA is now dedicating its resources to freeing the remaining areas for VFR operations, including the the New York and Washington temporary flight restriction (TFR). The sticking point is establishing security procedures that are acceptable to the FAA and National Security Council.
That work actually has been under way for several weeks. AOPA developed a set of recommendations (which were publically released last week) following a series of discussions with FAA security representatives. This was timely as an important meeting was held this past Friday, October 12, in which AOPA and several other general aviation groups and state aviation officials met with the FAA to develop appropriate security procedures. "Although the FAA has made it clear they have the ultimate say-so, the security staff has been open to industry recommendations," said AOPA Senior Vice President of Government and Technical Affairs Andy Cebula, who was AOPA's representative at the security meetings. "Many of the security concepts forwarded by AOPA came from our members and Airport Support Network volunteers," Cebula added.
The working ideas coming from Friday's meeting include a requirement that pilots/aircraft owners secure their aircraft against unauthorized use, developing procedures for identifying suspicious behavior and reporting it to appropriate authorities, and concepts for communicating security information and procedures to airport business and users. The FAA has indicated a three-part process for security at general aviation airports, immediate steps to restore flying, mid-term steps that can be implemented over a four- to six-month period, and the long term, implemented in a year or more.