Under a federal mandate, the FAA is requesting public input on cockpit security enhancements, such as isolating flight decks with rigid doors and locks, for aircraft with fewer than 19 seats and weighing less than 12,500 pounds. AOPA has already told the FAA that modifications that restrict access to the cockpit or flight controls could be dangerous in smaller GA aircraft. While the security modifications are being contemplated for aircraft used in scheduled Part 135 commuter operations, many of these aircraft are also used in Part 91 operations as well.
AOPA said that modifications (such as removing the co-pilot's seat) would curtail the multi-mission capability of small airplanes that is the lifeblood of most small general aviation businesses. (For example, a light twin may be used to fly a commuter flight in the morning and then be used for flight training in the afternoon.). AOPA will be providing formal comments to the FAA and encourages others to do likewise; the deadline is May 25.