President Phil Boyer and Administrator Marion Blakey
The FAA has finally adopted AOPA's pilot ID petition. In order to provide a simple, inexpensive means to positively identify pilots, AOPA asked the FAA in February to change the rules to require pilots to carry a government-issued photo ID along with their pilot certificate.
Today at AOPA Expo 2002 in Palm Springs, California, FAA Administrator Marion Blakey announced that the final rule to make that change will take effect Monday, October 28, 2002.
"AOPA proposed this solution, and we're going right along with it," said Blakey. "We think this is good."
"This is great news," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "Since the September 11 attacks, the need for pilots to carry a picture ID has continued to surface in many security discussions. With the approval of AOPA's petition, this positive measure to enhance security throughout the general aviation community has become a reality."
The FAA acted on AOPA's petition at the direct request of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which asked for immediate adoption. The FAA agreed, finding adoption "necessary to assist in preventing hazards to aircraft, persons, and property within the United States."
In most cases, the photo ID would be a current state-issued driver's license, government ID card, or passport. Every state has a photo on the driver's license and offers a non-driver's license photo identification, according to AOPA research. Since most pilots have to have a driver's license to get to the airport and because the FAA already requires pilot applicants to produce positive ID at time of application, AOPA's petition does not place any additional burden on pilots.
AOPA filed the petition on February 28 as a way to meet the intent of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA), enacted on November 19, 2001. That law requires the under secretary of Transportation to consider a requirement for a photo ID pilot certificate. But as AOPA pointed out in its petition, there are currently some 630,000 active pilots in the United States plus an additional 530,000 people holding non-pilot airmen certificates, meaning it could take the FAA years to implement a photo ID system at the cost of millions of dollars. AOPA's petition meets the intent of ATSA and is less costly and quicker to implement.
"General aviation pilots have always been willing to help in the national security effort," said AOPA's Boyer. "This is a simple step that hurts no one and helps everyone."
With some 387,000 members, AOPA is the world's largest civil aviation organization, working to protect the interests of general aviation. Nearly two thirds of all U.S. pilots are members of AOPA.