AOPA has told the FAA it is strongly opposed to requiring "hijack" transponders in general aviation aircraft. Following the 9/11 terrorist hijackings, the FAA is proposing that airliners be equipped with transponders that would permit the pilot to send the "hijack" code by pushing one button. And once the code is activated, the pilot couldn't turn it off in the air. The agency has asked for comments about extending that requirement to general aviation. AOPA says that's too expensive and unneeded.
If the proposal were to include GA, it would require replacing all of today's transponders.
"Unlike commercial air carrier operations, GA pilots know the passengers on board and what they are carrying," said Melissa K. Bailey, AOPA vice president. "Also, GA aircraft are used for personal and business transportation, just like an automobile, and the nature of these operations makes the application of this rule to Part 91 operations unnecessary." The FAA has extended the public comment period for the proposed rule until April 18, 2003. For more information, see the notice of proposed rulemaking.