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Homeland Security to issue security alertHomeland Security to issue security alert

The Department of Homeland Security told AOPA late Friday that it will be issuing an alert that al Qaeda may soon again attack "U.S. interests," most likely overseas. There is nothing specific to general aviation, but in a related advisory, the Transportation Security Administration urged pilots to review and follow the AOPA Airport Watch guidelines and remain vigilant.

The TSA advisory says DHS continues to receive high volumes of intelligence about possible terrorist attacks against the United States or U.S. interests overseas. "These significant terrorist related activities have created an atmosphere in which increased vigilance is prudent and may be key to deterring or disrupting terrorist attacks against U.S. interests at home and abroad," the advisory reads.

The current advisory also asks pilots and GA airport personnel to review security precautions outlined in an earlier TSA advisory, and that passenger-carrying GA pilots:

  • Verify identity of all individuals allowed near or on aircraft
  • Search all aircraft prior to loading of cargo to ensure no unauthorized persons are on board
  • Be aware/alert of persons loitering in the vicinity of aircraft or air operations areas—as well as persons loading unusual or unauthorized payload onto aircraft.

For cargo-carrying GA pilots, the advisory recommends:

  • Verify identity of all individuals allowed near or on aircraft
  • Search all aircraft prior to loading of cargo to ensure no unauthorized persons are on board
  • Do not transport persons not required for the safe operations of the flight
  • Search all cargo capable of concealing individuals—pay particular attention to cargo that has unusual holes or openings that may have been installed to allow free flow of air,
  • Be aware/alert of persons loitering in the vicinity of aircraft or air operations areas—as well as persons loading unusual or unauthorized payload onto aircraft.

Anyone who does see any suspicious activity is asked to report it by calling 866/GA-SECURE (866/227-3287), the toll-free hotline instituted by TSA to support AOPA's Airport Watch.

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