With the holiday travel season in full swing, AOPA has partnered with aviation officials in Massachusetts and Tennessee to remind pilots that they are important players in the effort to secure general aviation airports.
"For the GA community to live up to the billing the Government Accountability Office (GAO) gave us in its recent report on GA security, all pilots and airport personnel are going to need to be aware of and active participants in the Airport Watch program," said Andy Cebula, AOPA senior vice president of Government and Technical Affairs. "That's why, in addition to all of AOPA's own outreach efforts, we've teamed up with state officials in Massachusetts and Tennessee."
In Massachusetts, AOPA and the Massachusetts Aeronautics Commission sent letters to every pilot in the state, urging them to wear their state-issued ID cards when moving about the airport environment and to take an active part in AOPA's Airport Watch.
"During these extraordinary times, it's important that general aviation pilots like you take the initiative to show that pilots can, and will, foster security at our GA airports," said the joint letter.
Working with Tennessee's Office of Homeland Security, AOPA wrote a letter to airport managers, urging them to promote Airport Watch. The letters, signed by AOPA President Phil Boyer, were hand-delivered by members of Tennessee's Civil Air Patrol Wing at the request of the state's director of Homeland Security.
Promoting Airport Watch, Boyer wrote, "can help protect your airport, your community, and our country. Creating a nationwide program, and a successful statewide initiative, starts with people like you. So, please encourage participation by reviewing and sharing the [Airport Watch training] items I've sent you."
The Airport Watch program was developed by AOPA in conjunction with the federal Transportation Security Administration, which provides a nationwide toll-free hotline (866/GA-SECUR) for pilots to report suspicious activity.
December 21, 2004