AOPA is lobbying the New Jersey legislature to stop the adoption of a redundant photo ID requirement. The bill (A3058) would require that a pilot present government-issued photo identification along with a pilot certificate before renting an aircraft. The aircraft provider would have to keep a copy of that information for five years.
"Checking a photo ID against a pilot certificate is good industry practice, and we recommend that all FBOs do it," said Andy Cebula, AOPA senior vice president of Government and Technical Affairs. "The issue here is the imposition of a state law that's already covered by federal regulation and the establishment of needless record-keeping requirements."
AOPA has explained to New Jersey lawmakers that the bill is unnecessary because current FAA rules and rigorous industry practices regarding aircraft rental already require much more than the bill.
Since October 2002, federal regulations have required pilots to carry government-issued photo identification when flying and to present that photo identification upon request. AOPA petitioned the FAA for that security addition to the regulations.
Any aircraft rental business will make sure a pilot has the proper credentials and flying experience before renting an aircraft that is likely worth $150,000 or more.
AOPA also explained that a bill is currently moving through the U.S. Senate that would direct the FAA to begin issuing new pilot certificates that include a pilot's photo and that are resistant to alteration or counterfeiting. The new certificate also would include biometric data or other unique identifiers to ensure authenticity.
An additional security provision contained in the federal bill would provide businesses that rent airplanes with indirect access, through the Transportation Security Administration, to terrorist watch lists.
October 7, 2004