Members of the Civil Air Patrol's (CAP) Minnesota Wing are teaming up with AOPA to enhance security at airports in Minnesota, using the association's proven Airport Watch Program.
"Airport Watch is modeled after the highly successful neighborhood watch programs already in place across the United States," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "Our local airports are like neighborhoods, and the people who are there regularly—pilots, airport employees, and managers—know what's normal and, more importantly, what's not."
"And that's where our CAP members come in," said Maj. Alan Matson, commander of Minnesota Wing's Group 2. "Let's be clear—there is not a security problem at our airports, but CAP has a homeland security mission, and making it even more obvious that we're paying attention at our airports through the Airport Watch Program is a good way to deter anyone with bad intent. With CAP helping spread the word about AOPA's Airport Watch, we are truly working together to secure the future of general aviation."
AOPA developed Airport Watch in direct response to the September 11, 2001, terror attacks as a way to enhance security at America's 19,000 general aviation landing facilities while the federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA) dealt with the more pressing problem of security at the 600 airports serviced by airlines. TSA recognized the value of Airport Watch, making it an integral part of its "Guidelines for Security at General Aviation Airports."
The Airport Watch Program calls on the 618,000 pilots in the United States to watch for any unusual or suspicious activity at their local airports, and report it either to local law enforcement or to a special toll-free hotline established by the TSA as part of the program: 866/GA-SECUR[E] (427-3287).
December 13, 2005