Restricting air traffic over Kentucky's State Capitol Building in Frankfort is unwarranted and unnecessary, AOPA told Kentucky Sen. Julian M. Carroll, the sponsor of a resolution to examine flight paths to Capital City Airport in Frankfort and restrict air traffic around the state's capitol grounds. Carroll claims that terrorists might target areas outside urban centers in the United States.
"Fortunately, there is neither a credible threat nor an ongoing security concern posed by general aviation to support this speculation," said Andy Cebula, AOPA senior vice president of government and technical affairs.
"Turning Frankfort into a 'no fly zone' would effectively—and unnecessarily—close the Capital City Airport, ground law abiding GA pilots, and cut off the economic benefits the airport provides to the surrounding area."
AOPA reminded Carroll that the U.S. government determined GA does not pose a significant threat.
"In November 2004, the federal government recognized in a Government Accountability Office report on GA security that the small size, lack of fuel capacity, and minimal destructive power make GA aircraft unattractive to terrorists," Cebula said.
The GA industry has taken many voluntary steps to enhance security at airports by performing ID checks, improving fencing, stationing law enforcement officials at the airport, and using AOPA's Airport Watch Program.
"AOPA, in cooperation with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has implemented the Airport Watch Program, enlisting the help of the more than 650,000 GA pilots to watch for and report suspicious activities at the nation's airports," Cebula said. "Early next year we will be mailing updated Airport Watch materials to pilots."
Airports are like small neighborhoods, so anything out of the ordinary raises a red flag. In addition to being vigilant, pilots also secure their aircraft from theft and personally know the passengers they carry onboard their aircraft, making it difficult for terrorists to use a GA aircraft.
December 15, 2005