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AOPA works to prevent states from enacting onerous security measuresAOPA works to prevent states from enacting onerous security measures

AOPA works to prevent states from enacting onerous security measures
Burden to prevent restrictions rests on pilots

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AOPA's staff, including the Association's 13 regional representatives, is spending countless hours meeting with state officials to explain current general aviation security programs and guidelines in an effort to stave off new onerous restrictions. But a careless pilot or an unsecured aircraft or airport can squash all those efforts.

""AOPA is the voice of more than 400,000 pilots and aircraft owners, but that voice can't be heard until each of the 400,000 members actively works to ensure that his or her local airport and aircraft are secured and that the pilots in that area are well informed," said Roger Cohen, AOPA vice president of regional affairs.

This year alone, AOPA has worked with more than a dozen states—from Florida and Illinois to rural Iowa—to prevent new or burdensome state-specific security requirements.

AOPA educates the states about the Transportation Security Administration's " Security Guidelines for General Aviation Airports" and AOPA's Airport Watch Program that are already in place at airports across the country.

Among the proposals states have considered in addressing GA security include:

  • The Florida legislature introduced a bill that would give the state's Department of Law Enforcement oversight of GA airport security.
  • An Iowa bill would have required a review of aviation security to determine if more stringent measures are needed to prevent aircraft from being used for terrorist attacks.
  • A New York lawmaker tried to prohibit anybody less than 17 years old from operating an aircraft or applying for a pilot certificate.
  • A New Jersey legislator proposed to require flight training applicants to be fingerprinted and have background checks.
  • Legislation in Maryland would have established a task force to examine security issues regarding GA airports, including the monitoring of flight schools and the recording of operations at GA airports.

"AOPA has been at the forefront of making sure these measures did not advance or did not impose unreasonable and unnecessary new burdens on our members. But it's going to take pilots following airspace restrictions, locking their aircraft, and using AOPA's Airport Watch program and common sense to help demonstrate to government officials that GA truly is not a threat," Cohen said.

July 22, 2005

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