General aviation pilots must do their part to properly secure their aircraft and airports. An airport near Fort Payne, Alabama, Wednesday night learned the hard way that one open gate and one unlocked aircraft can fuel nonpilots' curiosity about how airplanes operate.
"The majority of members are familiar with AOPA's Airport Watch Program," said AOPA President Phil Boyer, "and what happened in Alabama is a reminder to be more vigilant and conscious about properly securing airports and aircraft."
AOPA's Airport Watch Program provides recommendations on how to secure your aircraft. Lock the doors, and don't leave any keys inside or hidden around the aircraft or hangar. Pilots can take other security precautions by keeping their aircraft in a locked hangar or by using external locks if the aircraft must be tied down outside.
Educational materials, including brochures, decals, posters, warning signs for your home airport, and a security training video can help keep your airport a safe learning environment for pilots and nonpilots alike.
An Airport Watch toll-free hotline 866/GA-SECUR[E] is available for you to report questionable activity. The number should be used only to report suspicious activity, not for general questions about the program.
AOPA partnered with the Transportation Security Administration to offer the nationwide Airport Watch Program, which is modeled after the effective neighborhood watch program. Using this program can help keep GA airports secure without the addition of needless and expensive security requirements.
More helpful security tips are available through Airport Watch that describe suspicious activities to watch for at your airport.
June 17, 2005