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Pilots -- be alert for suspicious activity as busy flying season beginsPilots -- be alert for suspicious activity as busy flying season begins

Pilots - be alert for suspicious activity as busy flying season begins

AOPA's Airport Watch

As the flying season kicks into high gear, general aviation airports become a hubbub of activity, particularly during long holidays like Memorial Day weekend and the Fourth of July. During this increased activity, remember to be alert for anything suspicious.

AOPA's Airport Watch Program provides a security checklist of suspicious activities, a toll-free hotline to report questionable activity, and a guide that shows you how to secure your aircraft. You can also get educational materials, including brochures, decals, posters, and warning signs for your home airport, along with a security training video.

AOPA partnered with the Transportation Security Administration to offer the nationwide Airport Watch Program, modeled after the effective neighborhood watch program. Airports are small communities in which everybody knows one another, making it easier to spot someone or something that doesn't belong. Using this program can help keep general aviation airports secure without the addition of needless and expensive security requirements.

If you see something suspicious at your airport, call the Airport Watch hotline 866/GA-SECUR[E]. You can help law enforcement officials who respond to your call by reporting as many specific details as possible - the person's height and weight, type of vehicle, license plate number, type of activity, and more. If immediate action is needed, call 911.

Pilots can help protect their airports by securing their own aircraft. Lock the doors; use propeller, control, and throttle locks; and don't leave any keys hidden around the aircraft or hangar.

Safe flying starts on the ground. Protecting your airport and aircraft is one way to help keep general aviation safe and secure.

May 26, 2005

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