The Transportation Security Administration has adopted a new security screening program to catch explosives, incendiaries, weapons, and other prohibited items at direct access points to air carrier airports, including general aviation access points.
The program is called Aviation Direct Access Screening, and it involves random checks aimed at finding prohibited items intended to be smuggled on board commercial aircraft. Some of the larger air carrier airports have been doing random screening checks since October, but all air carrier airports will do so in the near future.
"AOPA has met with the TSA to discuss what this means for general aviation," said AOPA Rob Hackman, AOPA director of security and regulatory policy. "While GA access points will be randomly checked with all other points of entry, GA is not being targeted."
AOPA was informed that TSA inspectors understand that GA operates differently than the airlines. The TSA will not prevent GA pilots from carrying items in their aircraft that may be prohibited on airline flights - they are just attempting to ensure that those items do not end up on commercial aircraft. AOPA continues to watch the situation and asks that members report any issues that they incur if they encounter security screening in the future.
December 28, 2006