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TSA chief gets GA education at AOPA HQTSA chief gets GA education at AOPA HQ

TSA chief gets GA education at AOPA HQ

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TSA chief Kip Hawley and Phil Boyer in
AOPA's TV studio, where Hawley taped the
introduction to a new Airport Watch video.

The chief of the Transportation Security Administration now knows a lot more about general aviation and AOPA.

Assistant Secretary for Homeland Security Kip Hawley toured AOPA's headquarters some 45 miles northwest of Washington, D.C. - just outside the Air Defense Identification Zone - and met with top AOPA staff on Monday. He also recorded the introduction to the new, updated AOPA's Airport Watch video, which will be available in a few weeks.

"Secretary Hawley now has a much better picture of general aviation and what AOPA means to pilots," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "And I think he now has an appreciation for how AOPA can help the TSA achieve reasonable security goals without additional regulations or harming GA."

Noting that many of the initial problems with the Alien Flight Training Rule might have been avoided by early consultation with AOPA, Boyer said, "If we know about the issue, we may very well have a better solution."

Hawley acknowledged some of GA pilots' concerns and offered that he was considering how the TSA might mitigate the impacts of presidential TFRs.

But while AOPA staff pressed him hard on the Washington ADIZ, he had little to say because he felt that the restrictions of the rulemaking process prohibited his comments.

Boyer demonstrated the many things AOPA has done to inform pilots about security issues and help them know about temporary flight restriction areas (TFRs), including the literally millions of e-mail airspace alerts the association sends out each year, and the real-time graphic TFR depictions available to members through AOPA's free Real-Time Flight Planner.

AOPA and TSA have partnered before. AOPA's Airport Watch program was developed in consultation with TSA, and TSA provides the toll-free security concern hotline - 866/GA-SECUR.

This year TSA is providing the funding for AOPA to update its Airport Watch brochure and mail it to every pilot in the United States.

March 15, 2006

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