When it comes to airport security, one size does not fit all. But AOPA's Airport Watch works at any general aviation airport - or seaplane base!
Up north in Alaska, the skis are coming off the aircraft to be replaced by floats. Aircraft are arriving at their summer docks at the Lake Hood Seaplane Base, next to Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. In another month or so, there will be hundreds of aircraft moored around the lake. And hundreds of eyes will be watching out for security.
Pilots there, working with the airport police and the Alaska Airmen's Association, are creating a community watch program modeled on the precepts of Airport Watch.
Lake Hood is the world's largest seaplane base. But the unfenced lakeshore is also used by the community, making security even tougher than an average GA airport. After some vandalism this winter, the aviation community acted.
Lake Hood Airport Support Network volunteer Dee Hanson (who's also the Alaska Airmen's Association executive director) used Airport Watch materials to help organize the community watch, adapting the concept to the unique circumstances at Lake Hood.
The group created vehicle identification stickers, so that the pilots can identify and report cars that are stopping in places where they don't belong. That also helps the airport police, who have increased patrols around the lake.
The group is also reaching out to the surrounding communities, asking them to help watch for suspicious activities.
"Lake Hood is a community asset," said Hanson, "and everyone has an interest in keeping it safe and secure."
May 9, 2006