Look for anyone trying to forcibly enter an aircraft. Be suspicious if someone misuses aviation lingo. Consistently lock your hangar and aircraft. That's a glimpse of what AOPA and the Airport Support Network (ASN) have teamed up to teach pilots through AOPA's Airport Watch program.
Pilots, airport staff, and air traffic controllers in Tennessee, Kentucky, Texas, and Pennsylvania are touting a new approach to general aviation security: Lock up and look out. Even law enforcement officials in Oregon are learning how to help protect GA airports.
AOPA Director of Regulatory and Certification Policy Rob Hackman has promoted GA security at state airport conferences and an ATC gathering to help ensure that every single person affiliated with GA knows how to protect their airport and aircraft. Meanwhile, ASN Director Stacy Swigart promoted the program in Pennsylvania.
Even ASN volunteers are getting involved. For example, Harper Poling, the ASN volunteer at Aurora State Airport in Aurora, Oregon, and 65 pilots from the surrounding area watched an Airport Watch video about security. Local law enforcement officials also participated.
"I think that we have enhanced the security awareness at the airport," the volunteer told AOPA, "and we will continue to improve as a result."
Even the FAA Web site promotes links to AOPA's Airport Watch program.
This outreach effort comes a month after AOPA sent Airport Watch material to every single pilot in the United States.
"The message remains: We in the GA community need to continue to do what we can by locking aircraft, securing keys, and staying vigilant to continue to protect our investments in the future of GA," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "This is what we need to do to protect our freedom to fly."
September 21, 2006