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Massport to revamp security measures at GA airports

Local pilots convinced the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) to take a second look at its stringent security proposal for two general aviation airports.

AOPA had encouraged the GA community to attend a public hearing about proposed security measures at L.G. Hanscom Field and Worcester Regional airports. Massport agreed to rework the current draft regulations after hearing from AOPA Airport Support Network volunteer Ford von Weise, local pilots, and AOPA. [AOPA had sent written comments in advance of the meeting.]

AOPA will continue to work with Massport to ensure GA pilots are not burdened by future security decisions.

While reasonable security precautions are appropriate at these two airports, the original proposed security measures were not reasonable.

The proposal could have required the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to conduct 100 percent screening of all passengers for weapons, incendiaries, and explosives before boarding a general aviation aircraft.

"General aviation airports simply do not fit the airline airport security model," said Bill Dunn, AOPA vice president of airports. "Instead of applying a one-size-fits-all approach, we believe it is appropriate to evaluate the security needs at each airport, and if necessary develop regulations specific to those needs."

AOPA and the TSA offer a nationwide Airport Watch Program, which uses the more than 650,000 pilots as eyes and ears for observing and reporting suspicious activity. Airport Watch includes warning signs for airports, informational literature, and a training video to teach pilots and airport employees how to enhance security at their airports.

September 6, 2007

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