By AOPA ePublishing staff
Last year, Ohio aircraft owners were required to sign a terrorist declaration form—saying that they were not part of a terrorist organization—when they renewed their annual aircraft registrations.
AOPA is trying to prevent that onerous requirement from being enforced this year. On Nov. 13, AOPA Eastern Regional Representative Erin Wright and AOPA Vice President of Airports Bill Dunn met with officials from the Ohio Department of Public Safety to discuss the declaration.
During the meeting, AOPA explained that the federal government, namely the FAA and Transportation Security Administration (TSA), is in charge of aviation security. The agencies review lists of pilots and student pilots, and screen foreign nationals seeking flight training, for links to terrorists.
Trying to screen for terrorists at the state level with limited access to information won't provide citizens with real security, Dunn and Wright told the department.
The department is enforcing Ohio Revised Code Section 2909.32(A)(1), which authorizes the director of public safety to identify licenses issued by the state for which a person could have some connection to a terrorist organization.
AOPA pointed out that the code applies to licenses, not registrations, and that the law itself says it should not apply to renewable licenses or permits. Annual aircraft registration is renewable.
A better approach to aviation security is AOPA's Airport Watch Program, suggested Dunn and Wright. The program, sponsored by AOPA and the Transportation Security Administration, charges pilots and aircraft owners to spot and report suspicious activity at their airports.
"Pilots are law-abiding, security-minded citizens, and they want to do their part to protect aviation security," Dunn said. "But this declaration will have no impact on security."
November 20, 2007