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TSA to listen to pilot concerns on proposed security programTSA to listen to pilot concerns on proposed security program

Large aircraft security proposalThe Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has granted AOPA’s request for public meetings on the agency’s proposed Large Aircraft Security Program.

“It is important that the TSA hear directly from pilots how this proposal would impact general aviation flight operations,” said Craig Spence, AOPA vice president of security.

The TSA announced on Dec. 17 that public meetings will take place Jan. 6 in White Plains, N.Y.; Jan. 8 in Atlanta; Jan. 16 in Chicago; Jan. 23 in Burbank, Calif.; and Jan. 28 in Houston. The meetings start at 9 a.m., and pilots can register the day of the meeting in their area beginning at 8 a.m. For more details, see the notice.

The proposal applies to aircraft weighing more than 12,500 pounds and calls for flight crewmember criminal history records checks, watch list matching of passenger manifests, biennial third-party audits of each aircraft operator, and new aircraft and airport security requirements.

AOPA members have told the association that they are extremely concerned about the proposal’s implications. The proposed rule represents an unprecedented intrusion on general aviation because it would apply commercial standards to GA operations. AOPA also is concerned about the proposal because the TSA has provided no justification for setting the aircraft weight requirement at 12,500 pounds. The association fears it could expand to all sizes of GA aircraft. Equally alarming is a requirement that aircraft operators use and pay for third-party auditors to perform a government function.

“We are going to need the strength of our entire membership to counter this proposal. Soon we’ll be calling on members to take action and comment in person at these meetings and in writing,” Spence said. “We’re currently developing a member action center that will assist you in developing your comments.”

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