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TSA chief extends review period for GA security proposalTSA chief extends review period for GA security proposal

Transportation Security Administration chief Kip Hawley on Nov. 19 signed an extension for the comment period on the agency’s controversial Large Aircraft Security Program proposal. Pilots and the aviation industry have until Feb. 27, 2009, to consider the implications of the program and submit comments.

AOPA, the National Business Aviation Association, and Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) all requested the extension.

“This proposal is an unprecedented move by the TSA into general aviation, and more time will help pilots understand and provide comments,” said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. “The extension shows that the TSA is sensitive to the aviation community’s concerns.”

AOPA members are extremely concerned about the proposed security program because they fear its scope, which currently only affects aircraft weighing more than 12,500 pounds, will gradually be extended to all general aviation. Serious questions also surround why GA is being considered for these onerous requirements.

The proposal calls for flight crewmember criminal history records checks, watch list matching of passenger manifests, biennial third party audits of each aircraft operator, and new airport security requirements.

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