May 11, 2004 - The nominated administrator for the Transportation Security Administration is sensitive to the security issues his agency creates for general aviation. Acting Administrator David Stone met with the General Aviation Coalition (GAC) late last Friday, with representatives from AOPA, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), the National Air Transportation Association (NATA), the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), the Aircraft Electronics Association (AEA), and other general aviation organizations, to discuss security issues affecting general aviation.
"We had Admiral Stone's undivided attention and were able to raise issues such as the large-scale Presidential TFRs, Washington, D.C., airspace restrictions, and a pending guidance document on general aviation airport security that directly affects members," said AOPA Senior Vice President of Government and Technical Affairs Andy Cebula.
Cebula raised the tandem issues of the air defense identification zone (ADIZ) around the Baltimore-Washington area and the dozen "permanent" temporary flight restrictions established over military facilities in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks (and still in place today). The ADIZ, Cebula said, is smothering general aviation around the nation's capital, while the military's stated desire to turn some or all of the "permanent" TFRs into charted prohibited areas is cause for serious concern among GA pilots.
When asked about the security guidelines that TSA has been developing for GA airports, Stone said they should be ready in the very near future and offered high praise for both AOPA's Airport Watch and the cooperative way it was developed with input from government security officials. He said it would be a blueprint for government/industry partnerships in other modes of transportation.
"Like James Loy, the previous TSA administrator, David Stone is showing himself to be someone who is willing to work with general aviation," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "We're often not going to like the answers we get, but we're finding that, as head of the Transportation Security Administration, Admiral Stone understands that 'transportation' is every bit as important as 'security' is."