"Lock Up - Look Out." That's the new message from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), to pilots and others in the general aviation (GA) industry. AOPA and the TSA have once again teamed up to completely update the highly successful AOPA Airport Watch program, providing tips on keeping their aircraft and airports secure to every pilot in the country.
"Airport Watch works. We know it. The TSA knows it," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "Now we've completely updated the program, incorporating all we've learned since it started nearly four years ago."
Fashioned after the successful neighborhood watch program, AOPA's Airport Watch calls on pilots, aircraft owners, business owners, and others who are regularly at their local airport, to be the eyes and ears needed to keep that area secure. The program also encourages pilots to lock their airplanes and hangars after each use, and ask others to do the same.
AOPA's Airport Watch encourages anyone who notices something suspicious to report it by calling the toll-free hotline, 866/GA-SECURE, or 911 if immediate response is needed. 866/GA-SECURE is staffed 24/7 by TSA employees, and each incident that is reported is investigated.
"Airport Watch is a simple, cost-effective program that works at all airports," said Boyer. "If eternal vigilance is the price of freedom, then we're taking this opportunity to remind pilots to protect their freedom to fly by keeping a watchful eye on their local airports."
As part of the updated program, AOPA and TSA this week mailed a letter, brochure, and Airport Watch decals to every pilot in the country. In addition, airport managers, state aviation directors, select state legislators, and many FAA offices will receive a training DVD about Airport Watch and are asked to promote the program.
More information about AOPA's Airport Watch is available on the program's updated Web site, www.aopa.org/airportwatch/.
The more-than-408,000 members of AOPA make up the world's largest civil aviation association. AOPA is committed to striking a common-sense balance that fulfills national security needs while protecting aircraft owners and pilots from overly burdensome regulations.
August 8, 2006