Positive Security Message To City Leaders
AOPA has made a positive
pitch on general aviation security to the National League of Cities
(NLC). AOPA Senior Vice President of Government and Technical
Affairs Andy Cebula was invited to brief an NLC policy committee on
Friday. Cebula repeated AOPA's assertion that GA is not a
significant threat and that extraordinary security measures at GA
airports are not needed. The NLC will be making airport security
recommendations to some 18,000 cities, towns, and villages.
"The NLC's Transportation Infrastructure and Services Steering
Committee is extremely important because they've chosen to focus on
general aviation security this year," said Cebula. "From what I
learned in the meeting, GA is not high on their security worry
"They're much more concerned about the federal government
forcing unfunded security mandates on them. And with that, they can
be an important ally in persuading Congress to keep some of the
security agencies in check."
Cebula told the NLC committee that the Transportation Security
Administration (TSA) did NOT consider general aviation, in and of
itself, to be a significant security threat.
Cebula's presentation detailed the steps taken to improve GA
security, particularly AOPA's Airport Watch program. FAA
(responding to AOPA petitions and suggestions) is issuing new,
harder-to-counterfeit pilot certificates and requiring pilots to
carry photo identification.
Rules have been toughened to make it harder for foreign
nationals to obtain flight training in the US without a security
While some of the
committee members had questions about using GA aircraft to attack
critical infrastructure, Cebula was able to explain that the small
size and relatively slow speeds of the majority of GA aircraft make
them unsuitable as weapons of destruction.
Cebula urged the NLC to circulate the Transportation Security
Administration's "Guidelines for General Aviation Airports", which
were developed by a coalition of general aviation groups (including
AOPA). The guidelines provide common-sense steps for evaluating and
improving airport security, while recognizing that "one size
doesn't fit all."
He also said that the cities should work with their airport
managers and local pilots to evaluate security and implement
reasonable steps to minimize airport security vulnerabilities. And
he reiterated that alert pilots on guard for suspicious activities
were the best security measure for most general aviation airports.
That's why it is important for airport managers to post the Airport
Watch warning signs and enlist the help of based pilots.