Sun, May 30, 2004
Praises AOPA security efforts and
"clear and present danger"
The head of the Transportation Security Administration on Friday
offered high praise for AOPA's Airport Watch and the association's
efforts to keep pilots alert to possible threats. During a
conference call with representatives from the five modes of
transportation that TSA covers, AOPA President Phil Boyer,
representing general aviation, asked Acting Administrator David
Stone point blank, "Other than the 'heads up' we gave our pilot
members overnight in our ePilot newsletter, is there anything
specific you can add to the attorney general's and secretary of
Homeland Security's public acknowledgment this week of a 'clear and
present danger' with regard to possible terrorist attacks?"
Stone replied, "I want to commend AOPA for the work in
partnership with the TSA to communicate and share information
relative to general aviation airports. With the weekend ahead
pilots should maintain situational awareness at GA airports.
"Through the Airport Watch program,
your folks at airports have the ability to call about anything they
see that is untoward or unusual that might help us. There is no
additional emerging heightened awareness for the Memorial Day
weekend I can provide, other than this is a three-day period with
many events. Pilots should keep their eyes open for anything
He concluded, "Thank you, AOPA, for work you are doing in
concert with the agency."
After the conference call, Boyer said, "Adm. Stone clearly sees
GA pilots as part of the solution — not part of the problem.
So now we need to step up and do our part to protect the GA
infrastructure. Follow the guidelines laid out in the Airport Watch
brochure. And if you do see something, remember the nationwide
toll-free hotline, 866/GA-SECURE (866/427-3287).
"Keeping our eyes open when we're at our local airports affords
us the unique opportunity to deny terrorists access to GA."
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