Loy Was Strong Advocate Of AOPA's Airport Watch Program
Adm. James Loy, the second-in-command at DHS, has been a strong
advocate for balancing the needs of general aviation with the
demands of security. Among the programs he vigorously promoted is
AOPA's Airport Watch, which he cited as a model for partnership
between industry and government.
Loy's resignation was announced Monday -- effective March
"Adm. Loy clearly understands that security has to be tempered
with practicality," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "He allowed
AOPA open access to him, which greatly aided pilots on important GA
matters. The only time we personally crossed swords was when I
didn't call him on a TSA rulemaking but instead enlisted the help
of Congress. Loy was offended by my misreading his intense desire
to hear from me directly rather than have his staff deal with the
issue. What a refreshing change as we discussed this by phone.
Never before in my experience with federal agencies had a leader
wanted this much feedback.
"The departures of Secretary Tom Ridge and Deputy Secretary Loy
will leave a large void at the Department of Homeland Security. We
hope the administration will nominate people of equal understanding
and capacity to replace them," Boyer said.
With Loy (pictured above, right, with AOPA President Phil
Boyer), AOPA says it found an open door and an advocate. From his
previous service as the US Coast Guard commandant, he understood
how private or recreational operators fit into the national
transportation system, and he was a strong proponent of government
partnership with citizens, both on the water and in the air.
He was an early and strong advocate
for AOPA's Airport Watch program. When AOPA President Boyer first
presented the idea to him, he readily agreed to the government
funding and operating the toll-free security hotline
(866/GA-SECUR). Loy praised Airport Watch at a Washington, DC,
press conference announcing the program to the national media.
Loy stood up for general aviation on numerous occasions,
including during congressional testimony in which he said some
security officials had overstated the possible threat of GA to
He also worked with AOPA and FAA to reassess "permanent"
temporary flight restrictions over defense installations. Most of
those TFRs were ultimately changed to less restrictive national
"We wish Adm. Loy well, and we're sorry to lose someone with
whom we've established such a good working relationship and who
understands the needs and concerns of general aviation pilots,"
said Boyer. "We will strive to build the same kind of cooperation
with Adm. Loy's and Secretary Ridge's successors."