SFAR 91 Clouds the Issue

 - October 4, 2007, 6:13 AM

Still unclear at press time was how Special Federal Aviation Regulation (SFAR) 91 will affect general aviation, particularly business aircraft and private aircraft with mtows exceeding 12,500 lb. Already issued as a final rule effective October 1, it requires all aircraft operators that access the “sterile area” of a Part 107 airport to search aircraft and screen passengers, crewmembers, other persons and their accessible property before departure. The second part of the SFAR gives the FAA authority to require “screening procedures” for operators of aircraft with a mtow greater than 12,500 lb.

NBAA and NATA, which have been closely following the rule, said Part 107 Airport Security rules define a sterile area as an area “to which access is controlled by the inspection of persons and property in accordance with an approved security program.” Individual airports define the specific boundaries of sterile areas.

NATA, which represents many on-demand charter companies, suggested that operators conducting flights to Part 107 airports should contact their destination FBO to determine whether or not the aircraft will enter a sterile area upon arrival. Operators based at a Part 107 airport should verify their status with regard to the sterile area with the airport security office.

For operators of aircraft with mtows over 12,500 lb, the SFAR allows the FAA to impose security procedures, such as screening, regardless of whether it is operated under Part 91 or 135. At press time, the FAA had not instituted any such security requirements with this SFAR, although it could do so through the notam process.
NBAA said SFAR 91 currently does not require any changes to existing operational procedures for Part 91 aircraft operating outside of sterile areas.