'Neighborhood Watch' for airports set up

 - January 9, 2008, 9:05 AM

The Transportation Security Administration has partnered with AOPA to set up a nationwide airport-watch system. Key to the system is a 24/7 toll-free hotline for private pilots to report suspicious activity to the TSA. The hotline, which became effective in late November, is (866) 427-3287. Calls to the hotline go to the National Response Center, which already fields emergency calls for 19 other federal agencies. “Airport watch is designed to work like the highly successful neighborhood-watch programs,” said AOPA president Phil Boyer. “Who better to know what’s normal and what’s suspicious at a local airport than the people who spend a lot of time there?” The program will provide special materials, including a video, to show pilots what to watch for and will offer steps that individual pilots can take to enhance the security of their airports and their aircraft. AOPA will distribute these materials to public-use airports, pilot groups and individual pilots. At press time, AOPA was shooting the video that will become part of the airport watch program.