While the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reviews a draft update of general aviation airport security guidelines, the agency is also running a series of exercises to bolster communications among airports, the local community and operators during times of increased security threats.
The TSA conducted the first general aviation airport security simulation last month in Colorado and another is planned for this month in Alaska. It hopes to stage a third in Florida next month, with more in the works for other locations. The exercise uses a federal communication about a threat, and then tracks communication and activities among the airport, operators on the airport and other local authorities.
According to Kerwin Wilson, manager of the TSA’s General Aviation Branch, the idea is that communications about the threat, associated preparation and activities should flow back and forth among the affected parties. But he told attendees at the recent National Air Transportation Association Aviation Business and Legislative Conference that the initial simulation showed cases where the information flowed in only one direction.
Participation is voluntary, and the airports have to be on board with the simulation for the TSA to stage such an event.