TSA Reworking Maligned LASP

 - October 9, 2011, 6:05 PM

When the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) first announced its Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP) in October 2008, it threatened to ground every general aviation aircraft with a maximum certified takeoff weight of more than 12,500 pounds unless the nearly 10,000 aircraft operators complied with the security edict.

The original plan would have applied commercial air carrier security measures to GA aircraft regardless of the type of operation. GA associations argued that the proposal was burdensome and costly, calling as it did for crewmember criminal record checks, watch list matching of passenger manifests, biennial third-party audits of each aircraft operator and new airport security requirements.

It was greeted with unanimous scorn by the GA community, which let the federal government know in no uncertain terms that it was unacceptable as initially presented. Eventually, after receiving more than 8,000 overwhelmingly negative public comments, the original LASP was scrapped and TSA went back to the drawing board in June 2009.

According to Douglas Hofsass, deputy assistant administrator for the TSA’s transportation sector network management, the TSA met with select members of the industry to discuss where the rule should really go.

Following discussions with several working groups, the TSA created a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking that has been approved by TSA administrator John Pistole and the Department of Homeland Security. It is now under review by the White House Office of Management and Budget before being reposted for public comments later this year.

Hofsass said the new version will focus on securing the aircraft, knowing who the passengers are, vetting the pilots and allowing an appropriate weight that allows the operators the flexibility to run their businesses and gives the TSA some security assurances, particularly based on what weight of aircraft poses a threat. He said the weight threshold is going up, and he described it as “appropriate.”

In a recent interview, NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen alluded to the association’s old TSA Access Certificate (TSAAC) that was created several years after 9/11. Although the TSA bought into the concept, it was instituted only at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey and Westchester County Airport in White Plains, N.Y. And while it was originally conceived as a GA security program that would allow entry into restricted airspace or access to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, the TSAAC never got beyond providing a corporate waiver for international flights to and from the U.S.

“A trusted pilot or a trusted operation was kind of at the heart of the TSAAC proposal,” Bolen recalled, “and I think it will be part of the Large Aircraft Security Program. It doesn’t make sense that two pilots could fly a 300,000-pound airplane on the river approach to Reagan National, carrying guns, 200 people in back that they don’t know, land at Reagan National, and those same two pilots would not be trusted to then fly out in a Cessna 172.”

Comments

DJ Toman's picture

It is evident that DHS is superfluous to the nation's needs, is run by incompetents and should be abolished.
Another example of the laws of bureaucracies:
1. They do what they want because they can
2. Their only function is self-preservation and self-expansion
3. They are parasites, and act accordingly

William Howe's picture

DJ Toman is right on target.

Brett's picture

Not to press the OBVIOUS too far ... but doesn't the fact that we have survived the 10 YEARS since 9/11, without this program in place, without a single incident, suggest that perhaps it isn't needed?

James's picture

Terminal Stupidity Agency...sooo post 9/11. America has learned to cower in the shadow of what if, and maybe. Tragic to watch.

Skipper Hyle's picture

www.stoplasp.com

This is a bad idea period. Support Sam Graves and the GA Caucus, no compromise by the alphabet soup.

John Waters's picture

Stopping the LASP program is a great start. Now if we cut TSA's budget slightly,say 50%,they wouldn't be able to fondle nearly as many children and old folks.

DAVE ARLEDGE's picture

THIS IS A KNEE JERK REACTION TO FIX SOMETHING THAT ISN'T BROKE.
LARGE GROUPS' OF PEOPLE IN THE GOVERNMENT EMPLOY, TRYING TO JUSTIFY THEIR JOBS.

shane stephenson's picture

Here here to all above coments! TSA and Homeland Security is nothing but a cash cow for policitians and those that buy them.

Mark Baltimore's picture

The TSA's (nee DHS) motto is simply this:

"If it ain't broke, fix it till it is!"

John Schmidt's picture

TSA should look in the mirror and try not to be scared

Karl Schneider's picture

I can only add my own emphatic agreement to all the previous posts. I am not opposed to government in principle but the bureaucracies have turned into self-propagating oligarchies that cause many problems and fix virtually none.

DGudy87's picture

Why has TSA spent so much time and abuse reinventing a security system that abuses customers and impedes aircraft operations when international systems have proven themselves efficient cheap and less obtrusive to the passenger? The security vetting systems are screening and profiling way before the entrance into single line. Too many people scream about "profiling" but in truth the minute you AGREE to purchase a ticket to enter a US carrier, that is when you agree to allow your security details to be accessed. You have the CHOICE not to get on a US transportation system and maintain your privacy, but when you enter a vehicle where the possibility of an individual can destroy many others, then you have the RESPONSIBILITY to identify yourself and your history.

David Locke's picture

I'm sorry the bullies won. 9/11 changed America because we got scared and decided to get our "uncle" to protect us from the bullies. I thought this was the land of the free and the home of the brave. Obviously it's neither anymore. It's a place where cowards must be protected from themselves and where big brother must give the proper nod for a responsible, tax paying citizen to act in a politically correct manner. Bueracrats can't stand the thought of individuals acting without supervision, but pilots have shown themselves to be free thinking, responsible people. Not a good match for a self serving, self perpetuating organization such as the TSA.

John A C Cartner's picture

The DHS/TSA combination are the taxpayer-paid official thugs and punks of the government. When combined with the 55 agencies which "secure" us and keep us "safe" and $10.5 trillion over the past ten years one sees this: the military-industrial complex now runs us, the government now controls us and for most of us it is like the Second Law. One cannot even get out of the game. The TSA alone is too stupid to be dangerous. But combined with all the other stupids, there is no hope.

Mark D Jones's picture

Nuke the Raheads. Abolish the TSA.

matt 's picture

All the GA groups should just stop cooperating with TSA and demand this entire idea be dropped. AOPA,EAA, and NBAA need to take some lessons on lobbying from the NRA. The more GA "cooperates" with TSA the more they will take.

Harold's picture

I agree with the many and quite correct commenters. For one, if we have gotten by 10 years without the need for a LASP, then...there is no need for one! By the same token, most TSA folks have no idea of Physics and Kinetic energy, much less be able to tell how big an airplane can be and how fast it must travel before it could even be considered a potential weapon. I suggest we dont need a LASP program, its just more bureaucracy, and while we are at it, go ahead and eliminate the TSA and simply contract the screening function out at Airline terminals. We could get the same job done for about a quarter of the cost.

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