Security and safety training is suddenly a hot topic. When NBAA holds its convention next month, it is offering nearly a dozen new informational sessions that will address safety, security and business aircraft operations in today’s environment.
General aviation received some good news and some not-so-good news last month with regard to airport security.
NBAA has turned to an outside vendor to assist in conducting the association’s security seminars. Houston-based Air Security International will join NBAA staffers in the seminars designed to give Part 91 operators the materials necessary for their companies to meet the standards required to obtain a TSA access certificate. TSAAC-holding operators eventually might gain access to TFRs equivalent to the scheduled airlines.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA)–with the assistance of the general aviation industry–is developing a Transportation Risk Assessment and Vulnerability Evaluation Tool that will allow general aviation airport operators to assess the vulnerability to terrorism of their individual facilities and respond accordingly.
Aviation security collided with politics last month on Capitol Hill, when a Senate bill that would have created–among other provisions–a new force of federal employees to screen airline passengers and their baggage encountered stubborn resistance in the House.
Government officials continue to shine a spotlight on general aviation security. Testifying last week before the House Committee on Homeland Security, DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff said his department would soon unveil a plan to tighten security standards for general aviation aircraft (read: business airplanes) entering the country from overseas.
Congress last week passed a far-reaching security bill that deals with both cargo and general aviation security, among other things. The bill, “Improving America’s Security Act of 2007,” marks a major change in how cargo will be screened.
New York state legislators are moving forward on a bill that would impose burdensome restrictions for aircraft owners and operators at general aviation airports throughout the state.
On June 9, Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher was inbound to the Washington, D.C. area aboard a state-owned King Air to attend the funeral ceremony for President Ronald Reagan. Unfortunately, the transponder on the airplane was not working. When the aircraft reached the D.C. flight restricted zone, an area that extends some 16 miles around the Capitol, it was misidentified as a potential terrorist threat, leading to the evacuation of the U.S.
Even those business aviation operators who may never want to fly into Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport should be able to take advantage of NBAA’s “secure access” program. That’s because gaining entry into DCA is but one facet of the still-developing proposal.