An amendment to the Transportation Security Administration Authorization Act approved last week will allow the aviation industry to review and provide input on TSA security proposals. The amendment to H.R.2200 limits the TSA’s ability to use Security Directives to circumvent the normal rulemaking process without taking into account operational impact or economic burden.
So here’s a pop quiz (true or false) for all you aviation enthusiasts:
1. All employees in safety-sensitive positions at U.S. airlines must be drug and alcohol tested.
2. These same employees need 10-year background checks before being hired.
3. Mechanics are considered as occupying safety-sensitive positions.
A Transportation Security Administration directive mandating badging at airports serving commercial air carriers is scheduled to go into effect June 1. This requirement expands the airport identification process to include private aircraft owners, GA maintenance providers, FBO employees, flight instructors, flight school students and other airport tenants needing unescorted access to the airport operations area (AOA).
Following bungled security inspections of general aviation facilities at Nashville International Airport and Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Conn., the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) significantly changed “Operation Playbook,” a controversial security program for GA introduced through a pilot program last year.
The TSA has established a stakeholder liaison position dedicated to addressing concerns about recent security measures, including the Large Aircraft Security Program proposal, a security directive that would require additional screenings for general aviation pilots at commercial airports and “Operation Playbook.” Juan Barnes has been tapped to fill the new role.
The Transportation Security Administration’s Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP) proposal has received criticism from industry groups and operators of helicopters weighing more than 12,500 pounds. Operators have called the proposal “oppressive” and have expressed concern about the future of general aviation security.
After news broke last week of the Transportation Security Administration’s unauthorized inspections of Nashville (Tenn.) Airport pilots and employees and their baggage, concern about the TSA’s plans for random screening at FBOs has grown. A TSA document called the Playbook apparently outlines the procedures for random screenings at general aviation facilities, and NBAA has expressed concerns about planned Playbook-related actions.
The February 27 deadline for comments about the Transportation Security Administration’s Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP) rules proposal is rapidly approaching, and on December 17 the TSA released plans for a series of town hall meetings to solicit more input from the general aviation community. The meetings begin January 6 at Westchester County Airport and end January 28 in Houston (see box).
The Transportation Security Administration was scheduled to publish in the Federal Register late last month a proposed set of regulations that, if enacted, will ground every general aviation aircraft with a maximum certified takeoff weight of more than 12,500 pounds.
Seven years after 9/11, general aviation is still vulnerable to acts of terrorism because of inaction by the White House, according to a report prepared by the Democratic staffs of the House Homeland Security and Foreign Affairs Committees.