In the past month the nation and the aviation industry have successfully navigated the first-year anniversary of September 11, the first Code Orange alert (one tier below the highest level) and additional TFRs (around the three crash sites) that actually proved to be “temporary.”
United States Department of Homeland Security
One year after September 11, corporate aviation is still seeking assurances that its business aircraft will be able to operate on par with the commercial airlines in the event there is a future shutdown of parts or all of the National Airspace System.
Comments on the Transportation Security Administration’s Twelve-Five Standard Security Program (TFSSP), which details the proposed requirements to comply with the TSA’s security program mandate for Part 135 airplanes with an mtow of 12,500 lb or more, were due August 19, but that deadline likely will be extended to at least September 19.
Air taxi operators are caught in a conundrum. Comments are due August 19 on the Transportation Security Administration’s draft standard security program (TFSSP) for air-taxi aircraft with a mtow of 12,500 lb or more (not more than 12,500 lb, as defined by FAR Part 25). However, obtaining a copy of the proposed TFSSP is not easy or quick.
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) will remain off-limits to all forms of general aviation for the foreseeable future. This despite massive lobbying efforts by the General Aviation Coalition and others. A government plan to reopen DCA to some GA operators had reportedly incorporated elements of the NBAA’s proposed security letter of authorization (SLOA).
The President’s Budget of the United States has usually been delivered by the Government Printing Office to Congress bound in a sober, solid navy. This year’s, issued February 4, was literally wrapped in the flag. The red, white and blue motif was repeated in the United States Department of Transportation Fiscal Year 2003 Budget in Brief, which tossed in photos of airplanes and ships in flag livery or overflying flag masts.
Back in the 1700s the poet Robert Burns wrote, “The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men gang aft agley an’ lea’ us naught but grief an’ pain for promis’d joy!” The 108th Congress “scheme” (plan) to have appropriations bills for the 13 government agencies wrapped up and signed off by October 1, the start of the new fiscal year, went “gang aft agley” (went awry), for only three of the 13 bills made it through the process.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has launched a pilot project in cooperation with Signature Flight Support at Anchorage, Alaska, and Shannon, Ireland, to scan general aviation aircraft for potential nuclear hazards as they enter the U.S.
Philip Spayd, Northeast regional director for U.S. Customs, has high hopes for the success of the sweeping new Department of Homeland Security (DHS). He recently told the Connecticut Business Aviation Group, “Keep your eye on it. It’s going to move fast and it is going to affect you.”
Suggesting that many of the new aviation rules issued in the name of security may be unconstitutional, National Air Transportation Association president Jim Coyne recently called on the industry to play “hardball” over some of the more onerous restrictions, including the lack of access to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA).