MPA LEGISLATION REPORT
GREETINGS! First, Here's an update from Washington, D.C. General Aviation Airports and Businesses brace for
tighter security. The government solution to GA security has been to shut down facilities near sensitive sites
and impose other airspace restrictions, crippling the businesses and airports involved.
However, when the flight restrictions were lifted at GA airports near Washington, D.C., it provided a glimpse of the government's idea of what constitutes a secure GA airport in a populated area.
Restrictions put in place included background checks for pilots and airport employees, specific arrival and departure procedures, mandatory flight plans, and ATC contact with Mode-C transponders. In all likelihood, any final rules will probably be a mix of industry recommendations and what's in place (or anticipated) at some commercial service airports.
Another consideration is the impact on general aviation businesses at commercial service airports. These businesses will probably see the most change with new Airport Tenant Security Agreements shifting liability to the business from the airport. Changes to escort procedures for commercial vehicles on ramps and potentially even security checkpoints on the Air Operations Area and screening at airport perimeter gates my also be a reality.
There are many proactive and low or even no cost measures an airport and its businesses can do to prevent a terrorist attack and maybe even get the U.S. Senate to change its opinion of GA airport security.
Here are their Interim Steps:
1. Every airport should conduct a security site assessment, with an eye towards deterring or preventing unauthorized access to an aircraft. It's unlikely that a terrorist attack would be directed at the infrastructure of a GA airport, so don't spend a lot of time worrying about stand-off distances and site hardening.
2. The simplest (and cheapest) measure is communications. Besides posting emergency numbers around the airport, go the extra step and designate a security point-of-contact for each airport business. Make sure airport administration has this information on file with numbers to reach the person (or someone who can take action) 24/7. The security contact serves as the central dissemination point and oversees businesses' security plans and measures.
3. Airport managers can establish a system of reporting routine security information to airport businesses via weekly emails, faxes, or monthly meetings. The same distribution lists can be used in emergency situations, as the communication pathways are already established.
4. Managers should check compatibility of their airport radio equipment with local law enforcement. If the equipment is not compatible, then other procedures need to be created so the two groups can communicate in an emergency.
5. Airport operators should establish a system for contacting the appropriate law enforcement agencies, and ensure that the system works. Don't settle for just "calling 911" and think it's going to get help right away. Don't assume police dispatchers and responding officers automatically know what they're supposed to do. Talk to the local enforcement agency, along with the local FAA/TSA and FBI representatives. Get their off-duty phone numbers and establish a system of reporting suspicious behavior and direct threats.
6. Establish procedures with the control tower (or the nearest FAA air traffic control facility) to notify them immediately in the case of an armed takeover of an aircraft on the ground or the theft of a large aircraft. Again, don't assume the police or even the FAA local offices have quick access to this information.
Secondly, Here's an Update Concerning Our Missouri Legislation. The Missouri House of Representatives, 2002 Session has adjourned for this year. While our House and Senate are in adjournment, now is good time to familiarize yourself with our Local House Representatives, and our State Senators. Just go to: http://www.house.state.mo.us
This Web Site will give you all the detailed information you need, just type in your zip code. I strongly urge everyone to get to know your Missouri House of Representatives, and State Senators, also get to know your US Congressman, and US Senators.
Many of you may not be aware, that there is some redistricting going into effect this year, you'll find all this information at the above Web Site.
Now, In Conclusion, Remember, We as MPA, USPA, AOPA, EAA, or any other Pilot Associations has a powerful voice in Missouri, and Washington, D.C. So Let's continue to make a "Difference for General Aviation."
Until Next Time!
Larry G. Harmon
E-mail address: MPALHARMON@aol.com
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