What will the new year bring for GA security?

GUEST EDITORIAL By DAVE HOOK

Trying to foretell the future of general aviation security is a challenge as our community is at a crossroads. Over the coming months we will have to decide just how much regulated security we are willing to accept and how much voluntary security we are willing to uphold.

I offer some recent events as waypoints from which we can plot a projected course for what we can expect in 2011.

Dave Hook

Waypoint 1: The United States is still at war with an enemy that has no particular national boundaries. Despite the ever-changing rhetoric on what our Armed Forces are doing overseas, the fact is that the United States of America and our allies are engaged in combat operations against a common enemy. In this year alone we have two acknowledged attempts at killing and injuring large numbers of Americans on our home soil. The first was back in June when Pakistani-born, naturalized-U.S. citizen Faisal Shahzad attempted to set off a car bomb in Times Square and then flee on a flight bound for Dubai. Observant vendors and prepared NYPD officers prevented the device from detonating. A similar attempted attack happened this year on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, during a Christmas tree lighting ceremony at Pioneer Square in Portland, Oregon. This time a Somalia-born, naturalized-U.S. citizen, Mohamed Osman Mohamud, attempted to detonate a similar vehicle bomb. The point here is that there is an on-going threat to us and our homeland within the United States.

Waypoint 2: Documented illegal uses of general aviation aircraft highlight security vulnerabilities. After the 9/11 attacks, the public became much more wary of unauthorized and illegal uses of aircraft. On Jan. 5, 2002, 15-year old Charles Bishop intentionally crashed a stolen Cessna 172 into the Bank of America Building in Tampa, Florida. While it is reported that young Bishop’s actions were inspired by the al-Qaeda attacks, the end result is that a junior aviator from among our ranks turned an aircraft into a weapon.

Earlier this year a man published his anti-government manifesto on the Internet and then flew his Piper Dakota into the Austin, Texas, offices of the Internal Revenue Service. Andrew Joseph Stack, a general aviation pilot of many years, crashed into the building Feb. 18 with the apparent intent of causing harm to the IRS agents and employees inside. “Joe” Stack was a general aviation insider — one of us — with the proper credentials to have access to his own airplane and hangar.

The infamous Barefoot Bandit, Colton Harris-Moore, was also in the news this year. For the past few years young Colton had been stealing aircraft until his arrest on Harbour Island, Bahamas, July 11. Only 19 years old and having never had an hour of flight instruction in his life, he managed to bypass what little security stood between him and his victims’ aircraft, start them up, and fly away. Hardly a hardened criminal or determined adversary to U.S. National Security, young Harris-Moore succeeded in focusing national attention on our community, and not the kind we like.

As a final example for Waypoint 2, I’d like to offer for consideration the recent arrests of 34 Brazilians in the United States — supposedly illegally — who were registered and approved for flight training in accordance with 49 CFR 1552 Subpart A. The question here is the effectiveness of the background investigations prior to the Transportation Security Administration’s approving their training. While not yet a firm fix for this waypoint, this example does beg the question of the effectiveness of government oversight.

Waypoint 3: Defending against the death of a thousand paper cuts. The federal government needs our help. There is a threat to the United States. There are vulnerabilities within general aviation. Political appointees and civil servants are busy developing ways to reduce the risks to aviation. Here are two recent examples.

During the winter of 2008-2009, the TSA published for public comment its Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP). With an historic 7,000-plus negative public comments submitted prior to the deadline, the proposal was recalled. Not that the intent at the heart of the proposal wasn’t well intentioned, but the unfunded burdens placed upon private and corporate aviation were perceived as both excessive and overly invasive. And remember, LASP wasn’t eliminated, only sent back to TSA for retooling. Expect to see this regulated security program proposal again soon…for further public comment.

In the winter of 2009-2010 the TSA published for public comment the Aircraft Repair Station Standard Security Program. This proposed program focused on both foreign and domestic aircraft repair stations that are certified by the FAA under Part 145. Again, this was a security program proposal that would be funded directly from the pockets of U.S. businesses. So as federal government involvement goes, there is both an interest and a concern in our aviation community.

Current Course: Hate to say it — but more of the same. This course is a little like a visit from Charles Dickens’ Ghost of Christmas-Yet-to-Come — shadows of what might be. These three fixes indicate that we must remain engaged. We must participate. We cannot afford to shrink away from opportunities to let our voices be heard. We may not always like the results, but, rest assured, it will be better than if we had said nothing.

Dave Hook, an expert on general aviation security, is president of Planehook Aviation Services, LLC in San Antonio, Texas.

Comments

  1. Dudley H. Johnston says

    In reading the comments submitted it is apparent there is more fear of our government than there is of a terrorist attack using a general aviation aircraft. That in itself is a sad commentary of our Washington leadership. If a sucessful terrorist attack would succeed on an important target I fear it would be the death knell of general aviation as we know it. Been into Reagan National airport lately? That onerous restriction would be multiplied everywhere. The best suggestions from the above comments have centered on ones personal security. Locking your aircraft, making it difficult for anyone to steal and to be observant of not just your own aircraft but of the entire surroundings, and to take action to prevent terrorist endeavors. Notice the unusual, be watchful, connect the dots of suspicious activity, have security phone numbers on your cell phone available for immediate use. These are just a few things that will help thwart terrorist activity. You never know what might prevent a disaster to national assets and to your personal freedom.

  2. Walt says

    Mr. Hooks article has the smell of a trial balloon. I am far more afraid of power hungry bureaucrats in my own government than I am of any terrorist. Bureaucrats are engaged in a constant battle to preserve their authority, They are generally bullies, and like any bully they choose their fights carefully and always select a weak or cowardly victim. Terrorists are in the business of convincing the populace that our government is ineffective and unable to protect them. Our bureaucracy knows this and is willing to sacrifice a portion of society to impress upon the public that they are “doing something”.

    I an a civil engineer, engaged in the design of structures, My Mooney, at 2740lbs. gross, is a flyspeck compared to a 70,0000 lb. semi truck loaded with gasoline. Have we heard any movement to impose effective protections againt a terrorist, foriegn or home-grown, driving his rig into a packed school, church or shopping mall? Heaven forbid! The trucking industry, bless their souls, has the second most powerful lobby in this country. I have no bone to pick with the truckers, but as long as we wear white gloves and “play nice” with those who would seize power by regulation we are lost. We need to get tough, to be single issue voters and to show the door to politicians who are unwilling or unable to rein in the unelected portion of government.
    God Bless America

  3. John Majane III says

    I have written my congresspersons about this situation and get no response. The people in Washington are more interested in putting on a show than true security. Notice that all this security is aimed at protecting the government not the people.

    I cannot tell you how many times I have gone up Route 395 and followed a fully laden gasoline tanker into town across the 14th street bridge yet my itty bitty 2750 LB airplane is seen as a dire threat.

    The security people see boogeymen everywhere but where they are. They ignore the border(s)where in the South not only is Mexico exporting poverty and crime into our country but numerous characters from the middle east. They basically sexually assault old woman and children but refrain from touching others due to political correctness.

    I know there is a lot going on that we do not see but we do not need this useless window dressing to know they are doing something. If putting a throttle lock on my plane is what I need to do I have no issues with it but stripping my right to fly a plane through burdensome regulation in the name of “security” is something I am not willing to do.

  4. Perry says

    Wow. Security ‘expert’ (consultant) writes op-ed piece to get everyone worked up and focus on a problem where there is none. This is not what we need more of in 2011.

    GA security measures are comprehensive and GA has enough headwinds already. We are engaged and we do participate. Let’s stay focused on our professionalism -as individuals and as a community – and our ongoing commitment to safety.

    Kudos to Mssrs Hulland, Davidson, and especially Phil Laventis (25). I don’t need to add further to their thoughtful remarks.

  5. mk says

    Small correction to one of your facts Mr. Hook. The numbnuts who failed to blow up a a bomb in Portland failed because it was a fake bomb that was given to him by the Feds. I wonder why they let him get so far as to actually try it, and then they send out a huge press release to crow about “thwarting” a plot that they themselves cooked up. And that was right as everyone was up in arms about body scanners at the airports. Hmmmm. Look for more “thwarted” plots in the future. All dreamed up to scare folks into compliance.

  6. Matt Comerford says

    “1. The Obama administration would like to see private aviation eradicated so that only he and his favored ones can enjoy the freedom of the skies.” – Lord Bowdon

    How can you remotely believe this? Just like he is taking away of our guns?

    As a 25 year old who has only been a licensed pilot for 7 months, I’d rather stop flying all together than stand with you, sir. I guess every group has it’s radicals, but IMOP you’re more of a threat than the “Obama administration,”

    Lets be realistic here, Lord Bowdon.

  7. anthony auito says

    Sir, I have read all of the comments and most are correct,I think it is too late to save our country from what the politicians have created,we are well on our way to being a second rate country,,I feel I wasted my time being on the front line in the Korean war. the US politicians are our worst enemy.I believe the best advise to save our country is get honest politicians and then start minding our own business around the world and not to take sides,start looking after our own people and stop worrying about every one else.A Auito

  8. Scott says

    Given that the ultra rich fly privately and they have direct influence on the government. I doubt the government will allow harassing procedures for rich people with their private planes like they do for the general public. I don’t anticipate any profound security changes for business aviation or the lobbyist will stop it.

  9. says

    General Aviation is a threat to big government because it allows eyes in the sky to look over tall fences. One can see government activiies that government may not want you to see, such as empty prisons, mismanaged reservoirs and mismanaged public lands. If big government is bent on denying our freedoms then the privilege to fly is an obvious one to be taken away.

    In Canada, you may not fly without filing a flight plan and then you are taxed for using the services such as a control tower or ATC. At the very least I suspect this will be implemented here.

    What we need to do when we get the opportunity is to promote general aviaton and keep it in the eyes of the public as a good thing that needs to be protected and police ourselves to avoid bad publicity.

  10. Dk says

    Ron Paul for President 2012!! No doubt he would veto all anti-freedom legislation. If we don’t pull it together soon, the TSA will be groping your kids junk before they get on the bus. Wake up America.

  11. Phil Leventis says

    Interesting article and even more interesting responses . . . all slightly off base.

    The article outlines several instances which are 1 in ten million occurrences and proceeds to say that we are doing a bad job of “policing ourselves”. We must offer perfection to keep others from imposing security measures on us.

    Wrong. There are much more practical approaches to security.

    In fact little in the article or the responses really addresses security. Real security to prevent preventable abuses of aviation assets in this country.

    The commentators seem to approach this issue as a political science academic exercise bringing in war theory and the Constitution.

    Off base once more.

    Terrorism is another name for high crimes, not war. Until we get away from the “we are at war” approach, we can not make ourselves less vulnerable to these criminals.

    What we need is a police force charged with gathering intelligence, infiltrating groups that would commit crimes which are categorized as terror and work with cooperative agencies around the world on this global problem. We need to fund them well and get them personnel and technology that can do the job. And we need to bring criminals to justice as early in the process called terrorism as possible. That is the American way.

    Back to the point. What should we ask of the FAA or the TSA?
    Well, we need to insist that proposed programs define what threats they are addressing, what results they seek, and how the program will attain those results as well as what “collateral” costs are there to the public. Further, we need to determine what the cost will be. Then they in the government, we and our elected representatives can make sound decisions.

    And, by the way, the two people who flew small planes into buildings; sad and almost unavoidable. Only if people who knew them personally or to whom they made complaints had recognized their very deep problems and reported it to the law enforcement organization I referenced above would there be a chance at diversion. Without this “on the ground” (pardon the pun) input to an organization prepared to accept it, no government agency or police force could possibly have prevented this unless we, as citizens, are prepared to accept a very broad, very repressive un-American style programs that are far worse than the problem.

    I am not prepared to accept such programs. And, by the way, using the criterion I have set forth, these approaches really don’t seem to measure up anyway.

  12. Jeff says

    The comments are good, but let’s not get it to be Obama and Dems vs. Bush et al Reps. It’s not as simple as that. One side is rightist the other leftist. The extremes of either of these are totalitarian Fascism and Communism. Trotsky said the difference between left wing and right wing totalitarianism is like the the difference between dogs%^& and Cat#@$%.
    The Franklin quote should be heeded. A blueprint should be drawn. Paranoia strikes deep. Homeland Security sounds a lot like, “Heimat Sicherheit” from Hitler. Watch being manipulated from either side and let’s not make this about Dems/Obama and Reps/—Pick a name Bush I, II or Reagan; just remember that Eisenhower said beware the military-industrial complex. If you follow the money, you’ll find the problems with security and our government.
    My 2 cents,
    CAVU
    Jeff

    P.S.”its” is the possessive pronoun of “it” and “it’s” is a contraction of “it is”! Did some of you guys skip grammar school? Hope you read the regs and tune the freqs better than your grammar.

    P.S.S. CAVU

  13. GD Davidson says

    Of course, someone who wants to make his living selling airport security to general aviation airports is going to say we need more security. It equates to more money in his pocket book.
    I think that I’m going to open up a consulting business going around to airports and explaining how airport security businesses are endangering aviation by taking our eye off the ‘real’ target.

  14. says

    Mr. Hook,
    Your summation is correct – we must get and stay engaged. However, I believe you have not spoken strong enough. Weak, compromising attitudes and actions offer nothing more than ammunition for “government leaders” whose only goals are to destroy freedom, our constitution and gain control of our people and society.

    If the few incidences involving General Aviation are acts of terrorism that warrant the destruction of individual freedom, then we as a free people are doomed. I believe you agree to this statement, but you speak to softly.

    Lets make people who drive their trucks and cars have driving plans, develop “no drive zones” so those who enter without “government permission” can be stopped by any means, including being shot. Yes, that may be what we should do! After all, most worldwide terrorist acts are done by individuals, individuals driving their suicide cars/trucks. Some terrorists acts are even done by bus, train or plane. Ergo, lets control all of these activities. What fools we are!

    I do not understand what makes Mr. Hook a General Aviation “Expert”. To me he as bent on helping destroy General Aviation and freedom because he is not willing to speak with strong words. Please do not let Mr. Hook be a spokesman for either General Aviation or me.

    BTW, whatever criteria General Aviation News uses to define you as a General Aviation Expert should apply to me too! I have been flying GA aircraft for more than 50 years; I controlled airplanes for more than 17 years; I am the Airport Manager at a mid-sized General Aviation Airport; I am a Board Member of State Airport Association; I hold a Master’s Degree in Aviation Management; I advocate and serve GA almost every waking moment of the day. Yet, I do not consider myself a GA expert! What possibly makes Mr. Hook an expert? However, I know that the protection of freedom does and must trump all other actions/activities and Mr. Hook should always make that goal clear and foremost.

    I have many friends whose names appear on the Viet Nam wall in Washington D.C. They all earned their place on that wall defending freedom! The freedom to make stupid and/or weak comments like some of those contained in your article. We do not need to “stay engaged” with Homeland Security, the TSA or the government. We need to stop them in their tracks!! Freedom is not free and must be paid for with a strong desire to remain free. Freedom must be defended with straight language, not bullshit or weak-kneed politically safe comments. For example – what the TSA is doing or attempting to do to GA is simply stupid. Those attempting to take control of GA in the guise of “security” are ignorant and do not take the Constitution of The United States of America to heart. What if they attempted to take over the freedom our citizens have to travel when and where they want via our highways and roads? Why, the citizens of the United States would stand up and simply say NO MORE. However, they like the camel, will “get their nose under the tent” by controlling a tiny segment of our population and finally by “getting totally inside Freedom’s tent” and destroying freedom. Remove any government employee or elected/appointed person who will not preserve freedom above all else.

    Why not take strong action against terrorists? When they perform an act of terrorism, retaliate against their supporters and/or handlers with unmistakable force. When a terrorist act destroys a building and causes 300 deaths then retaliate. Destroy ten of their sacred buildings and exterminate 1,000 of their supporters. Terrorists understand force, they do not understand stupid acts of “protection”. Gonna look for terrorists, then really look for them. Profiling is and always has been an important tool security folks use to counter criminal or terrorist acts – use profiling to help stop the terrorists. Do not give them a chance to speak out or even become free after catching them. No trial, only punishment because they are terrorists, not criminals. Such actions are probably not the best actions we should take without serious consideration of why and who the action is directed against – but they are actions we must take to preserve all freedoms, not just those of GA.

    We must take action’s against terrorism that makes our intent clear. Our intent should be simple – Do Not Forgo Any Citizen Of The United States Of America’s Freedom in the guise of security or safety for all. Do everything we can to protect and nurture freedom with foresight, force and a clear intent that all terrorists will understand! But in no case and at no time should we as a free society restrict or compromise freedom!

    Mr. Hook – I understand and appreciate your thoughts concerning the protection of GA freedoms. But they are not strong enough because the future of General Aviation Security is not the challenge and our GA community is not at a crossroads. The protection of Freedom is the challenge and our entire society is at the crossroads! What additional and stronger actions are you going to take to overcome the challenge and take us beyond the crossroad?

    Respectfully,
    Steven R. Hulland
    Capt. USMC (Ret) and
    Protector of Freedom

  15. says

    Gentlemen: I agree with most of what has already been written above so I am going to try to not repeat what I have read. As I see it, we are persecuting our good citizens and protecting the terroists and encouraging illegal immigration. We have already given away a great deal of our country and our liberties and there may not be much hope unless we change it quickly. Our main weapon is a at the ballot box where all the politician’s morals and ethics reside. We’d better use that weapon wisely. Unfortunately, we have a huge number of single item voters who don’t or can’t think past their next presumed benefit. I began flying in 1957 and still fly two sometimes three days a week for pleasure. I hope I can cross the river before we lose too many more of our freedoms. I believe it has been about forty years since I began saying, “If you pay people to write regulations they keep writing regulations” DUH !!

  16. says

    The only security GA needs it just common sense. Lock ‘em up, put ‘em in a hangar and lock it, or if tied down use a prop lock. Is there a GA airport that doesn’t have commercial aviation where the pilots don’t know who belongs there? Are we to discourage fence hangers as well? I see a fence hanger with kids I usually offer them a ride… depending on what they look like.<:-)) It doesn't take long talking to some one to find out what kind of interest they have in aviation whether they have kids with them or not.

    I have to agree with "The Doc" in I see these agencies as not caring what we think, but only back off when opposition is overwhelming "and public"

    GA is already in bad shape and with a badly declining pilot population. This pilot population is a major source of pilots for the airlines rather than the military as it was in years past.

    Add a bunch of misguided regulations in the name of security and small airports may become a thing of the past. Many of those small airports have a lot of business travelers.

    Me? I already avoid the larger airports just because they are pain.

  17. Greg Bentley says

    Dear Mr. Hook,
    Your letter was a real shocker and a eye opener for what is coming in the future for “us” freedom loving pilots. I am not sure what type of contraption you are planning to sell the federal government, but I think the real threat to general aviation comes from the men of your caliber. As a commercial pilot, former Army aviator and tax payer, I think “we” Americans can police our own community airports from imaginary threats much better than a truck load of out of shape minimum wage federal employees equipped with walkie-talkies. In the meant time our safety lies in our second amendment rights. You might trying getting a copy of the US Constitution and write about that for a while.

    PS: Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin is looking for a few good men.

  18. Richard Tracy says

    The most-important thing to remember is that nothing proposed in LASP nor expected in its revised form would have done anything to stop any of the many scenarios the writer covered. Zip…zilch…nada…

    But by golly we can sure brace ourselves for more security theater if we succumb to (a) the idea that we just need to decide how much we want to be Big Brothered or (b) become convinced that any of this tripe can or will stop the unknown, determined, meets-all-the-rules attacker.

    Can’t be done.

    Think if it: how effective is confiscating a flight-crew captain’s nail clippers when you’re still letting him fly the plane?

  19. HardCase says

    The best word that I could come up with to describe BIG SIS and her TSA ship of fools is QUIXOTIC. Jousting at windmills is all they are doing. Until they close the borders, look for REAL and not imaginary terrorist, and act like our employees and not the employee of BIG Daddy Warbucks, I don’t think that GA will be safe.

    To put it mildly, I fear TSA, and gubmit more than I fear terrorists.

  20. Phil says

    There are a number of political organizations with which pilots can cooperate. One them is Downsize DC (www.downsizedc.org). Their primary focus is on passing the “Read the Bills Act,” which requires that politicians must read any bill they vote on, and that such bills are posted on the internet for a reasonable time prior to votes, so that the public can comment. Another of their efforts is to pass the “One Subject at a Time Act,” which would disallow the policy of attaching unrelated riders or amendments to bills. Passing these two bills would go a long way toward eliminating sneak attacks on GA.

    Another initiative which ought to be pursued vigorously is to disallow the practice of departments or agencies passing rules without congressional or court scrutiny. These agencies are generally over-impressed with their own “superior” intellect, and pay no attention to the Constitutional limitations of government.

  21. G Captain says

    Mr. Hook,

    Your comments are correct and the scariest part of it all is that the LASP issue is going to be slapped back in the faces of American, FAA, US Licensed Pilots/Citizens AGAIN!
    When did U.S. citizens become the terror threat?
    WE ARE NOT THE THREAT or PROBLEM!
    As a 35 year professional pilot, I am completely fed-up with the idea of being subjected to fingerprinting, background checks, audits and suspicion in general from a government that allowed 9-11 to even occur by it’s lack of enforcement and due diligence to keep foreigners that should be receiving this type of background audit prior to entering this country.
    Non of the TSA’s proposed LASP rules are going to do a single, solitary thing in stopping anyone from doing anything they want.Paranoid government/TSA moron’s are attempting to build their TSA pyramid bigger on the lives and jobs of innocent U.S. Pilots. All U.S. pilots need to take a stand NOW and stop this agency from victimizing more Americans in the as they say “Name of Safety”.
    Strip downs at the airport today, Fingerprints and Background checks at your hangar tomorrow!
    Write your legislators now!

  22. L P Morton says

    It simply boils down to keeping GA out of the TSA’s grasp!

    We as GA pilots must protect our freedom and craft from this government and we must be diligent in making sure we do our part in keeping dead beats out of GA. That means doing out own security work and helping with the process of ID’ing bad guys!

  23. V Man says

    Dave:

    Your article demonstrates how few actual events have triggered such large scale governmental intrusions into our right to own and operate general aviation aircraft. Of the myriad of American flight operations annually, the fact that a few of these operations were initiated with malice should not offset the fact of how safe American general aviation actually is as a whole. These intrusions being pushed on us from the DHS and or the TSA can be bucked by us at the local level, and can be quelled by federal legislators, some whom helped create this problem to begin with.

    At your local airport, stand up for your rights; press your local airport director, manager or administrator to make sure they 1.) Understand 49 USC sections applicable to your local airport, and insist that the local airport doesn’t “patrol and control” one iota more than allowed by the law that is on the books; I challenge airport governance personnel, law enforcement and the TSA about providing me with the law that enables them to ask that I comply to their requests; 2.) Ask your local airport governance personnel if they posses a copy of, or even have read The Declaration of Independence, and The Constitution of The United States of America (many have taken oaths to uphold these documents); then ask them if they understand the foundation of our heritage, “…all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”; 3.) General Aviation Airport tenants, pilots and affected parties, should continuously monitor and keep a running tally of the local government’s and TSA’s unfounded interference with our God given rights to peaceably own and operate general aviation aircraft; then periodically present these grievances to their superiors, and then to their superiors if necessary.

    By communicating with and attending every available town hall meeting that your local assemblymen or senators may hold, and put them on public notice about their intentions of reeling in the DHS and the TSA places pressure on these legislators to allocate their time and resources to focus on watering down the powers of DHS and TSA. If there is enough pressure from America’s general aviation constituency base, then laws and tactics used to enforce those laws can be changed.

    It’s all about taking personal responsibility for one’s actions, and insisting that all those around you do the same. We can take back this country and help get DHS and TSA out of our day to day lives; however, it is a never ending battle that requires consistent persistence. The effort is well worth the alternative of succumbing to this country becoming more socialistic or fascist.

  24. says

    Ok … I have tried writing to my “elected representatives” the result so far has been to be included in their mailings, and their self promoting press releases..at no time has there been an attempt to answer my questions or acknowledge any sugestion..this includes the person acting as my representative (Sam Johnson, the most usless member of the House of Representives) John Cornin ,Senator (great public speaker, but of little consiquence.)Writing to the President is as bad as the others.. never get anything but platitudes from a “staff member” who knows next to nothing about GA. So now we are down to the nitty gritty… who do you contact? Who can understand the needs of GA? I ask ,but so far no answer.The best written appeal for aid ,is an excercise in futility.
    After over 40 years in GA I cannot hope to continue,especially when there doesent seem to be any way to change ,slow or stop the enroachment of the freedoms we used to have.Each time I hear about how potentially dangerous small airplanes could be I think of the 2 Embassy’s in Africa,The Oklahoma City Government building, The first attempt on the Towers in New York,and I wonder why there hasent been a hue and cry about the trucks on our streets, including on the streets of Washington D.C.(a city where we are denied access to DCA, but the trucks can supply the airport with no problem.) I am almost at the point of writting off GA, and just remembering all the great times and the ease of doing business nationwide that no longer exist.

  25. Lord Bowdon says

    Let’s accept two facts:

    1. The Obama administration would like to see private aviation eradicated so that only he and his favored ones can enjoy the freedom of the skies.

    2. The TSA has far too many employees sitting at desks with nothing to do but dream up the regulation of the week.

    3. The biggest terrorist attack on US soil, excluding 9/11, was Timothy McVeigh and a rental truck.

    Points 1 and 2 have given rise to:

    1. TSA-8F, which, had it passed, would have made the benefits of flying your own plane worthless. A 2 hr door to door flight would have become 6hrs with all the compliance and waiting required.

    2. EPA mandating no lead Avgas. Never mind that no-one has even been able to measure lead in the atmosphere at the end of an airport runway, the EPA is being used to ground GA.

    Point 3 has been ignored. Joe Public can still rent a Ryder truck without a background check, load it with far more explosives than can be packed in a GA plane, and park it in the basement garage of an office building.

    Until we recognize that the TSA focus on “security” is a smokescreen for a co-ordinated populist government assault on private aviation, and “security” is being mentioned to get the support of the great unwashed, we will lose a very basic freedom, the freedom to travel without hindrance by the government.

    And, to the great unwashed, if you think this only affects the top 1% with their planes, wait until the government issues you with your GPS monitor for your car so that you can pay the “miles traveled tax”. With the GPS in your car, the government will be able to monitor your every move!

    So it is obviously critical to get EVERYONE who believes in freedom to oppose any further TSA mandates against GA

  26. says

    We need to work as diligently as possible to keep TSA and HLS noses out of GA’s and everyone elses’ business. Their “game” is not security, but rather “theater” for the purpose of distraction, control, and the dismantling of liberty.

  27. 172 Pilot says

    I’ll be willing to submit to more security for GA as soon as the TSA applies the same security measures to large trucks, of which there are many more than GA aircraft, and which ply the highways and can hold much more in the way of explosives than our aircraft can. The three documented instances of misuse of and damage by GA aircraft since 9/11 pales in comparison to the damage done in Oklahoma City with a small truck. It’s time for people like you to point this out rathder than meekly sit back and accept more government interference with our personal freedom.

  28. John P. says

    I have to agree with Frank Q. Efforts to improve aviation security are just expensive boondoggles. After spending billions of dollars, it was the passengers on flight 253 that stopped the underwear bomber in 2009, not the government. I fully expect the pilots and crew of business class aircraft would demonstrate the same courage.

    As for light plane, yes they get stolen, and yes they sometimes crash. Let’s keep in perspective that more people have died from rental cars, buses, restaurant food and talking on their cell phones than from illegal activity in light planes, but the fearmongers need to protect us from those crazy small planes. Airport security is one of the few growth industries that requires no practical results.

  29. Robert Murray says

    There will be increases in so-called security measures, not because the threats are necessarily increasing or the means to deal with effective, but because it has become big business, filled with self appointed experts and people with gadgets to sell. But technology and punditry will not solve our problems unless there are intelligent people to make sense of the findings. And scrutinizing every piece of chaff to find a kernel of wheat is a poor way to harvest results.

  30. Vervoort Karel says

    Did you realize, like me, that in all the examples that were cited, it all came down to American citizens themselves, either old or new naturalized Americans. Who did fail? The system that made them Americans without follow-up and the extremists of all kinds, anarchists, that finally decided they would become famous through suicide actions and designed to take a maximum of people with their sick minds. So, stop talking about the “exterior ennemies”. Identify timely those interior ennemies, people that go bezirk!

  31. says

    I concur that we have to part of the solution, not part of the problem. But many object to even the simplest efforts we can make: How much more time does it take to lock your aircraft when parked? How prohibitively expensive is a simple throttle or prop lock? Why do we allow strangers free access to our ramps under the guise of being “good neighbors?” Yet, many object to even these simple steps. If we don’t act, Big Brother will – and we won’t like HIS solutions!

  32. Gerhard says

    I love aviation it was my dream to learn how to fly and enjoy the freedom it gives one.
    more security for what just another way to control and limit ones freedom. All this is another way of paranoia which has a grip on this country for nothing.
    they people who will do evil will do it no matter how much so called security you but in place. All it does is restrict control and take away the freedom of flying for those who are ordinary citizens.
    I just challenge everyone How much more BS are you people willing to but up with before all your freedom has been taken away

  33. The Doc says

    An excellent article Mr. Hook…your points well taken. One thing you didn’t highlight is the fact that the current government in power “DOESN’T WANT OUR HELP”. Furthermore, it believes we (the foundation of the aviation industry in this nation) “are part of the problem”. Just gnats getting in the way of “their progress”. A progress they think is good for the country, whether it is or not! Believe me, they don’t care what we think and don’t really want our input and have and will continue to ignore it, unless a huge objection is made that highlights the fact that many of them are fools “without credentials”! “No through the fence activity” and LASP are just “moronic and unrealistic programs” designed by those of “limited or zero” aviation knowledge and expertise, who have been “appointed” to fulfill a roll in government (regulation), for which they are completely unqualified!
    That is the problem! I know, I’ve tried numerous time to “interact” with this “group” and they are “uninterested and unresponsive” to our ideas and suggestions to provide “practical solutions”!

  34. Paul Warman says

    When are the people who run the federal government going to revert to the Constitution of the United States and “provide for the common defense”?
    We need a Nation ID Card system and nobody gets into the country without being vetted. Defiling people with disabilities and small children has to stop.
    The Nazis at the airports are doing nothing except giving the “bad guys” a good laugh at our expense.
    I am a Viet Nam era vet. I have an artificial hip. I have/had prostate cancer. I don’t need to be fondled by hamburger flippers or eradiated more than I have already been in service of my country.

  35. says

    Public SAFETY – The Fight

    Mr. Hook,

    People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both. … He who gives up freedom for safety deserves neither. …. Think innocently and justly; and, if you speak, speak accordingly… Ben Franklin

    You are right. We need to get involved. The political winds are going to backlash in our favor as they seem to do after a horrible political decision. Administrations come and go but our freedoms, if they go will be gone. The fact is 30% of the country are cool-aid drinkers. They are well educated, hold positions of political power and feel they know better than the rest of us. As an engineer I have seen these professors first hand.

    The time for us appreciating those who died for freedom is over; at least from the sidelines. It is time for the appreciation to turn into emulation; all of us need to join the fight, learn the stance of our enemy and erode their power base politically. It is as simple as assigning responsibilities and holding people accountable. Politicians must be scrutinized and public officials need to be held accountable. Getting involved without knowing the root of how these problems evolve is NOT going to be fruitful.

    I would suggest a blue print of actions to preserve our rights. I see your point but being new to the desire to own my own plane and fly, I am frustrated with the lack of confidence I am building in this industry. Financially it’s tough enough, then learning the restrictions legally to fly and not die, finding that mother nature can ground you, let alone having this new political ideology rob us of the freedom as well.

    I think it would be more effective for all of the readers if we were given a solid direction, marching orders so to speak. We need a game plan that those few of us who are hanging onto what you are saying can use to maximize our impact on the problem. Who is the political enemy? Where the enemy? Having terrorists is only half the problem; it is the governments interpretation of actions that need to be taken that are what is going to limit out freedoms. see again Ben Franklin’s statement above.

    It took 30% of the political winds to sway us into this direction. We need to generate our own 30% winds to sway it back. So…what exactly do we do? Who do we call? What is the point of our message and where do we look for the 30% +++ to mount a counter opposition to the TSA style approach the government has.

    The ideological notions of 30% of the american people have allowed for this. The problems we have right now were not created by our enemies, (terrorists) they were created by politicians who lost their way or worse by those who have ill intent for the freedoms we have. These people have lost their way and/or were manipulated in life to serve a purpose. These people see their perspective as intellectually sound and their thinking as superior. They crave one thing and that is power. The only way to make the changes we need are to identify those who we can promote to the task of representation. Conservatism is the promotion of freedom, but even conservatives forget and promote their own power base instead of the freedoms they have promised us to promote UNLESS we get involved.

    I loved every bit of what you have written, I just feel for those of us who do not know the system we need more of a blue print to operate under. We need a list of those people we can directly influence or vote out of power. POWER to the Pilots!!!!

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