FAA restores BARR to let pilots block flight info

Pilots on IFR flights will no longer have to submit a Certified Security Concern to the FAA in order to prevent their flight information from being broadcast over the Internet. FAA officials announced the reversal Friday, Dec. 2, after Congress ordered it in the fiscal year 2012 appropriations bill.

Previously pilots could “opt out” of having their information released publicly. This was called Block Aircraft Registration Request (BARR). Then, on Aug. 2 of this year, the FAA moved to impose the restriction of the valid security certificate. Many pilots, particularly business flyers, were concerned that making the information public would be an invasion of privacy and let terrorists or competitors know the actions of company personnel.

The National Business Aviation Association and Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association challenged the FAA’s actions in court and the Experiment Aircraft Association joined later as a friend of the court. All went to Congress for help. In the 2012 appropriations bill passed by Congress, the FAA was ordered to again make BARR available.

General aviation leaders who had worked to restore BARR expressed their thanks to those who brought it about. Ed Bolen, president and CEO of NBAA, was quick to comment. “NBAA and its members,” he said, “thank the leaders in Congress for taking action to address our industry’s long-standing concern that curtailment of the BARR program represents an invasion of privacy, a competitive threat to businesses, and a potential security risk. We commend the administration for working with our industry to implement this change.”

Craig Fuller, president and CEO of AOPA, said: “We are pleased to have the BARR program back in operation. On behalf of our AOPA members, we thank the leaders in Congress and the administration who recognize the importance of assuring a measure of privacy protection to individuals operating their own aircraft.”

EAA was equally pleased. “We appreciate the efforts of those in Congress who acted to preserve the privacy rights of aviators within the BARR program,” said Rod Hightower, EAA president and CEO. He said he applauded the efforts of those within the aviation community who worked together on this important issue.

Although BARR is reinstated, the FAA’s actions are not complete. The FAA says it is developing a permanent policy that will be posted in the Federal Register early next year for public comment.

For more information: FAA.gov

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