FAA seeking comments on new flight blocking proposal

The FAA is accepting comments until June 8 on its latest proposal to allow pilots to block their flight information from public view.

Last June, the FAA announced it was ending the Block Aircraft Registration Request (BARR) program, which would make all flight information available to the public, unless a pilot could prove a “certified security concern.” GA groups and pilots vehemently opposed the move, saying it would create a multitude of problems, from competing companies learning sensitive information based on executive travel to the potential stalking of celebrities and other public figures.

After the outcry, Congress reinstated the BARR program in the appropriations bill passed in December, directing the FAA to come up with a new proposal. Earlier this month, the agency issued its proposed rules for participation in the program, which is now dubbed Aircraft Situation Display to Industry (ASDI) and National Airspace System Status Information (NASSI).

The new policy would require aircraft owners to submit their requests to block their information on their own behalf, sending the agency specific information such as N-number and contact information to facilitate approval. “The receipt of this information could influence whether the FAA can add or delete aircraft from the ASDI block list in a timely way,” officials said in a public filing. Aircraft already on the blocked list will be automatically included under the new policy.

In the latest proposal there will be two levels of blocking: At the FAA level and at the industry level. Information blocked at the FAA level means no one — including the owner — will be able to track the aircraft, “although the FAA supplies unfiltered data to other government agencies.” Industry level blocking will make the information available to aircraft owners and others they permit to view the information to aid in tracking flights.

To make your voice heard on the new proposal, go to Regulations.gov. Docket number is FAA–2011–0183.



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