Flight instructors blindsided by GAO report

When you eat bananas, the best people to ask how the bananas taste are those who eat bananas. When you want to know about growing bananas, you ask those who grow the bananas. So if you do an investigative report dealing with flight instruction, wouldn’t you go to those involved in teaching student pilots?

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Latest General Aviation Security Magazine released

General Aviation News’s GA Security blogger, Dave Hook, has released the Summer 2012 edition of his General Aviation Security Magazine. It’s chock full of interesting articles from a number of guest authors. Check it out here.

General aviation airport inspections and the TSA

In my previous post I covered what an agent of the TSA could “request” of a general aviator. Because the article was so regulation intense, I sent an early draft to the TSA’s Office of Strategic Communications and Public Affairs for comment. They afforded me the courtesy of a review with useful comments by my requested deadline. Thank you.

I want to share two comments from my reviewer that go further into TSA authority and assistance. The first comment pertains to the authority of the TSA to conduct airport inspections. The second deals with a useful resource that’s been around a while, but is still worthy of mention.

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Of airport BBQs and the TSA

I am partial to barbeques, so when I received a recent invitation to go to a local airport and enjoy a free barbeque lunch and escape the office, I jumped at the opportunity.

I had the pleasure of enjoying my pulled-pork sandwich and iced tea with some local aviators that call the airport home. The opportunity to sit outside, talk about airplanes, and swap flying stories was a like a breath of fresh air. It sure beats reading intelligence reports and legislative proposals!

While my lunch buddies and I took turns swapping stories, one told me that a pair of officials from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) had been walking around and asking questions at the airport recently. According to my picnic tablemate, the single biggest question posed by the agents was why airplanes didn’t have propeller locks installed when they were parked behind locked hangar doors. I was more concerned about why the two were there in the first place and that my lunch buddy somehow felt compelled to answer their questions.

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Are you vulnerable to a default attack?

This is a quick warning concerning CCTV systems. If you continue to use the default username and password for your Internet-based, remote-viewing-enabled CCTV cameras, you may have already been hacked, according to Wired Magazine’s Kim Zetter.

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Security toolkit from across the pond

I want to share a resource with you that takes high level security concepts and brings them down to earth. Do you want to know the latest ideas on security lighting? Maybe you don’t, not because security lighting isn’t important, but perhaps you’re too busy to read and digest the meaning of an author’s words. Wouldn’t it be easier to see examples of, say, bad and good security lighting?

Security by Design, a part of the Association of Chief Police Officers and headquartered in London, England, created a practical toolkit for improving security. The toolkit deals with residential areas, but with a little imagination the concepts it presents can easily be applied to airports and airport businesses.

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An open letter to President Obama

I want to thank all who took the time to respond to my previous blog, “Couldn’t sign the user fee petition? Here’s help.” As promised, I sent your names and information to the White House as the attachment to the cover letter below. This response was sent both by email and the U.S. Postal Service.

We are still way below the needed 25,000 respondents on the petition. When I last checked the site we were up to less than 5,700. That’s more than when we started, but not even close to what we need. Remember, those who register their disapproval of aviation user fees do NOT have to be general aviators. They can be family members, friends, acquaintances, and so on. We have until May 16.

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Couldn’t sign the user fee petition? Here’s help

I’ve been receiving emails from readers who wanted to sign the petition against user fees, but couldn’t. Here is what I propose we do: If you send me the same registration information that was required, I will consolidate it and send it to President Obama.

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User fees…Only 3,035 against?

Really? Are there only 3,035 general aviators out there who are against paying a $100 per flight user fee?

Click here to sign the petition. If you’re not already convinced, then please read on.

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Disaster recovery — Preparation is key to succes

Now that we’re past the first day of spring it’s time to start planning for two important seasons ahead: Hurricane and wildfire. According to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), hurricane season begins May 15 for the Eastern Pacific and June 1 for the Atlantic. Both end on Nov. 30. For those who live and work in places where you are sure that hurricane season is of little concern, you may have a wildfire season to consider. Sorry, there’s no definite nationwide start and stop date for wildfire season because wildfire season is regional, based upon the local flora, and highly dependent upon the weather.

I’m sure that some of you are asking yourselves, “Hey, what’s a security guy doing writing about disaster recovery?” [Read more...]