The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association reported on Dec. 16 that the Transportation Security Administration has issued a directive requiring background checks for general aviation pilots based at airports served by airlines, starting next year.
Pilots who pass the background check will receive an ID badge allowing them access to the airport where they are based. The directive will not affect transient pilots, AOPA said. They will continue to be subject to the current escorting and monitoring requirements already in place at airports serving air carriers. Currently, most airports exclude GA operations from these security requirements, but that is about to change.
“Pilots have long operated without incident on these airports, and it is surprising that the TSA appears to have implemented such a significant new mandate with no notification or discussion,” said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. “It will have a significant impact on pilots and airports in many small communities across the country.”
Meanwhile, the TSA has announced a series of public hearings, to be held in January, where it will hear public reaction to the Large Aircraft Security Program, which has met with considerable opposition in the aviation world. The National Business Aviation Association has listed details about the hearings, as well as its analysis of the TSA proposals, at its Web site. The hearings will be held on various dates in January, in White Plains, N.Y.; Atlanta, Ga., Chicago, Ill.; Burbank, Calif.; and Houston, Texas.