A new aviation organization called Stop LASP has posed “Six questions for Michael Chertoff” concerning Homeland Security’s proposed restrictions on general aviation aircraft weighing more than 12,500 pounds.
The group points out that ground vehicles are far more likely to be used by terrorist operations than are aircraft, yet no similar restrictions are proposed for them.
“Vans and small trucks, capable of carrying hundreds of times the payloads of aircraft, outnumber aircraft a million times over,” wrote the organization’s Russell Still. “The expenditure of resources allocated to limitation of general aviation is a huge misuse,” he stated. “It is clearly an effort aimed at appeasing the public with visible action, in spite of the fact that it does very little to address the real objective (i.e. stopping terrorist acts). If the TSA was truly interested in effectiveness rather than appearance, they would be addressing the problem from an objective and statistical basis,” Still wrote.
The group’s questions are:
(1) What is the threat to America’s national security that demands that private (general) aviation in this country be crippled with concomitant loss of productivity, loss of personal liberty and adverse impacts on aircraft manufacturing, sales and servicing in the USA?
(2) Would not TSA’s resources be better spent keeping the terrorists out of our country rather than destroying the civil liberties and productivity of law-abiding American citizens? After all, it is not the machine (whether aircraft, truck or ship) that presents the danger. It is the terrorist.
(3) Did the TSA engage in a meaningful and honest assessment of what this proposed rule will cost the United States in terms of productivity at a time when our economy is crippled?
(4) Does the TSA understand the difference between “common carriage,” where a certificated air carrier must provide air transportation to anybody who buys a ticket or is willing to charter an air taxi flight, as opposed to private (general) aviation, where individuals and corporations employ their aircraft for business, humanitarian and recreational purposes?
(5) Are the numbers in the TSA proposal that purport to quantify the adverse economic impact on general aviation realistic and candid or, rather, has the TSA obscured the true and inevitable economic impact of this program on general aviation as a viable and secure means of transportation and on the aviation community as a whole, e.g., aircraft manufacturing, aircraft servicing, aircraft insurance?
(6) The NPRM mentions future TSA security initiatives. What other initiatives or proposed rules or programs does TSA have in the development phase or under consideration for general aviation?
For information: www.stoplasp.com