An organization of pilots and business aviation interests called Stop LASP is working to end the Department of Homeland Security‘s Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP) plans to limit – severely – the use of aircraft for business and recreation.
Stop LASP is urging strong responses to the Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM), posted in the Federal Register, which initially would affect operation of airplanes weighing more than 12,500 lbs. but which, the group believes, will be extended to all non-government aircraft if allowed to go into law.
Stop LASP states that the LASP “will significantly restrict the utility of your airplane” and discusses several major issues of which general aviation aircraft owners and operators should be aware.
According to Stop LASP, the rule would:
1) Restrict items that you will be allowed to take on board your own airplane: no firearms (hunting trips? Shooting contests?); no liquids over 3 ounces (do you carry toothpaste, shampoo or wine on board?); no knives (do you carry a survival kit? Do you ever enjoy meals needing forks and knives aboard your airplane? Do you carry a pocket knife?). Many tools would be restricted: (Do employees take tools to any of your construction or work sites?).
2) You and your passengers would need to be screened prior to each and every flight to make sure that none of you are terrorists. You will not be able to vet any of these people yourself, and this includes you, your wife, your children, your parents, any guests you invite, your employees, your customers, etc.
3) You will need to ask for permission from the Federal Government (DHS) prior to each and every flight. They have no time limit on when (after you request permission) you might receive such permission. You may – probably would – face significant delays while the government gets around to granting you permission to fly.
4) You would, sometimes, need to make room for a DHS Air Marshal if they decide that, for a specific flight, they want to send one along. No room? Too bad. You will need to bump one of your passengers. And guess who gets to pay for the Air Marshal and his expenses associated with the trip? You.
5) Your pilots would need to submit to criminal background checks including fingerprinting. If you are a pilot, you will need to submit to this. Guess who will have to make sure that has been done? You. There will, of course, be significant fines if you don’t make sure this is done.
6) You would have to appoint a Director of Security, who would have to create a security manual which must be approved by the DHS. Guess who gets to pay for that? You.
7) You could be forced to submit to a third party, DHS-approved, audit of your airplane operation on a semi-annual basis. Guess who gets to pay for that audit? You.
Naturally, there is “way more to this than listed above,” Stop LASP states. “If you have any influence with any members of the House of Representatives or Senate, I strongly encourage you to use it,” says one LASP member. “If this becomes the law, your expensive airplane could become a burden rather than a tool.”
“The time to mobilize against this ridiculousness is now,” the group says, pointing out that the comment period, as specified in the NPRM, closes on Feb. 27.