Under the Large Aircraft Security Program, the US Government will have to search your plane before every flight. The TSA will know how often you fly, where you fly, and who goes with you. And yes you have to pay for it. $50 a flight.

From The TSA’s OWN Website

4 Comments »

Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP)
The Transportation Security Administration is developing a security program for GA operators to make them consistent with existing security programs for commercial aircraft of similar size.

In October 2008, TSA announced a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would strengthen the security of general aviation by further minimizing the vulnerability of aircraft being used as weapons or to transport dangerous people or materials. The proposed regulation would reduce the susceptibility of large aircraft misuse by individuals wishing to harm the U.S. and its citizens.

The LASP regulation proposes to require all U.S. operators of aircraft exceeding 12,500 pounds maximum take-off weight to implement security programs that would be subject to compliance audits by TSA.

The proposed regulation would also require operators to verify that passengers are not on the No-Fly portion of the federal government’s consolidated terrorist watch list.

The LASP will require currently unregulated general aviation operations over a specific weight threshold to adopt security measures, which would align these operations with those already regulated for security purposes.

TSA continues to enhance international and domestic general aviation security by developing a comprehensive strategy to:

•Establish baseline standards of security for general aviation operations
•Ensure that flight crews have undergone a fingerprint-based criminal history records checks check and terrorist name checks
•Designate security coordinators
•Conduct watch list matching of passengers through a TSA-approved watch list matching service provider
•Check/validate property on board for unauthorized persons and accessible weapons

All of the above is from the TSA’s own website (http://www.dhs.gov/files/programs/gc_1240515540198.shtm). I don’t see anything about the “kinder, gentler” version DeLauter and others have been selling. This is still coming.

Right now it’s at the DHS and then to go to the OMB, finally out to the public for comment. Again. Expect a short period this time and be ready with the phone calls to your elected representatives. You can also call them now.

You might look at some of the other items on that link, like the FBO issue. Instead of walking into a breezy view of the flight line, it looks like you’re going to have to walk into a fortress, just to get to your private property parked out on the ramp.

Keep listening and watching, this fight ain’t over yet.

Posted: April 27th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized

DeLauter selling hard and everybody’s buying it.

1 Comment »

Well, DeLauter is selling hard and it seems everybody’s buying it.  You see and/or hear him in Aviation International News, on the NPR, etc. telling everybody how well the NPRM process worked, that the TSA listened and has revamped, or is revamping, the Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP).

But every article I see, every quote I hear has all these qualifiers…  “likely to exempt…”, “could prove difficult to accomplish…”, “may be limited…”

The fact is, we haven’t seen the SNPRM yet and have no idea what’s in it.  The fact is there are three internal reports from the DHS and TSA that state General Aviation, to quote one of them, is a “hypothetical threat” to national security.  The facts are there are much easier targets to hit than GA, the New York subway system for example.

The kinder, gentler offering of LASP claims that all piston aircraft are exempt.  But says nothing about what happens when they might want to change that.  DeLauter says that only the pilots of mid-size jets, whatever that is, will have to go through a vetting process to earn “trusted pilot” credentials.  They got trusted when the FAA issued their certificates, you’ll recall the 9/11 terrorists told their instructors they weren’t interested in learning how to land and were not certificated pilots.  The TSA is attempting to usurp 91.3 and regulate who can be Pilot-in-Command, where is that in their charter?

And the part I like best of all, the disclaimer at the end, “This would require each air carrier airport to accept the TSA pilot vetting process, and that could prove difficult to accomplish.”  So, the TSA has the authority to tell each and every airport what type of screening passengers will have to go through, to control to a certain extent who has access to the SIDA and how they get there, yet they can’t tell an airport FSD (Federal Security Director) that a pilot, with credentials, can walk out to his airplane.  So sorry, we tried.

This isn’t about, although it started there, restricted access to flight by the federal government; this is about loss of freedom for no reason.  Remember what Franklin said;  “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Posted: April 9th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized

Remember…the final call is up to the pilot

No Comments »

Who Is Your Passenger, Really?
By Erick McDaniel

As you’re driving to the airport to meet with your student, he calls your cell phone to ask, “Hey, can I bring a passenger on today’s flight?” You consider the weight and balance and agree. But have you ever thought to ask who that passenger is – or the legal ramifications of that person joining you?

Two weeks ago, I had a student in the Caribbean tell me he wanted to fly to the Dominican Republic. He had two passengers, one of whom we’d be doing a “big favor” for.

That one, a young lady, had at least 130 pounds of luggage, and with the four of us, plus gas, this wouldn’t work in the DA40 we were set to fly. I left them to negotiate the compromise on luggage, and when they did, we loaded the airplane and did a weight and balance to ensure everything worked out.

Then things got interesting. An international flight requires clearing customs, which seemed to jangle the nerves of the passengers.

As I collected passports from my student and his passengers, I couldn’t help but notice that the woman, a “U.S. citizen,” didn’t have a U.S. passport, only a Dominican passport that expired six years ago. When I started asking questions, it became apparent that this young lady was in the country illegally, and she had overstayed her rights by years.

I put on my investigator hat and made sure I understood every aspect of the situation before I made a go/no-go decision. The bottom line was that both gentlemen knew she was here illegally, and the flight was intended to return her to the Dominican Republic without conferring with customs. In their opinion, returning her without notification would save a significant amount of heartbreak and paperwork for everyone involved.

And maybe it would have – for everyone but me, the pilot in command.

Customs departments communicate about the majority of country-moving transactions on the Internet, through systems such as eAPIS and others.

Taking this young lady to the Dominican Republic would have caused the Dominicans to notify the U.S. government that she had left our country and was now permanently back in theirs. In turn, U.S. Customs and Border Protection would sit back, scratch their heads, and set about investigating exactly how she was able to leave the country.

When they make the connection that I, as the pilot in command, flew her out without proper notification, they could arrest me, seize the aircraft, and revoke my pilot certificates. No single flight is ever, ever worth taking that amount of risk. Doing things the right way with any governmental agency is simply the best practice – but that requires you to know the rules.

The flight was immediately canceled, and before I knew it, the young woman was gone. The gentleman accompanying her had her out the door like the building was on fire. I’ve since referred them to an immigration attorney, and they are taking steps to return her to her native country the right way.

The bottom line is, on every one of your flights, you’re the pilot in command, and whether you know what you’re doing is illegal or not, the buck stops at you.

Erick McDaniel is chief flight instructor for Bohlke International Airways in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. Share your thoughts or experiences on the business of instructing by submitting your own “Right Seat” to NAFI@eaa.org.

Posted: April 9th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized