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.

Joseph E. (Jeb) Burnside wrote this article on the EAA’s site… I’m going to use some of it…

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U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood made his first-ever visit to EAA AirVenture Thursday, labeling the event “phenomenal” and said his department and the Obama Administration are “1000 percent behind general aviation.

 

“We believe in it; it’s critical to the aviation industry in America and in the world.”

He added that his department of some 55,000 employees will do everything they can “to continue a very strong general aviation activity in America, and promote it, and do everything we can to be helpful.”

Wow, a whole Federal Department that’s for GA, and will do everything they can to continue a strong GA.  Wonder how they’d feel about taking on the DHS?

“They also provide a form of transportation people wouldn’t have if it weren’t for general aviation.”

 

Maybe he could educate Sen. Rockefeller (D-WV) about the utility of General Aviation and get him to stop with the moronic statements concerning our “ease” through security while he’s at it.

And lastly… the Secretary was…

Impressed by AirVenture’s emphasis on children
“I’m impressed with the programs that go on here,” LaHood added, commenting further on his first visit to AirVenture.

“People don’t just come here to showcase their planes; they obviously come here to learn. And I’m really impressed with this idea of getting young people involved—that is the future. No question about it.

“If you’re going to continue the legacy of Oshkosh and continue the legacy of general aviation, the best and easiest way to do it is to get young people energized and enthused,” he suggested.

“I have no doubt when these young people go up in airplanes and have a chance to meet with these aviators and meet with these general aviation enthusiasts, they get very enthused about it.” Involving the nation’s youth, Secretary LaHood concluded, is a way to ensure AirVenture will “be around for another 100 years.”

 

Well guess what?  If the TSA has its way with LASP and all the other things still out there (SD-8G, Operation Playbook, etc.), THERE WON’T BE ANY CHILDREN INVOLVED.

Why would they have anything to do with airplanes since they can’t hang around the fence and maybe, just maybe, they can lend a hand and get close to any airplane?  This is where the pilots of my generation started, pumping gas, washing planes.  Can’t do that anymore, no SIDA badge.

So, I would offer another plan, the way to ensure AirVenture is around another 100 years is to get the TSA and DHS to drop this LASP program, drop the other draconian efforts to stifle GA in this country and have them go find some bad guys.

So, add him to the list:

Secretary LaHood, U.S. Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Ave, SE
Washington, DC 20590

Or call: 202-366-4000 Monday through Friday between 8:30 am and 5:30 pm EST excluding Federal Holidays.

He is right about one thing, children are the future.  When I watch mine wipe down the airplane or help with the annual, just so we can go flying and I can hear “Dad, can we go upside down?”  It brings a tear some times when I remember my grandfather talking about the mail planes when they still had open cockpits…  LASP, SD-8G, Playbook, will kill all of that, every single bit.

Posted: July 31st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized

From the latest Avweb.com newsletter…

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TSA Expands GA Initiatives

The latest administrator of the Transportation Security Administration, John Pistole, visited EAA AirVenture on Monday along with Janet Napolitano, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. They said the nationwide “If You See Something, Say Something” DHS campaign will be expanded to general aviation, and the process for crossing the border in a GA aircraft will be simplified. Starting Sept. 1, pilots will be able to file a single manifest to meet both the TSA requirements and those of Customs and Border Protection. Officials from both AOPA and NBAA were quoted in a DHS news release as encouraged by the changes.

“This decision demonstrates [TSA and CBP] commitment to improving the efficiency of the system for all users,” said AOPA President Craig Fuller. NBAA President Ed Bolen added: “We thank the TSA and DHS for working with industry on these measures, which will be fully effective and workable as a result of our collaboration.”

Once again, the TSA “reaches out” to GA… well, depends on how you cut it. 

While any of us should already know the concept of “If You See Something, Say Something” (remember my ‘locks were made to keep honest people honest’ statement), it’s a good revamp of the Airport Watch Program.

But…

Why are we still waiting with bated breath the publication of SNPRM LASP?  If we have all these programs, four for Part 135 operations alone, why do we need LASP?  Since at least three studies by the DHS/TSA have admitted that GA is not an actual threat to National Security, why do we get LASP?  Since an SUV parked in Times Square as already been used by terrorists as a possible venue for a terrorist attack, why is GA in the spotlight? 

Even the Austin wacko who flew into the IRS building didn’t do that much damage (that is not to minimize the event, merely point out the differences in a small GA airplane and an airliner’s use as a Weapon of Mass Destruction).  Previous statements by the intelligence community concerning Bin Laden’s decision to NOT use GA because they don’t cause ENOUGH DAMAGE should indicate, again, that our freedom to fly doesn’t need to be curtailed for terrorism.  Certainly our freedom to drive SUVs in downtown NY hasn’t been curtailed.

And, starting September 1 the TSA and Custom can use the same form.  Whew!  Glad to see that paperwork is paperwork is finally recognized by those in DC.  Because Abdul and Osama will certainly fill all the squares while attempting to smuggle contraband, like an NBC threat, into the country.  I feel much safer now that Joe Tourist who wants to fly his Cessna to Canada and back can use one form.

I recently came back from a wonderful airshow in upstate New York.  Every year a group of WWI aircraft fly down from Canada and the CBP guy drives down from Rochester to sign them in.  This is a great example of service by a government employee, he stays there for hours while these guys wait out the weather to make their arrival.  Of course, when he retires, they’ll have to stop in BUF or ROC to fill out the forms and get inspected for Cuban cigars because his boss doesn’t want him down there.  Much better to have a cranky ninety year old (the DVII’s is original) engine with no starter land at BUF or ROC on concrete (instead of grass) because, by God, that’s what the rules say.  So, much for common sense.

 

Photo by Seth Goltzer

On another subject…

Some time ago DeLauter said that the DC3 program would expand for those airports, since GA’s not a threat.  So, when, exactly would that be happening?

Well, there was a meeting to explore the possibilities and they are “working the suggestions”.  Of course, the guys that benefit are those jets Senator Rockefeller talked about at Pistole’s confirmation hearing, not the little GA guys, because of the money and staff needed to fulfill all the requirements they are coming up with. 

So much for freedom of the skies.

Remember, fax or call your Congressman and Senator (it’s an election year and your vote’s up for grabs).  Keep this at the fore front so when LASP II comes up they’ll know what you’re talking about.  If they don’t like the idea, you can vote for somebody else.

After all, according to Rockefeller (D-WV) we make phones call and people jump.  Let’s put that in action!

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

Maybe DeCaprio can play him in the movie…

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Or maybe the TSA will hire him as an Aviation Security Expert, or maybe he’ll just rot behind bars like he should…

NASSAU, Bahamas – The teenage fugitive police have dubbed the “Barefoot Bandit” pleaded guilty to a minor offense in the Bahamas on Tuesday and is expected to be deported soon to the United States to face prosecution. 

 Colton Harris-Moore pleaded guilty to illegal entry into the country at his first court appearance in the Bahamas, where police ended the 19-year-old convict’s alleged two-year crime spree by capturing him following a high-speed boat chase. 

The charge stemming from his alleged crash of a stolen plane on Great Abaco Island carries a $300 fine or three months in jail, followed by deportation. His lawyer, Monique Gomez, said the U.S. Embassy would pay the fine. 

“Colton wants to go home,” Gomez said.

The shackled teen smiled after the judge read the sentence. Bahamian police had earlier said that he would face other charges including illegal weapons possession related to a string of break-ins, boat thefts and thefts during his weeklong hideout in the country. 

Prosecutors in the U.S. are preparing cases against him, however. Harris-Moore is suspected in about 70 property crimes across eight states and British Columbia, many of them in the bucolic islands of Washington state. He is accused of stealing a plane from an Indiana airport to fly to the Bahamas.

His mother, Pam Kohler, seemed relieved. 

“I’m really tired,” Kohler said from her home on Camano Island, Washington. “Yes, I look forward to seeing him.”

Asked what she planned to say to her son when she saw him, she said angrily, “What kind of question is that?” and hung up the phone. 

His arrest came as a relief to residents across rural Camano Island, where authorities say he learned to dodge police. 

“There’s a lot of relief throughout the community,” said real estate agent Mark Williams. “I think the man’s luck just wore out. You run through the woods long enough, you’re going to trip over a log.” 

Residents of the island also lashed out at the teen’s mother this week, saying her decision to hire a well-known Seattle lawyer suggests she’s trying to profit from a crime spree that police say took her son from the cedar trees in Washington to the bright beaches of the Bahamas. 

“Of course she wants the money. She doesn’t work,” said Joshua Flickner, whose family owns an island grocery store. “What makes me more angry than the fact that she’s trying to profit off this is that there’s any profit to be had.” 

The mother’s attorney downplayed any profit motive, saying Kohler contacted him for advice after being inundated by requests from news reporters as well as inquiries about book and movie deals. 

“Her feelings are relief and exhaustion,” O. Yale Lewis said. “Obviously, there is enormous interest in this story, and she wants to be careful about how to proceed. But her first concern has been to make sure her son is safe. 

“And I think she hasn’t given much thought beyond that,” he said. 

Harris-Moore told police in the Bahamas that he came to the country, located off the Florida coast, because it has so many islands, airports and docks, according to an officer who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the case. 

The teenager claimed that he told islanders he was trying to get to Cuba so he could throw police off his trail, but he intended to make his way to the Turks and Caicos Islands southeast of the Bahamas, the officer said.

The suspect learned from the Internet that the British territory has a small police force and no marine defense force, according to the officer. 

Harris-Moore spent Monday being questioned by investigators. Police Commissioner Ellison Greenslade described him as eloquent, calm, cooperative and “obviously a very intelligent young man,” but declined to say whether he made any confession. 

Kohler’s older sister, Sandra Puttmann, of Arlington, was the first relative to hear from Harris-Moore after his arrest Sunday. She said he was “holding up” but scared now that he’s in custody for the first time since he walked away from a halfway house south of Seattle. 

Harris-Moore didn’t have his mother’s phone number, she said. She gave it to him, but as of Monday night, he still had not spoken with Kohler. 

“I’m so glad he got through to me,” Puttmann said. “At least he heard a friendly voice. We cried together.”

Puttmann declined to divulge further details of what she described as their brief phone conversation Sunday. But she angrily criticized news stories about her nephew, saying reporters typically gloss over his difficult upbringing. 

Police routinely accused him of stealing even when he hadn’t and school officials didn’t give him a chance, she said — something police and school officials have adamantly denied. 

Harris-Moore told a psychologist in 2008 that his mother was abusive when she’d been drinking, according to a court document cited Monday by The Herald newspaper of Everett. His father left when he was a toddler, and his stepfather died when he was 7, Kohler has said. 

Emily Langlie, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle, said Tuesday she expected Harris-Moore to be flown first to the southern district of Florida. Typically, defendants make an initial court appearance in the closest federal jurisdiction to the country deporting them. 

She said the U.S. Marshals Service would then fly Harris-Moore to Seattle, where he faces a federal complaint of interstate transportation of stolen property alleging that he took a plane from Idaho and crashed it in Washington.

 “Exactly when he would arrive here is a moving target as far as I know,” she said. 

The Marshals Service in Seattle did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Posted: July 13th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized

LAX Peace Officers’ take on security

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Below is a letter from the President of the LAX Peace Officer’s Association about perceived problems with security at LAX.  You’ll notice NONE of them contain any reference to light GA type aircraft but are all concerned with vehicular traffic and damage a IED located in such a method of transportation can cause.

Yet, our DHS continues to persue a SNPRM to limit our ability to fly in and out of airports because of the threat we pose to National Security.

When we will learn?

Times Square happened and through the alertness of a street cleaner, disaster was avioded.  However, we have seen no call to limit vehicle traffic, no call to regulate truckers, no call to regulate SUVs, no traffic barriers.  The TSA’s mandate is to keep us safe on airplanes, yet Sen. Rockefeller (D-WV) is still whining about how “easy” it is to walk on an airplane at Signature in IAD versus how hard it is to get through security on the airline side, with no mention of how easy it is to park a truck somewhere close to the center of government…

LOS ANGELES (AP/KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO) – The airport police union says Los Angeles International Airport is vulnerable to terrorist attack, particularly to truck, car and luggage bombs.

In a June letter obtained by radio station KNX, Airport Peace Officers Association president Marshall McClain writes Chief George Centeno that security cutbacks have made the airport more vulnerable to terrorist attack than at any time since Sept. 11, 2001.

McClain says the airport police force is spread too thin in the central terminal area and random checks of vehicles at the airport have been curtailed.

Los Angeles World Airports executive director Gina Marie Lindsey disputes the union allegations, saying the airport police budget has increased annually since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Read Marshall McClain’s letter below:

Dear Chief Centeno:

We are writing on behalf of Airport Police and Traffic & Security Officers to request an urgent meeting with you to discuss the need to restore security cutbacks at LAX. The failed car bomb attempt in Times Square and a recent Department of Homeland Security (DHS) intelligence memo have heightened our concern about LAX’s ability to deter and respond to similar threats that the DHS says are expected to be attempted inside the United States with “increased frequency.”

Unfortunately, cost-cutting reductions in the deployment of Security Officers in the Traffic Control Unit, and police and security officers in the Central Terminal Area combined with severe cuts to the budgets for training, and the replacement of vehicles and equipment are making LAX more vulnerable to a terrorist attack than at any time since 9/11. These reductions are all the more perplexing and troublesome in light of Mayor Villaraigosa’s public statements earlier this year that LAX security would be increased.

As you know, the Rand Corporation studied LAX security in 2004 and identified the most likely attack scenarios. The top three most likely and most dangerous attacks identified by Rand were:

1. Large truck bomb: A large bomb could be concealed in a truck. If the bomb was detonated at the lower level, Rand expects a large number of deaths. This includes deaths from the curbside and baggage claim areas and at the departure level. The front portion of the terminal would be lost (both the arrival and departure levels), along with two selection of elevated roadway.

2. Curbside car bomb: A medium sized bomb detonated in the right lane in front of the line for a skycap might cause a large number of deaths. The number of deaths is every sensitive to the density and number of people standing in line.

3. Luggage bomb: A small bomb detonated in a large screening line could also produce a large number of deaths. The number of deaths is every sensitive to the density and number of people standing in line.

Consistent with these findings, Rand in 2006 called on LAX to build permanent checkpoints at the airport’s six entrances to reduce the risk of car-bomb attacks. Not only has the permanent checkpoint

LAAPOA/SEIU Local 721 to LAWA
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program not advanced beyond the design phase, the random checking of vehicles entering the CTA has been greatly curtailed in recent months. Incredibly, the LAWA executive director told police officers at a recent officer roll call that she did not believe checkpoints were necessary at LAX.

We believe all three of the vulnerabilities identified by Rand require LAX to aggressively monitor and regulate the CTA roadways and sidewalks to preclude unattended vehicles and luggage that can pose a significant danger to public safety. This can best be done be done by robust deployment of TCU Security Officers at each terminal on both the upper and lower level in addition to a strong police presence in the CTA.

At present, the deployment of TCU Security Officers is sparse and sporadic, which sends the wrong message to would-be terrorists who may be planning an attack. There also has been a diminishing presence of airport police in the CTA as increasing numbers of officers have been assigned to podium duty at TSA security checkpoints to replace departed LAPD officers. We believe this is adding to an overall lessening of the airport’s security profile at a time when we cannot afford to let down our guard. It should be obvious that there needs to be a corresponding increase in airport police hiring and staffing as LAPD phases out its LAX substation.

Finally, it is important to remember that since 1974, LAX has been the site of two bombings, two attempted bombings and one gun attack. There is no reason to believe LAX is no longer an attractive target for people and organizations that wish to harm us and cripple the nation’s air transportation system. LAX’s multi-billion-dollar expansion program should not be used as an excuse to cut the airport public safety budget. Common sense suggests building a world-class international terminal will not be money well spent if a terrorist organization or individual is allowed to attempt another high-profile assault on LAX.

This is why we urge you to review and reverse recent decisions that have significantly reduced LAX’s ability to deter an attack so that we can provide the safest possible environment for the millions of travelers, employees and visitors who pass through our airport each year. We will contact your office to schedule a meeting at the earliest possible date.

Sincerely,

Marshall McClain
President
Los Angeles Airport Peace Officer Association

Posted: July 13th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized

The Mid-Summer Update…

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Several new events that have something to do with LASP and much to do with GA flying in the country.

1)  Pistole is confirmed as the new TSA Chief — ’bout time somebody got that job!  He is mostly cop and no pilot, the alphabet soup guys at least think he’s trainable and can learn.  From his statements and answers at various confirmation things he seems to understand he doesn’t know anything about aviation, at least us little GA guys.  So, at least, maybe, he won’t be sniping at us but we will have be vigilant about knee jerk reactions.  Most of the hour or so last hearing was political rhetoric and he speaks well.

Besides, you apparently don’t have to pass through airport screening to put explosives in an SUV and park in Times Square, looks like those of us preaching that have been right all along.

2) Senator Rockefeller (D-WV) is still a moron when it comes to GA.  But then so is the rest of the committee (I expected better from Kay Bailey).  Somehow Rockefeller seems to think part of the TSA’s job is to “make people less angry”?  Huh?

A great deal of the rhetoric, note that word applies a lot, was about unionization of TSA screeners.  The rest was bent toward technology, tech is going to save us all.  Even the HUMINT issue will be solved by technology.  At least Pisotle is a cop and should be able to figure that one out.

The Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee also found the time to roast him over the 8+ Billion budget and why it was bloating so fast — like he had something to do with it over at the FBI…

And toward the end (about 85 minutes into the webcast) Rockefeller, again, brought up GA and how terrible the lines were at IAD for airline passengers — but you could walk over the Signature and just wander out on the ramp with no ID check, no screening, etc.  Funny, you can’t do that at any other FBO on an airport served by Part 121 carriers.  At RDU you have to escorted to your aircraft, each and every time.  And, since according to Senator Rockefeller, most flights in the country’s airspace are non-airline jets, who don’t participate in security, “are you ready to take that on?”

Pistole gave a very politically correct answer, to which Rockefeller, in hopes of the last word, asked:

“You will not, years from now, have failed to address that [that GA receives “no” screening] and failed to change the behavior of GA — it’s unfair…”

And this guy is from a state that declared February “General Aviation Month”.  We should be very afraid of this guy, he is a moron with power — the most dangerous kind.  You guys in WV need to vote.

3) “The Barefoot Bandit”.  OK, every once in a while this kid would show up in the AOPA ezine news thing I got and I’d wonder why the sheriff out there in the Pacific Northwest hadn’t throw this kid in jail.  Now it’s getting serious.  He has a cult following in Rolling Stones Magazine (I won’t provide the link).  And he scares the hell out of the TSA.

This kid lives in a van down by the river and steals airplanes for kicks and notoriety, he’s been doing for a couple of years.  Think of what a trained terrorist can do….

C’mon people, this ain’t hard.  Lock your hangar, lock your airplane, don’t leave the keys hanging on a hook by the door.  If you want to get exotic, buy a prop-lock or a Denver side lock for one of the main gear.  Don’t make it easy, you’re giving them an excuse.  And keep your eyes open, see any raggedity looking 19 year olds snooping around the airport, call the cops.  Let’s get this punk behind bars where he belongs.

Of course, now they think he’s in the Bahamas in a stolen airplane he crashed off the beach…

4)  Speaking of knee jerk reactions, I guess since we don’t use 121.5 ELTs anymore the FCC just decided to make them ILLEGAL.  I think we found an agency run worse than the DHS?  Some idiot sitting in his cubicle that can’t recognize an airplane on sight decided that since we don’t use the frequency any more (I guess “voice” was some other guy’s problem) I’ll just declare it illegal to use, transmit, have one of these boxes.

As you probably read in the alphabet soups’ emails, they’re working on it.  Apparently knee’s only jerk out, not back and it’s taking some time to slow this one down.  Try the GA caucus on this one just for the exercise.

Posted: July 7th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized