I don’t fly large aircraft, why should this concern me?

Several reasons. First, even if you don’t operate a large aircraft, if one comes to your local field and it doesn’t meet the ill-defined parameters of a “secure area” as stated in the Large Aircraft Security Program (L.A.S.P.), the field may be closed until that transient large aircraft leaves. Because there is no way to prevent access to a “weapon of mass destruction” on your ramp.

Second, the TSA has stated several times and is again stating this after the attack/suicide on the IRS office in Austin; that “little aircraft” are a threat and must be controlled. Even though 1) the DHS Inspector General has stated the GA is a ‘hypothetical threat’ at best, and 2) nothing in LASP would have stopped an Austin, Texas type of event.

But, in today’s world, isn’t security a real issue?

Yes it is. We’re not against security and defense of the nation. We are against this rule because it shows no understanding of how GA works and what it does.

For instance, you must check all your passengers against a watch list and the No Fly List. This is fine for commercial operators of most types (Part 121 and Part 135) but should not apply to any Part 91 flight. I know my passengers, they are my friends and family, if the FBI or DHS has a problem with them, then that should be handled as a police matter. Corporate aviation doesn’t produce a sortie just ’cause, they have a reason to “take the jet”, manifests are created and those people have already been vetted by corporate security.

Besides, in mid-February a passenger was denied boarding under the No Fly List on a Part 135 charter flight out of Teterboro (proving that system works). But it seems he was a big contributor to Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid and a few hours later, he wasn’t on the No Fly List, I’m sure that was a coincidence.

What about those banned items, some things shouldn’t be on airplanes?

True, but again there are existing regulations about the carriage of HAZMAT. And let’s consider the way L.A.S.P. is written. For example, you may not carry a weapon onboard the aircraft (let say you and some buddies want to go hunting). Unless the weapon won’t fit in the baggage compartment, then you can carry it in the passenger compartment. But, only in a locked weapons case. Which you have the key to in your pocket. So, besides the fact that I’m denied access to my private property while in my private property, I can carry the gun in a locked case next to me in the aircraft. It has to be in the locked case because I might use it to commit a terrorist act. But, I can have the key to the case that strapped down next to me in my pocket, so I can get to the weapon anyway.

Furthermore, the use of aviation as a time saver and travel machine is well known. Corporation use these machines for flying their technicians all over the country and the world to fix things and make things work. Yet, under L.A.S.P., you’d have to ship tools and equipment because it would no longer be allowed on the aircraft. Besides that denial of access to private property, you just destroyed the utility of the vehicle.

What about the badging requirements of SD-8G?

Well, we wish we could explain it. The fact is SD-8G is classified and the last list released by the TSA was wrong. So, nobody is really sure where SIDA badges will be required or who, specifically, at the airport may need one.

What’s Operation Playbook?

A classified program by the TSA to mix up their routines at security check points. This is not a bad thing, you don’t want a routine that can be figured out.

However, some ‘overzealous’ (the TSA’s word) folks in Florida, Tennessee and Connecticut showed up at the airport one morning and starting searching cars of previously cleared owners who were proceeding as directed through the gates to their privately owned aircraft. This is a bad thing.

How much will compliance with L.A.S.P. cost me?

Nobody really knows. The TSA didn’t do a proper cost analysis and on page 116 they admit they don’t know.

Was the Administrative Procedures Act followed?

Absolutely NOT! The TSA didn’t even do a Civil Liberties Assessment as required by law. They also violated Executive Orders to reduce federal regulations as signed by Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan.

Why are they doing this?

Good question. Nobody knows really, they’re not talking. I suspect for several reasons:

First, GA is a potential, repeat potential, threat. Bad people can do bad things with airplanes. But we must keep ourselves safe. Vigilance at the airport, we know how pilots act, we know our hangar neighbors; if you see anything out of the ordinary — ask, call, bring it up. Sometimes a simple “can I help you?” will be enough.

Second, there is a class warfare struggle here. We who fly are perceived as the “fat cats” with loads of money to waste jet setting around the world. I can tell you I don’t get far at 120 knots. We are perceived as “special” because we don’t go through security lines at airports, we don’t have to take our shoes off before we get on our airplanes.

You’ll note we can fix both of these things. For the first one, pay attention to what’s going on around you and report that stuff out of the ordinary. For the second, take a Congressman for a ride, a reporter too. AOPA has a program to get them involved, if your local airport group would like to entertain an elected representative, get in touch with the AOPA and they can make that happen.