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NBAA’s Security Council Working on New ‘Positive Pilot ID’ Program

ORLANDO, FL, October 6, 2008 – NBAA’s Security Council, which met on Saturday in conjunction with NBAA2008, is busy working with federal security officials to develop a trial program designed to confirm the identity of aviators at the controls of an aircraft in flight. The so-called “Positive Pilot Identification” Program, which could start by yearend, would seek to validate the use of certain communication channels – such as the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) and satellite data link – to confirm that a pilot flying an aircraft is who he says he is. The pilot program would run for 60 to 90 days, and several NBAA Member flight departments have already volunteered to participate.

Earlier this year, the Security Council worked closely with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on two separate lists of general aviation (GA) "security action items" (SAI) for aircraft operators and fixed base operators (FBOs). Most of these security recommendations resulted from discussions with NBAA and other aviation organizations. Combine these two new SAIs with the TSA’s GA airport security guidelines released in 2004, and general aviation operators have a complete set of security guidelines.

SAIs for aircraft operators cover four categories: aircraft security, hangar security, handling of passengers/visitors and reporting suspicious activity. The TSA suggests that pilots should employ "multiple methods or layers," not just aircraft locks, to secure their aircraft. Ideally, airplanes should be stored in a hangar with locking doors. The agency also recommends that ignition keys not be stored inside an aircraft and that operators use auxiliary locking mechanisms such as prop and throttle locks. In addition, operators are encouraged to identify passengers, crew and baggage prior to departure and immediately report any suspicious activity to local law enforcement and the Transportation Security Operations Center (866-GA-SECURE).

The TSA has developed six SAIs for FBOs, ranging from general security measures (ramp procedures and lighting and cameras) to tips regarding aircraft security, dealing with transient pilots and reporting suspicious activities. In addition, the agency recommends that each FBO designate a security coordinator and develop a training outline for that person. The security coordinator would be the point of contact with TSA, communicate with all FBO employees and company management on security matters, should undergo annual security awareness training on how to recognize suspicious activity, and would communicate and coordinate security responses with airport security personnel, airport management and law enforcement.

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