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NBAA Letter to The Atlantic
January 5, 2011
Letters to the Editor
600 New Hampshire Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20037
Your story, "Private Plane, Public Menace," (Jan/Feb 2011) will certainly grab readers attention, with its sensationalist characterization of security for general aviation, which refers to all aviation outside the airlines or military.
However, your readers deserve to know that a host of initiatives to harden general aviation against terrorist threats have long since been welcomed by industry, put into place, and are well understood by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials and others in government.
For instance, general aviation pilots and aircraft owners are vetted against terrorist watch lists, and pilots are required to hold tamper-proof ID issued by the government. Charter aircraft with a maximum certificated takeoff weight (MCTW) of 12,500 pounds or greater, as well as aircraft with MCTW greater than 100,309 lbs. or with a passenger seating configuration of 61 seats or more are covered by specific federal security requirements, including for the larger aircraft, baggage and passenger screening prior to boarding. Foreign citizens seeking certain types of flight training in the U.S. undergo fingerprint-based background checks prior to training. An Airport Watch program, with a toll-free number, is in place for reporting suspicious activity to federal security officials.
The U.S. Treasury Department monitors the parties involved in aircraft buying and selling for security.
With the industry's full participation and cooperation, these are among the many measures undertaken to harden general aviation against security threats. In fact, contrary to your writers assertion, we in general aviation have long prioritized security, and have worked effectively with government officials to implement measures that enhance security without needlessly sacrificing mobility. The industry will continue working with federal officials to evaluate further enhancements, and help TSA put resources where they can be best utilized.
President and CEO
National Business Aviation Association