The second public hearing last Thursday in Atlanta, GA on the TSA's proposal for large corporate aircraft came under closer scrutiny and heavier criticism as more details of the plan become known and more widely circulated.
In one comment Craig Dotol, Northeast Regional Representative of the AOPA expressed concerns that the proposal basically applies commercial airline standards to general aviation. More than 50 people made comments while TSA representatives listened with little comment. Dozens of representatives from fixed-base operations, flight departments, fractional aircraft operators, business owners, owner pilots, corporate pilots and local aircraft owners and operators also spoke.
Several specific concerns were raised about the proposal, including requirements for all passengers to be checked against federal "watch" lists. "Our company has not carried a passenger that we didn't know in more than 40 years," said one New York-based business owner. Other concerns centered on the lengthy list of prohibited items, the mandate for biennial security audits by third parties and the requirement for armed federal air marshals aboard aircraft weighing more than 100,000 pounds. Many speakers pushed to increase the 12,500-pound threshold, with some suggesting that 100,000 pounds would be more appropriate.
To this observer it seems as though the government through the TSA is applying an expensive, cumbersome and useless regulation on a segment of aviation that presents little, if any, risk to the general public. There is a huge difference between commercial airliners and a Gulfstream business jet in terms of size, passenger capacity and the amount of fuel it carries. These aircraft hardly present much of a risk to the public.
I also wonder whether or not our enemies will attempt to try the same approach to creating havoc on our society as they did the last time. Common sense tells me, at least, that while we focus on what has already happened they will look to new, alternative methods to attack us while we waste precious resources and time on an area that everyone already knows has been used and is now heavily regulated.
Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch!
I am the copilot. I sit on the right.
It's up to me to be quick and bright;
I never talk back for I have regrets,
But I have to remember what the Captain forgets.
I make out the Flight Plan and study the weather,
Pull up the gear, stand by to feather;
Make out the mail forms and do the reporting,
And fly the old crate while the Captain is courting.
I take the readings, adjust the power,
Put on the heaters when we're in a shower;
Tell him where we are on the darkest night,
And do all the bookwork without any light.
I call for my Captain and buy him cokes;
I always laugh at his corny jokes,
And once in awhile when his landings are rusty
I always come through with, "By gosh it's gusty!"
All in all I'm a general stooge,
As I sit on the right of the man I call "Scrooge";
I guess you think that is past understanding,
But maybe some day he will give me a landing.
— Keith Murray