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The TSA and General Aviation: Here Come the Feds

by John M. White |

As we all know only too well the tentacles of the federal government NEVER shrink, they just grow and multiply.  The TSA (Transportation Safety Administration) formed by George Bush is no different.  After years of clogging up commercial aviation terminals and finally having succeeded in making air travel something to dread they are now turning their attention to our backyard: General Aviation. Click on image to enlarge

Yes, Big Brother is coming, and you better get prepared for it.  The TSA now says it would like to expand airport badging so that basically everybody inside the fence of an aircraft operations area (AOA) would have to meet the new ID badge requirements.  This includes pilot and passengers getting on and off of their own private aircraft!

A recent letter from the AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) stated that "compliance with this SD (Security Directive) will necessitate the badging and performance of a security threat assessment on tens of thousands of general aviation pilots that operate from these airports."  This means thousands of people would have to undergo background checks, be fingerprinted and meet other requirements in order to qualify for these ID badges!

And here is the scary part: Unlike a formal rulemaking proposal, under which the government would formally solicit comment from interested parties, the latest TSA action is a directive that the agency simply plans to implement without seeking comment. The SD carries an effective date of March 1.

Talk about kicking a dog when he is down!  This is incredible, coming on the heels of an economic disaster created in part by Congress itself, and now they are getting ready to destroy what remains of private aircraft and general aviation!  It is time to raise the alarm, to find our very own Paul Revere and save our industry!

Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch!


It was 1977 and we were on an old DC8 Air Ceylon coming in to Colombo, Ceylon from Bangkok. The landing approach was pretty bumpy, but the biggest bump was saved for when we hit the tarmac - a massive shudder and shake - at least I hoped it was the runway.. We were soon however airborne again and climbing steeply when a voice with a heavy Indian accent came over the PA as follows:
I am sorry about the landing ladies and gentlemen, the pilot will now take over.

— Tim Stuart, Great Aviation Quotes reader.

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