Hearings on the proposed rules by the TSA regarding large corporate aircraft (those aircraft with a GTW greater than 12,500#) will begin on January 6, 2009. Most of the alphabet pilot and aircraft owner organizations have filed briefing papers with a list of concerns regarding the proposed rules. Some of these rules simply make no sense.
For example, why would any operator of one of these aircraft need to have a Federal Air Marshall on board the aircraft? I don't believe any responsible operator would ever allow anyone on the aircraft whom they did not know, and in addition the TSA is requiring all passengers on these aircraft to be compared to the TSA "No-FLy" and "Selectee" lists.
In addition, there is a requirment for these operators to be subjected to third party auditors to conduct security inspections. TSA proposes that the operator would contract with an auditor, at their own cost, to peform this security inspection which would be required every two years.
Add to this the list of prohibited items which include things like tools (hammers, cordless drills, etc.) and more interesting items like golf clubs (yes, you read right - golf clubs!) and more. You can see the list on the TSA's "Prohibited Items" list here.
Then there are requirements for some 320 reliever airports to adopt a "partial" airport security program which will include specific training, record retnetion, personnel and notification requirements. You can read more about these moves in the "EAA Briefing Paper."
There are more than 10,000 of these aircraft operating in the U.S. now, but how do we know they (the TSA) will stop there? Anyone ever seen a government agency stop growing? Hang on to your hat, gang - the TSA is on the march!
Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch!
Both optimists and pessimists contribute to the society. The optimist invents the aeroplane, the pessimist the parachute.
— George Bernard Shaw