In April 2003, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requested the Aviation Security Advisory Committee (ASAC) establish a Working Group made up of industry stakeholders to develop guidelines for security enhancements at the nation's privately and publicly owned and operated general aviation (GA) landing facilities. This listing of recommended guidelines or "best practices" was designed to establish non-regulatory standards for general aviation airport security. Their primary purpose is to help prevent the unauthorized use of a general aviation aircraft in an act of terrorism against the United States.
On November 17, 2003, the ASAC formally transmitted the recommendations to TSA. TSA used this document as a baseline from which to craft this Information Publication titled, “Security Guidelines for General Aviation Airports"
(PDF 701KB), which constitutes a set of federally endorsed guidelines for enhancing airport security at GA facilities throughout the nation. It is intended to provide GA airport owners, operators, and users with guidelines and recommendations that address aviation security concepts, technology, and enhancements.
Included in the preliminary recommendations are such security improvements as:
- tighter identification of passengers that fly on private planes,
- closer monitoring of student pilots and improved airport surveillance,
- as well as multiple locking systems to keep unauthorized persons from gaining access to aircraft,
- fencing, locks, lighting and other steps to control access onto aircraft ramps, parking, hangar and fuel storage areas
- developing communications procedures for law enforcement officers and airport users in an emergency, and
- security precautions for agricultural aircraft operators.
Many GA airports have already implemented some of the working group’s recommendations, while the TSA and other government agencies have also moved to tighten GA security. Since 9/11, the TSA has taken steps to guard against unauthorized use of flight school or rental aircraft, required background checks for foreign pilots seeking a U.S. pilot certificate, and tracked suspicious aircraft purchases with assistance of the Department of Justice.
Meanwhile, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) developed a nationwide Airport Watch program that includes a TSA-sponsored hotline for reporting suspicious activity. The National Agricultural Aircraft Association has addressed security of aerial application operations. And numerous airports have moved to control access, improve gates, fencing and lighting, install alarm systems and bolster surveillance.
General Aviation - Hotline
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has developed and implemented a general aviation (GA) hotline in partnership with the National Response Center. 866-GA-SECURE (1-866-427-3287) was launched on December 2, 2002 and is fully operational.
The GA Hotline serves as a centralized reporting system for general aviation pilots, airport operators, and maintenance technicians wishing to report suspicious activity at their airfield. The hotline was developed in coordination with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) to complement the AOPA Airport Watch Program. This program will enlist the support of some 550,000 general aviation pilots to watch for and report suspicious activities that might have security implications. AOPA has distributed Airport Watch materials to 5,400 public-use general aviation airports pilot groups and individual pilots. To build on the success of these local efforts the program includes special materials including a video to train pilots to be alert for sinister people or activities on the airport.
For further information or contact numbers, please go to the Transportation Security Administration's web-link regarding security and/or suspicious activity at any airport.