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Aviation Roundly Opposed To LASP

EAA's Joe Gauthier makes his presentation.

A standing room only crowd attended the first TSA public hearing Tuesday.

January 7, 2009 — Scores of aviation enthusiasts and industry representatives spoke in opposition to the Transportation Security Administration’s proposed Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP) on Tuesday, Jan. 6, during the first of this month’s five scheduled TSA hearings at Westchester County Airport in White Plains, N.Y. There were no speakers in favor of the sweeping security program during the five-plus hour hearing attended by a standing-room-only crowd estimated at 200 people. Joe Gauthier, EAA 31860, of Cromwell, Conn., attended and spoke before the panel of TSA representatives.

“It was an interesting meeting,” said Gauthier, who serves on the EAA Homebuilt Aircraft Council. “Those who spoke stressed there are huge problems with the rule. The overall consensus was that it doesn’t make any sense and would be prohibitively costly and operationally negative for many operators.”

Several people criticized the plan, which essentially applies airline security procedures to Part 91 operations of aircraft weighing 12,500 lbs. or more. That would place costly and onerous burdens on business aviation, as well as operators of many historic aircraft and larger personal use aircraft. Other presenters noted GA’s voluntary initiatives to increase security using both national and local initiatives have proved to be very successful.

Gauthier asked the panel how the general public would react if the restrictions they intend to impose on these GA aircraft – which have never been used as a weapon of terrorists anywhere in the world – were also placed on SUVs, which have been used many times in terrorist attacks.

“TSA would never consider requiring the owners of SUVs and pickup trucks to vet their passengers against a watch list every time they go for a drive, yet vans and SUVs are the preferred device of terrorists the world over,” he said. “The American public would be outraged! Yet that is exactly what the federal government is proposing for personal and business use aircraft…that we vet the passengers we take with us in our personal aircraft; family, friends, and business associates.”

Other speakers included members of airport associations, aviation attorneys, aircraft operators, and others…several of whom operate lighter aircraft that fall below the LASP’s 12,500-lb benchmark. Many see the security program as an infringement upon Americans’ freedom of movement that eventually would trickle down to all of aviation.

Ed Bolen, president and CEO of the National Business Aviation Association, received loud applause when he suggested that an aviation rulemaking committee (ARC) be convened including key stakeholders from the industry, various government areas, and others “to open up a real dialogue for creating effective, yet workable (security) policies.”

Four more public hearings are scheduled, including:

  • Atlanta, Georgia - January 8, 2009, at the Renaissance Concourse Hotel Atlanta Airport, One Hartsfield Centre Parkway
  • Chicago, Illinois (Rosemont) - January 16, 2009, Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare Hotel & Convention Center 5440 North River Road
  • Burbank, California, January 23, 2009, Burbank Airport Marriot Hotel & Convention Center, 2500 North Hollywood Way
  • Houston, Texas - January 28, 2009, Hilton Houston Hotel-North Greenspoint Conference Center, 12400 Greenspoint Drive.

Your voice can make a difference. Please take a few minutes to send your comments to the TSA. The deadline for comments is February 27, 2009. (Read EAA’s briefing paper on the LASP.)

How to comment:
Refer to:
Docket No. TSA-2008-0021, “Large Aircraft Security Program, Other Aircraft Operator Security Program, and Airport Operator Security Program.”

  • Electronically: through the Federal eRulemaking portal at www.Regulations.gov. (Follow the online instructions for submitting comments.)
  • By Mail or in Person to: Docket Management Facility, US Dept. of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Ave SE, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12-140, Washington DC 20590-0001.
  • By Fax to: 202-493-2251.

Please send a copy of your comments to EAA:

  • Electronically to: govt@eaa.org
  • By Mail to: EAA Government Relations, P.O. Box 3086, Oshkosh, WI 54903-3086
  • By Fax to: 920-426-4885.

To view all the public comments to the TSA security proposal, visit the docket site at www.Regulations.gov

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