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Report: TSA confirms LASP Changes

Will work with GA on a more reasonable approach to GA security

February 5, 2010 Based largely on the negative response from the general aviation community, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) signaled major changes to the Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP), consistent with those EAA has been reporting, in an interview that aired Friday on National Public Radio. TSA also publicly acknowledged its intent to work with GA stakeholders to come up with a more reasonable approach to GA security through the formation of a General Aviation Working Group under the Aviation Security Advisory Committee, on which EAA has been invited to participate.

The report quotes Brian Delauter, TSA General Aviation Manager, stating, “We’re going to be 10 times more successful in partnership (with GA) than we are being combative.” About a year ago, EAA, AOPA, GAMA, and NBAA, called on TSA to dump the LASP and instead form a rulemaking committee made up of industry stakeholders to design more sensible and implementable measures. That resulted in several meetings between industry and TSA to find alternatives to the original proposal.

Delauter indicated that a revised security program would be out in the fall, designed in coordination with GA stakeholders. The new program would substantially increase the size of aircraft to be regulated from the original plan of 12,500 lbs. The TSA would also rely more on pilots to keep their flights secure. TSA has indicated that the revised proposal would be issued as a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (SNPRM) affording the public an additional opportunity to comment on the changes.

“Based off the response we got from the operators and the pilots that wanted the onus on them, we’re going to put the responsibility on them,” Delauter said. “It’s pretty much doing a lot of what they’re doing now. We’re just really going to define it.”

The LASP proposal, announced by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on October 9, 2008, sought to place GA aircraft weighing more than 12,500 lbs under the same security measures as commercial airlines. That would have affected more than 10,000 aircraft, including large vintage aircraft, Warbirds, turboprops, and others. LASP would have also required more than 300 reliever airports to adopt new security programs with potentially significant cost and access implications.

The GA community was virtually unanimous in criticizing the plan. More than 4,200 comments were submitted to the docket - the highest number of comments TSA has received regarding any single initiative since the agency was created in the wake of 9/11. (See EAA’s comments.) Hundreds more voiced opposition during a series of public hearings held by the TSA.

“This is an important reinforcement of the message we’ve been receiving from TSA regarding a significant rule revision, which we are expecting to be released later this year,” said Earl Lawrence, EAA vice president of industry and regulatory affairs. “We’re grateful to all the members who took the time to express their opposition to the original proposal, and this illustrates the impact your comments have had.”

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