[Archive Home][Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
"Airport security big issue since 9/11"
- From: "Stephen Irwin" <stepheni@xxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Sun, 23 Dec 2007 09:27:30 +0430
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Airport security big issue since 9/11
By KIPP HANLEY
The Potomac (MD) News
The Web site for Potomac Airfield in Fort Washington, Md., is dripping with
sarcasm, especially when it comes to security.
On its home page, it states "any terrorists, or would be terrorists applying
for clearance at Potomac Airfield shall be required to provide parking for
at least two unmarked cars within a convenient walking distance from their
places of work and residence."
All joking aside, security at general aviation airports like Potomac
Airfield has become a much bigger deal since the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The
Transportation Security Administration developed security guidelines for
general aviation airports, or non-commercial airports, in May 2004.
In conjunction with the TSA, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
created a "how-to" guide to spot suspicious behavior called "Airport Watch,"
which encourages pilots to take several precautions including locking all
aircraft on the ramp, locking all hangars and tiedowns, escorting all guests
while on the ramp and reporting suspicious activity to TSA's security
The Stafford Regional Airport is piggybacking the AOPA's educational program
with a separate program of its own, said manager Ed Wallis. And the Manassas
Regional Airport, the largest general aviation airport in Virginia, has
spent $800,000 on security-related issues since 9/11, said airport manager
Educating their pilots and staff on security is only half of the battle for
a general aviation airport like Stafford, though. Only a fraction of the
size of Manassas, the six-year-old Stafford Regional Airport is rapidly
expanding. It now has 40 t-hangars and is looking to build a new terminal
That means more chances for criminal activity.
According to Wallis, both the current public entrance and user entrance will
eventually be made secure through an key-coded gate system, which will
control access to the airport. If the state funding comes through, the
airport will be embarking on a security lighting project that could cost
around $270,000, said Wallis.
Unfortunately, airports like Stafford, which receive the overwhelming
majority of its funding from the federal and state government, can only
spend so much money on security enhancements, said Wallis. And while it
hasn't happen to Stafford yet, thefts at airports have not been uncommon in
According to an AOPA story published in March, thefts of avionic equipment
at general aviation airports in North Carolina were on the rise. The
incidents occurred after normal business hours and targeted King- and
Garmin-series avionics in aircraft that were tied down outside.
Also, AOPA reported that avionics thieves made their way down the I-95
corridor in the eastern United States in early 2006. Thefts were reported
from airports in New England all the way to Freeway Airport, a Maryland
general aviation airport located just 21 miles from Washington, D.C.
And most recently, a $5,000 trailer was stolen from Phoenix Aviation at the
Manassas Regional Airport, albeit on the unsecured side of the facility.
Geoffrey Peterson, whose trailer was stolen, admits that while he wants
better security at the airport, not all incidents of thefts or other crimes
are 100 percent preventable.
But thanks to the new AOPA guidelines and improved technology, steps are
being taken to ensure a safer, more secure atmosphere at general aviation
airports. And according to Joe Gardner, president of Manassas Regional
Airport-based Dulles Aviation, those guidelines could be made mandatory in
the near future.
According to Gardner, that's a far cry from the pre-9/11 days when fuel
theft at the Manassas facility was more common and fences were manual and
sometimes broken, allowing anyone to drive towards the runway.
"It's rare to get a complaint like that now," Gardner said.
Post your opinion on this story in the CAA General Aviation Forum
Fair Use Notice
This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of political, human rights, economic, democracy and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.html. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
If you have any queries regarding this issue, please Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org