General aviation’s quest to return to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) sustained a blow last month when two Pennsylvania pilots caused another panicked evacuation of the White House, Congress and the Supreme Court. Their Cessna 150 flew to within three miles of the White House.
Accidents, Safety, Security and Training » Security
News and information about crew, passenger, aircraft and airport security issues.
At a hearing before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee last month, representatives of general aviation organizations spelled out the measures GA has taken to improve security since 9/11.
Hayden Sheaffer, the pilot-in-command of the Cessna 150 that violated the Washington, D.C. ADIZ on May 11, will be allowed to reapply for his airman certificate in 10 months. The FAA reduced the original one-year penalty and Sheaffer, 69, agreed to drop his appeal to the NTSB.
A Senate amendment that called for severe fines, loss of license and aircraft confiscation for violating the flight restricted zone (FRZ) in the Washington air defense identification zone was stripped from the Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill last month.
As the pressure mounts in Congress to do something about pilots who bust the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) around Washington, D.C., the FAA has apparently decided to try to head off any “draconian” legislation.
In a recently released Government Accountability Office (GAO) study on securing and defending U.S. airspace, the FAA said general aviation pilots accounted for most of the 3,400 restricted-airspace violations recorded between Sept. 12, 2001, and Dec. 31, 2004. The report attributes most of these violations to weather diversions, pop-up temporary flight restrictions or pilots’ failure to check for notices of restrictions.
The long-awaited reopening of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport to some general aviation aircraft now appears imminent with the Trans- portation Security Administration’s release of an interim final rule last month.
Even as a half-dozen companies are rushing to get FAA approval for systems that will allow the in-flight use of personal cellphones on business aircraft, other government entities have questioned cellphone use on airliners, citing security concerns. In December last year the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposed allowing the use of cellphones on airliners and offered the usual comment period.
The so-called “stealth” amendment passed Congress last month, granting the City of Rialto, Calif., special dispensation to sell its municipally owned airport. That amendment was attached during conference negotiations over the massive highway funding bill.
Former Comair flight attendant (FA) Gilbert Knops has filed suit against the airline, claiming his ethnic appearance and anti-war sentiment bred suspicion of an involvement in terrorism that led to his firing. According to the suit, a coworker reported him for showing her a sticker ridiculing “support the troops” car magnets and a cartoon lampooning President George W. Bush.