Homeland security experts are considering new measures to tighten security for general aviation operators as part of an ongoing attempt to prepare for unknown threats, according to Michael Chertoff, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
“The nightmare scenario that we talk about is the possibility of a weapon of mass destruction being detonated in a city,” Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said at yesterday’s NATA Aviation Business Roundtable in Washington, D.C. “It’s obvious that general aviation is another place we have to look.
Many operators are installing 406-MHz emergency locator transmitters in place of the 121.5-MHz units as the January 1 deadline approaches on a new regulation (FAR 91.207) that requires all U.S.-registered jets with maximum payloads of less than 18,000 pounds–virtually all business jets except business jetliners–to be equipped with an ELT.
The Transportation Security Administration plans soon to release changes to the voluntary general aviation security guidelines, and is looking at ways to “positively identify” pilots before and in flight. To find out more about what the TSA is doing, and how it views GA security in general, AIN spoke with Michal Morgan, the TSA’s general manager for general aviation.
BELL B206L-3, WHITERIVER, ARIZ., JULY 26, 2003–At 10:34 a.m. MST Bell Long-Ranger N6184D, operated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) at Fort Apache Indian Reservation under Part 91, was destroyed after crashing near Whiteriver. The commercial pilot and one passenger died in the crash and two passengers were seriously injured.
Security comes from a combination of policy, procedure and technology–nuts and bolts. All three have received their fair share of attention since September 11, but the demand for security hardware is the most tangible manifestation of how aviation has changed. Pre-existing examples of technology–from sophisticated electronic surveillance systems to simple wheel locks–have been improved.
• Is the hangar/FBO property fenced off from the street and from adjoining unsecured property?
All airport workers with access to airplanes and secure areas have been ordered to submit to new criminal background checks. Employers will also be asked to assist authorities in new criminal background checks of “flight-safety sensitive” personnel. The FAA is requiring the revalidation of all airport IDs to make sure they are current, genuine and correspond to the person carrying them.
New 406-MHz emergency locator transmitters (ELT) from Emergency Beacon Corp. are at the New Rochelle, N.Y. company’s booth (No. 4074). Anticipating the February 2009 switch of search-and-rescue signal processing from 121.5 MHz to 406 MHz, Emergency Beacon is offering ELTs for both cabin/cockpit and aircraft tail installation.
With the Feb. 1, 2009 deadline approaching to replace 121.5-MHz emergency locator transmitters (ELT) with 409- MHz units, French firm ELTA is preparing to market a personal ELT that will meet the new mandate at about one fourth the cost of a unit installed in the aircraft.