March 19, 2009 — General aviation is under attack on several fronts in the name of national security. While the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its divisions adopt a “whatever it takes” posture, the people who fly aircraft for fun, education, philanthropy, and business are asking whether severe restrictions on freedoms are worth marginal enhancements to security.
When the cost of lost liberties are combined with the significant dollars required of aviators and airports to comply with these initiatives, an unfavorable cost-to-benefit ratio becomes strikingly evident.
DHS is throwing several security initiatives at general aviation at once, challenging aircraft operators not only to differentiate them but also to understand how they interrelate. Accordingly, EAA has posted an analysis that sorts out the issues and identifies common themes.
The combined effect of these initiatives would be stifling to general aviation. Imagine security requirements that would:
- Force aviators to acquire government approval before each flight in certain general aviation aircraft;
- Require private citizens to develop and implement costly security-compliance programs;
- Hamstring historic aircraft operations such as EAA’s B-17 tour;
- Limit our military-veteran aviators’ freedom to fly historic airplanes like the ones that, ironically, they flew in service to defend American freedoms;
- Restrict access to the airport for pilots, owners, and their guests;
- Make it difficult or impossible to conduct certain Young Eagles events;
- Force pilots and passengers to stay in the aircraft when arriving as a transient flight at an airport until an authorized person becomes available to escort them from the aircraft;
- Limit the public’s access to engage in and support general aviation activities; and
- Limit the interactive and social elements of participation in flight that are so important to a thriving general aviation community.
Members of EAA’s Regulatory Affairs staff remind EAAers that these and more consequences could result if the general aviation community fails to rally to protect its interests. They encourage you to stay informed, spread the word, and be prepared to act.