Aviation security

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Chapter 9

General Aviation Airport Security

This chapter examines potential security threats to general aviation (GA) airports and flight operations. Strategies for protecting GA airports and aircraft are provided and an overview of changes in aviation security that affected GA operations after 9/11. You will learn about challenges to developing and implementing security regulations for GA airports. We also discuss the security strategies used by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and various GA airport and aircraft operators.

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Introduction

Since 9/11, the general aviation community has struggled to help the public understand the nature of GA.

General aviation aircraft have long been used as platforms to smuggle narcotics and weapons, and for human trafficking operations.

In 1993, the FBI indicated that Osama bin Laden assessed the possibility of using an agricultural aircraft to spread a chemical agent on a ground target.

GA provides vital services to the United States and greatly enhances the U.S. economy. GA accounts for some 77% of all flights in the United States. With more than 200,000 aircraft, 650,000 pilots, and 19,000 airports and landing strips, the GA industry provides jobs and opportunities for thousands of people.

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The Nature of GA Flight Operations

GA 3/4 of all takeoffs/landing in US
$100 billion to US economy
1.3 million jobs

GA provides vital services to the United States and greatly enhances the U.S. economy. Approximately 24% of all GA flights are conducted for business or corporate use nearly two-thirds of all business flights carry passengers in mid-level management positions, sales representatives, and project teams for major corporations.

 

GA accounts for three-quarters of all takeoffs and landings in the United States, contributes about $100 billion to the U.S economy, and has about 1.3 million jobs.

 

These estimates do not include multipliers, such as the number of jobs created by the hotel, rental car, restaurant, and tourist industries. The creation of GA security policies is important to protect these interests.

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Securing General Aviation
5,000 GA airports in US
14,000 private airstrips

Securing general aviation is challenging considering the magnitude and nature of GA operations. There are approximately 450 commercial service airports in the United States and more than 5,000 GA airports. Those 14,000 airports are not regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) or the TSA.

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Practical Aviation Security – Chapter 9

Securing General Aviation

Issues to consider:

What is the threat to GA airports and aircraft?

What is the threat to public or infrastructure from GA aircraft?

What security measures should be required or recommended to prevent both of the aforementioned threats from occurring?

Most GA aircraft are too light to be used as a platform for conventional explosives and heightened vigilance by GA airport and aircraft operators would make it difficult for someone to load the necessary quantity of explosives without detection.

The potential exists for light aircraft to be used as a delivery platform for chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) forms of weapons.

Agricultural aircraft used for spraying crops with pesticides and fertilizers pose a unique threat as a platform for a bio- logical or chemical attack because they are specifically designed for aerial dispersal and could be exploited by terrorists for this specific purpose.

The threat of a radiological or nuclear release by a light GA aircraft is tempered some- what by the fact that other means of attack (e.g., a suitcase, a car, etc.) are just as effective as aircraft in delivering such a device to a target site.

There are three primary issues to consider when addressing security of GA airports and aircraft. First, what is the threat to GA airports and aircraft; second, what is the threat to the public or infrastructure from GA aircraft; and third, what security measures should be required or recommended to prevent both of the aforementioned threats from occurring?

The biggest challenge in preventing attacks either on or with GA aircraft is that GA operations are vastly different than flight operations at a commercial-service airport.

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Practical Aviation Security – Chapter 9

Securing General Aviation

GA aircraft operations are regulated under Title 49 CFR Part 1550

Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP)

Although commercial service airports operate under Transportation Security Regulation Part 1542, GA airports do not have a counterpart regulation.

GA aircraft operations are regulated under Title 49 CFR Part 1550 for those aircraft operators conducting charter operations with aircraft in excess of 12,500 pounds MGTW (maximum gross takeoff weight) or aircraft operators whose passengers deplane into a sterile area.

There are also GA operations at commercial service airports.

Where GA operations occur on regulated commercial service airports, the tenants are required to adhere to both Part 1542 and the Airport Security Program.

In 2008, the TSA began working on the Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP), which will likely place regulations on GA aircraft operations conducted under Title 14 CFR Part 91 that are similar to the 12-5 Security Program.2 It has yet to be determined whether these programs will have security related effects on GA airport operators.

 

When the private charter rule was implemented, some general aviation airports saw their large aircraft operations shift to nearby commercial service airports where screening equipment and personnel were located.

This migration reduced fuel revenue at those GA airports, normally a major source of airport revenue.

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How 9-11 Changed GA

The Aviation and Transportation Security Act of 2001 and several other security measures aimed at restricting GA operations were implemented after 9-11.

These include regulations covering:

Security regulations on public and private charter flights,

Airspace restrictions,

New rules for flight training operations (Title 49 CFR Part 1552).

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Photo I.D. required to fly
New pilot certificate

A significant change to aviation (general and commercial) affecting pilots was the change to the long-standing pilot certificate.

All pilots are required to have both the pilot certificate and a government-issued photo ID with them when flying.

The FAA issued redesigned pilot certificates, which are difficult to forge.

 

When a pilot applies for a medical certificate or any new flight rating or certificate, the TSA checks the applicant against the no-fly and selectee lists, and possibly other terrorists watch lists.

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Airspace

After 9-11, the U.S. government felt the quickest way to protect essential facilities and places where large numbers of people gathered was to restrict the airspace around those venues.

 

In addition to the regular airspace classifications, several areas are restricted in the interest of national security. The 9-11 attacks significantly expanded these restrictions.

 

Airspace restrictions primarily fall under the following five categories:

The air defense identification zone (ADIZ) extends from the surface to 18,000 feet. A contiguous ADIZ surrounds the entire United States; for an aircraft to enter, either an IFR flight plan or a Defense VFR flight plan is required. ADIZs are established over other areas such as military bases and centers of government (Washington, D.C.). VFR traffic entering an ADIZ must have permission from an air traffic control center.

A flight restriction zone (FRZ) extends in a circle around the Washington Monument. Entry is authorized only to those who have received a waiver from the TSA.

Prohibited airspace is continuously off limits. P-56, the prohibited area above the White House, extends from the ground to 18,000 feet. P-40 is the designation for the prohibited airspace above Camp David.

Restricted Airspace is more flexible than Prohibited airspace. Restricted airspace can be entered with permission of air traffic control. There is a large area of Restricted airspace surrounding Camp David, which becomes prohibited airspace when the president of the United States is staying there.

Temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) are areas temporarily designated as restricted or prohibited airspace. These are frequently established for special activities such as sporting events or when the president flies into a city outside of Washington, D.C. There are TFRs over Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in Florida, U.S. power plants, for various air shows, and other activities.

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Practical Aviation Security – Chapter 10

How 9-11 Changed GA

Other special use airspace also exists and must be observed by GA pilots. Areas of special use airspace, which may be generally accessed by VFR traffic are:

National security areas,

Military operations areas (MOAs)

Military training routes (MTRs)

 

Operations in the Washington, D.C., ADIZ (and other areas of restricted airspace) fall under Special Federal Aviation Regulations (SFARs).

 

The establishment of TFRs and the expanded ADIZ over Washington, D.C., resulted in numerous violations as general aviation pilots on VFR flights wandered into restricted or prohibited airspace.

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) (and other general aviation groups) has been a strong opponent of unnecessary TFRs, although the organization remains a strong supporter of sound GA security measures.

 

There are numerous occasions where the AOPA has opposed the government’s initial security proposals but supported other sound alternatives.

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Practical Aviation Security – Chapter 10

How 9-11 Changed GA

Temporary Flight Restrictions

Airspace restrictions are one strategy that the government uses to protect facilities and congested populations during special events. The issuance of temporary flight restrictions has become a confusing issue for the GA community and has resulted in thousands of unintentional violations. The FAA has a website where pilots can find information on TFRs, but it is still difficult for pilots to keep up with new and changing TFRs.

 

As of December 2006, there were 6,658 TFR violations since 9-11. More than 1,600 were within TFRs over locations where the president of the United States was traveling, more than 3,000 were related to Washington, D.C., security breaches, and 2,600 were related to pilots inadvertently flying into the Washington, D.C., ADIZ.

 

In many cases, the aircraft in violation had to be intercepted by a U.S. military or Customs and Border Protection aircraft..

 

Part of the reason there are so many airspace violations has been mentioned—making sense of the actual TFR itself. The other problem contributing to airspace violations is that for many years pilots knew the areas to avoid; they were clearly marked on aeronautical charts and temporary flight restrictions were rare.

 

Pilots must now diligently read each applicable NOTAM and check additional information online to ensure that he or she has all of the information essential for the flight, including TFRs, which are temporal in nature.

The FAA recently started a Washington, D.C., ADIZ training course in an attempt to reduce the number of violations

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Practical Aviation Security – Chapter 10

How 9-11 Changed GA

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Reinforcement

  • Securing general aviation is challenging considering the magnitude and nature of GA operations
  • General aviation aircraft account for more passengers and hours flown than commercial service aircraft
  • The Aviation and Transportation Security Act of 2001 and several other security measures aimed at restricting GA operations were implemented after 9-11
  • All pilots are required to have both the pilot certificate and a government-issued photo ID with them when flying
  • After 9-11, the U.S. government felt the quickest way to protect essential facilities and places where large numbers of people gathered was to restrict the airspace around those venues

General Aviation Airport Security Program

Since 9-11, the TSA and the U.S. Congress have focused on creating security regulations for commercial service airports and the airline industry. These regulations have had minimal impact on GA operations.

With a lack of security regulations covering GA airport operations, GA airport sponsors routinely question why security measures and related funding should be of concern.

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Practical Aviation Security – Chapter 9

General Aviation Airport Security Program

DHS identified security threats related to general aviation community:

Using GA aircraft as a weapon of mass destruction

Using GA aircraft to transport dangerous individuals

Using GA aircraft to transport dangerous materials

The Department of Homeland Security has identified three security threats related to the general aviation community:

using a GA aircraft as a weapon of mass destruction

using GA to transport dangerous individuals into the country

using GA to transport dangerous materials into the country

There is some evidence to support these concerns as the GA industry was heavily used throughout the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s to smuggle drugs into the United States.

Additionally, it was within the GA flight training industry where the 9-11 hijackers trained.

GA airports house fuel trucks and fire trucks, either of which can be stolen and used for other purposes, such as a bomb or to gain or force access into a secure area. GA airports may also be targets for domestic terrorism, acts of violence from radical environmental or wildlife activists groups, criminal activities, or even workplace violence.

Certain structures on airports may be considered high-value targets, particularly air traffic control facilities and airway navigation equipment.

 

The destruction of a small air traffic control tower at a remote GA airport could be a significant achievement for a domestic terrorist organization determined to make a statement about the impact of aviation on the environment or to inflict harm to a society and its government.

 

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Practical Aviation Security – Chapter 9

General Aviation Airport Security Program

Airport managers routinely find themselves involved in:

Community noise issues

Wildlife management

Development projects

Wetland protection

Management of storm water runoff

Airport managers routinely find themselves involved in:

Community noise issues

Wildlife management

Development projects

Wetland protection

Management of storm water runoff

These issues are often interrelated with other environmental concerns such as deicing chemicals or pesticides.

These and many other issues are environmentally important, making airports and associated facilities potential targets for ecoterrorist groups, vandalism, and civil disturbances.

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Economic benefit

There is an economic benefit to securing the GA airport.

 

A secure airport can attract corporate operators who are looking to protect their multimillion-dollar investment in aircraft transportation.

 

Without proper security measures, corporate operators often will land at a GA airport to drop off or pick up passengers, then ferry the aircraft to another nearby airport that does have adequate security (e.g., perimeter fencing, security patrols, and airfield access control measures). In these cases, the unsecured GA airport often loses the fuel sales and service fees.

Airfield security measures usually have an added safety benefit by restricting access to those who have business on the airport. Access control measures have been successfully used to reduce runway incursions for several years, and fencing helps keep wildlife and inadvertent access by the public from coming onto the airfield.

 

There are few in the GA airport community who want to administer new TSA regulations! With every new GA security incident, lawmakers again examine GA as a potential concern for national security.

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Practical Aviation Security – Chapter 9

General Aviation Airport Security Program

RVA’s GA Airport Security Program Contents

Protected as confidential information

Distribution of security plan

ASC contact info

General airport information

Definitions and terms

Description of AMA

Description of the airport security procedures

Copy of the airport emergency plan grid map

Identification of airport personnel

Law enforcement support

Airport security committee

Security training programs for airport tenants

Local TSA and FBI contact information

Information technology security procedures

Robinson Aviation, Inc. (RVA), a Virginia-based company that conducted GA security assessments throughout Virginia and other states, developed an airport security program format for GA.

 

RVA’s GA Airport Security Program Contents

Notification that the document is protected as confidential information.

Distribution of the security plan and record of amendments.

Airport security coordinator contact information and security responsibilities.

General airport information. Description of the airport, organizational structure, airport activities and characteristics, emergency contact telephone numbers, airport administration, and airport address.

Definitions and terms.

Description of the aircraft movement area (AMA). Some GA operators may elect to use the AMA in lieu of using the Part 1542 terminology of air operations area, secured area, and so on to delineate the location that must be protected (i.e., the airfield).

Description of the airport security procedures, including the designation of areas if so desired, access control procedures, airport security processes, and perimeter barriers/fencing.

A copy of the airport emergency plan grid map. Normally, this map is used by off-and on-airport fire response personnel to locate crash sites. It is also helpful for law enforcement officers (LEOs)when they need to respond to a particular part of the airfield and should be supplied to those local LEOs who normally patrol or respond to the airport.

Identification of airport personnel. This section describes the personnel identification and vehicle identification system. At airports with formalized badging, this section describes the background checks that individuals are required to undergo to receive a badge, and any security training they must complete, along with recurrent certification procedures. Although many GA airports do not have a formalized badging process (some do), other forms of ID can be used to properly identify who is on the airfield. Some examples are government-issued photo IDs and an FAA-issued pilot certificates, law enforcement or emergency worker identification, FAA or TSA inspector credentials, military identification, or a driver’s license. Vehicle identification requirements are also described in this section, along with the requirements to obtain appropriate vehicle identification.

Law enforcement support. This section includes any memorandum’s of understanding or letters of agreement that exist between the airport and any law enforcement agency, plus descriptions of the roles and responsibilities of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies with respect to the airport. This section includes communication protocols with law enforcement, records of LEO activity on airport property, and any training programs for LEOs for airport security response procedures.

Airport security committee. This section describes the makeup, mission, and meeting schedule of the airport security committee. The committee should include the airport operator, local law enforcement and any contracted airport security personnel, representatives from the airport tenants including fixed-base operator management, corporate operators, small aircraft operators, flight schools, aircraft maintenance operators and similar personnel, aircraft rescue and fire-fighting personnel, and local community representatives. To keep the size of the committee manageable, airport tenants with similar business structures may wish to appoint a designee to represent their interests collectively. For example, at airports where there are dozens of based corporate flight operators and perhaps hundreds of small aircraft operators, they will usually form their own associations on the airport. These associations should be represented on the security committee.

Security training programs for airport tenants.

Local TSA and FBI contact information for individuals who can work with the airport operator on security-related issues.

Information technology security procedures to ensure computer security is maintained, including management and operational controls.

Most GA airports have an airport emergency plan (AEP) that describes procedures to be used in the event of a number of emergencies, including aircraft crashes, power outages, hazardous material incidents, and bomb threats. When an airport security program is developed for a GA airport, the security sections, hijacking, bomb threat, improvised explosive device detection and mitigation, and so on should be extracted from the AEP and placed in the security plan. This will prevent the inadvertent release of security-sensitive information to the general public as the AEP is usually a public document and susceptible to open records requests.

 

Should GA airports be regulated, it is likely that the regulations will contain elements of, if not completely mirror, Part 1542 Partial Security Programs. In developing an airport security program for a GA airport, the operator should take this into consideration.

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GA Airport Security Best Practices

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Practical Aviation Security – Chapter 9

GA Airport Security Best Practices

Logistical Concerns

Size and nature

Staffing

Airport funding

Creating security procedures at GA airports requires operators to consider numerous logistical concerns.

 

GA airport operations vary widely in size and nature.

Some may be single dirt strips with a couple of flight training aircraft conducting three or four operations a month.

Others may be large, busy corporate GA airports with numerous runways located near large cities, accommodating 20,000 operations or more a month and mostly with large business jet aircraft.

 

Many smaller GA airport operators believe they pose very little security risk, whereas larger GA airports provide access to aircraft carrying tens of thousands of gallons of fuel, making them potential weapons.

 

Staffing at GA airports also varies.

At some small facilities the airport manager may not be a full-time employee.

Medium-sized GA airports usually have staff ranging from 2 to 10 personnel.

Large GA airports can employ a staff of 20 or more.

 

Airport funding is also problematic for GA airports. Funding may be available from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through the State Homeland Security Grant Program.

 

The State Homeland Security Grant Program provides funding to states to purchase equipment to protect critical infrastructure. This includes funding safety measures applied to GA airports.

Preventing aircraft theft is primarily the aircraft owner’s responsibility.

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State of GA Security
In 2007, Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP)/Transportation Research Board (TRB) completed a study of GA safety and security practices

In 2007, the Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP)/Transportation Research Board (TRB) completed a study of GA safety and security practices. The report discovered several interesting perspectives related to GA security:

Federal regulation of general aviation airports is very limited and often left to the states, more than half of which have licensing and inspection requirements for GA airports. These requirements are most often related to safety and follow the Part 139 guidelines, but they are not necessarily related to security.

GA airports frequently enter into agreements with local emergency responders and other federal and state law enforcement agencies to assist with security.

Although both the FAA and the TSA have promulgated legislation to address general aviation airports, few actual regulations have been generated.

The majority of GA airports (80%) that responded to the TRB’s survey reported that they do have a security plan in place. However, many do not have an active airport security committee.

With respect to perimeter fencing, most of the airports were greater than 40% fenced, and fencing was reported to be one of the primary upgrades to security. The report also noted that most fencing was in place before 9-11 and was intended to deter wildlife from the airfield.

Most airports participate in the Airport Watch Program of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) (discussed later in the chapter), and one airport, Centennial Airport in Denver, Colorado, takes it a step further and offers a reward program for providing information that leads to an arrest or investigation.

Several states, including Virginia and Colorado, had taken additional measures related to GA airport security. Virginia now has a voluntary security certification program and airports may receive education as well as technical and resources assistance to secure their facilities.

Colorado’s Office of Preparedness and Security developed the Terrorism Protective Measures Resource Guide, and one airport operator called in the National Guard’s Full Spectrum Integrated Vulnerability Assessment team to assess the airports’ vulnerabilities. Several industry organizations including the National Business Aviation Association and Airport’s Council International developed security guidance for their members.

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Attempts to Secure General Aviation

In 2003, the TSA commissioned an aviation security advisory committee comprised of numerous industries such as the American Association of Airport Executives, the National Business Aviation Association, and the National Air Transport Association.

The committee developed a comprehensive list of recommendations, which were forwarded to the TSA for consideration resulting in Information Publication (IP) A-001 Security Guidelines for General Aviation Airports.

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Practical Aviation Security – Chapter 9

Attempts to Secure General Aviation

IP A001 focused on security enhancements in six areas

Personnel

Aircraft

Airport/Facilities

Surveillance

Security plans and communications

Specialty operations

The IP A001 focused on security enhancements in six areas. Among the recommendations are the following:

Personnel

The pilot in command should verify the identities of his or her passengers.

Restrict access to aircraft by student pilots.

Fixed-base operators should implement sign-in/sign-out procedures for transient pilots.

Aircraft

Aircraft should be secured using existing mechanisms such as door locks, keyed ignitions, aircraft stored in hangars, and the use of propeller or throttle locks or security tape.

Airports/facilities

Implement reasonable vehicle access controls to facilities and ramps, including signage, fencing, gates, or other positive control techniques.

Install outdoor lighting covering aircraft parking and hangar areas, fuel farm and fuel truck parking areas, and airport access points. Fuel trucks and fire trucks should require higher levels of protection.

Secure hangar doors when unattended.

Post signs warning against trespassing and unauthorized use of aircraft, and post phone numbers to airport operations and the nearest law enforcement agency

Surveillance

Implement an airport community watch program such as the AOPA Airport Watch.

Familiarize local law enforcement officers with the airport facilities. This should include advising law enforcement of who is authorized to be on the property, how to drive on the airfield without endangering aircraft, and the normal operations for that airfield.

Security procedures and communications

Create a security plan for the airport including an emergency locator map (often used by the fire department to quickly find facilities on airport), and create procedures for handling bomb threats and suspected stolen or hijacked aircraft.

Develop a threat communication system including 24-hour phone numbers for the airport director, local police or sheriff’s department, fire department, FBI, TSA, and other organizations.

Specialty operations (such as agricultural flights)

This section addresses agricultural aircraft operations and the importance of aircraft owners to control access to their aircraft and chemicals.

 

The TSA also included an airport self-assessment that airport operators could use to determine security measures they should be implementing. The TSA has attempted to put the assessment tool into a computer program, but that effort has not been successful because of the variety of operational characteristics in GA airports.

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State Actions
In 2002, several states attempted to pass laws placing severe restrictions on GA aircraft operators but met strong opposition by FAA

Several states have started to adopt their own general aviation airport regulations. Many of these programs have been in response to specific aviation security incidents.

 

Historically, it has been illegal for states to impose regulations on federally funded airports. Although this has occurred in some states, such as California, the FAA is very careful that state restrictions or regulations on airports do not interfere with the national air traffic control system or intrastate commerce.

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AOPA Airport Watch
Enlists 550,000 GA pilots to watch for and report suspicious activities

One of the more popular GA security programs is the AOPA/TSA partnership Airport Watch Program. This program enlists the support of 550,000 GA pilots to watch for and report suspicious activities that might have security implications.

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Reinforcement

  • Creating security procedures at GA airports requires operators to consider numerous logistical concerns
  • In 2007, Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP)/Transportation Research Board (TRB) completed a study of GA safety and security practices
  • In 2003, TSA commissioned an aviation security advisory committee comprised of numerous industries
  • Information Publication (IP) A-001 Security Guidelines for General Aviation Airports focused on security enhancements in six areas
  • Several states have started to adopt their own general aviation airport regulations
  • One of the more popular GA security programs is AOPA/TSA partnership Airport Watch Program

Fixed-Base Operator Security
“Truck stop” for GA aircraft

Fixed-base operators (FBOs) serve as the “truck stops” for GA aircraft. FBOs provide fueling, aircraft handling, and hangar storage services. Many FBOs also provide aircraft charter services. FBOs and business aircraft operators share the responsibility and work together to secure the business aviation industry.

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Signature Aviation Flight Support was one of the first FBOs to develop its own security procedures

FBOs are predominantly represented by the National Air Transport Association. Signature Aviation Flight Support was one of the first FBOs to develop its own security procedures, which include the following recommendations:

 

Flight crews must provide photo identification to gain access to the Signature ramp.

Flight crews must identify all passengers before they are allowed access to Signature’s ramp and escort passengers to and from their aircraft.

FBO personnel must maintain line-of-sight surveillance of passengers on the ramp who are not escorted by the pilot.

Passengers are asked to walk directly, and as a group, to their aircraft and not delay entering their aircraft.

Transient flight crews are issued special codes upon their arrival to guarantee that the same flight crews return to their respective aircraft.

The use of personal cars or limousines on Signature’s ramp is not permitted.

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Secure Fixed-Base Operator (FBO) Program

TSA’s Secure Fixed Base Operator Program –

A proof of concept, public-private sector partnership program

will allow FBOs to check passenger and crew identification against manifest or eAPIS10 filings for positive identification of passengers and crew onboard general aviation aircraft.

eAPIS checks are becoming an increasing part of GA security as DHS focuses more on deterring or catching individuals with ill-intent coming into the United States.

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Helicopter Security

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Practical Aviation Security – Chapter 9

Helicopter Security

Fly at slow speeds, through congested city areas

Helicopter security should include suspicious awareness training

Tourist platforms, oil rig transport, medical and law enforcement, power line maintenance

Helicopters are able to fly at slow speeds, through congested city areas making them excellent platforms to fly in armed personnel to conduct a terrorist active shooter inside a stadium, airport or any open air assembly, bypassing any ground defenses.

Helicopters have mostly been used for prison escapes, and as observation platforms for follow up criminal activity.

As with other forms of aviation, security measures should not eliminate the inherent benefit and use of the form of transportation or use. Helicopters are profitably operated as tourist platforms and for all sorts of other uses such as oil rig transport, medical and law enforcement, power line maintenance, and so on. Good helicopter security should include suspicious awareness training for helicopter pilots and helicopter operations personnel.

Security programs should be part of any helicopter operation with procedures for pilots under duress (code words, panic alarms), being hijacked or feeling that there is a threat on their helicopter.

In certain cases, commercial helicopter operations feed directly into aircraft flight operations, so any charter or scheduled helicopter flight that transfers baggage and passengers into a commercial airliner under a security program should ensure that all personnel and items have undergone the appropriate screening.

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Training for GA Airport Security and Law Enforcement Personnel
Training for operators without security background, newcomers, aviation businesses, pilots and aircraft owners, and law enforcement and emergency workers

GA security-related training programs include topics such as the following:

How to recognize GA aircraft and facilities that could be used for illegal purposes

How to apply crime prevention through environmental design concepts to GA airports

Establishing an Airport Watch Program

Establishing an aircraft key control system

Antitheft devices for GA aircraft

Security signage and marking plans

How to orient local law enforcement officers to the airport environment and aircraft operations

Creation of an airport security committee

Creation of an emergency notification system

National Incident Management System fundamentals

How to create a business continuity plan

Developing instruction detection, integrated security, and closed-circuit television systems

Troubleshooting airport security plans

Most GA airport operators do not have aviation security experience or only may have commercial airport security experience. Therefore, training in GA security should be required for anyone without a GA security background.

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Alien Flight Student Program

Title 49 CFR Part 1552

Title 49 CFR Part 1552 addresses the security of flight schools and awareness training for flight school employees.

Considering that the 9-11 hijackers were trained at U.S. flight schools, it made sense to begin applying security regulations for flight schools. Shortly after 9-11, the FAA sent security guidance to all flight schools.

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Practical Aviation Security – Chapter 9

Alien Flight Student Program

Alien Flight Student Program

(Flight Training Candidate Checks Program)

Candidates wishing to receive flight instruction on an aircraft that is 12,500 pounds or less, must prove US citizenship

Originally known as the Alien Flight Training Rule (now known as the Flight Training Candidate Checks Program), this section requires every flight student to prove his or her U.S. citizenship before beginning flight training in an aircraft weighing 12,500 pounds or less.

 

Foreign flight students are required to complete a criminal history record check(CHRC) and submit their finger-prints to the TSA.

 

The regulation not only applies to the thousands of flight schools across the United States but also to every individual certified flight instructor, every airline flight-training academy that uses flight simulators, and any aviation college or university conducting flight training.

Section 1552.3 applies specifically to instruction given in an aircraft with a maximum gross takeoff weight of more than 12,500 pounds. The regulation requires flight schools to notify the TSA that a candidate has requested such flight training.

For candidates wishing to receive flight instruction on an aircraft that is 12,500 pounds or less, the flight school or flight instructor must verify the student’s U.S. citizenship; if the candidate is not a U.S. citizen, the flight school or flight instructor must require the individual to register with the TSA before beginning flight training.

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Practical Aviation Security – Chapter 9

Flight School Security Awareness Training

Flight School Security Awareness Training

Good security of flight school aircraft or any aircraft on a GA airport should include:

Locking aircraft

Using throttle, prop, and tie-down locks

Securing hangar doors

Not leaving ignition keys in the aircraft, even momentarily

Reporting suspicious activity to the authorities immediately

Vigilance on the part of the flight instructor over his or her new students until trust has been established

The TSA has also created a flight school awareness training program. Title 49 CFR Parts 1552.21 and 1552.23 are specific to flight schools operating under Title 49 U.S.C. Subtitle VII.

 

Part 1552.23 requires that each flight school employee must complete the TSA’s Flight School Security Awareness Training Program.13 Flight schools must maintain records of the security awareness training completed by their personnel.

The training includes:

Situational scenarios,

Suspicious behavior of personnel,

Signs that an aircraft has been altered for illegal uses

Other information useful for identifying flight candidates who may be pursuing illegal activities.

Flight schools may elect to use their own training program, which must include everything in the TSA’s online training.

 

Shortly after 9-11, the FAA issued guidance for flight school security. The TSA followed up with its own handout in 2006.

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Practical Aviation Security – Chapter 9

Maryland-3

Maryland-3

College Park

Washington Executive/Hyde Field

Potomac Airfield

Title 49 CFR Part 1562 addresses three GA airports located close to the center of Washington, D.C. These are:

College Park Airport

Washington Executive/Hyde Field

Potomac Airfield

 

They are presently the only GA airports with specific security regulations.

 

Each of the Maryland-3 airports must have an airport security coordinator who, similar to an airport security coordinator at a commercial service airport, administers the TSA’s security requirements. This includes maintaining a copy of the airport security procedures and a copy of the FAA procedures applicable to GA operations at the Maryland- 3 airports.

 

The Security coordinators must:

Provide their names and other identifying information including fingerprints and social security numbers to the TSA.

Have successfully completed a security threat assessment (STA) and not have been found guilty (or not guilty by reason of insanity) of any of the disqualifying offenses as outlined in Title 49 CFR Part 1542.209.

Must implement a set of security procedures. These include:

Keeping a record of those authorized to use the airport,

Monitoring the security of aircraft during operational and nonoperational hours,

Alerting aircraft owners/operators and the TSA of unsecured aircraft,

Implementing and maintaining security awareness procedures at the airport,

Limiting approval for pilots who violate the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Area Flight Restricted Zone and are forced to land at the airport.

They also contain any additional procedures required by the TSA to provide for the security of aircraft operations into or out of the airport.

The TSA has the authority to inspect the airport and related security program documentation.

 

Each pilot flying into and out of the Maryland-3 must provide the TSA with:

Name,

Social security number,

Date of birth,

Current address and phone,

Current airman or student pilot certificate,

Medical certificate,

A government-issued photo ID,

Fingerprints.

Each pilot must:

Provide a list of the make, model, and registration number of each aircraft that he or she intends to operate at the airport.

Successfully complete a security threat assessment and receive a briefing acceptable to the TSA and the FAA of the operating procedures for the airport.

Not have been convicted or found not guilty by reason of insanity, in any jurisdiction, during the 10 years preceding application for authorization, of any of the disqualifying offenses listed in 49 CFR 1542.209.

Not have a record on file with the FAA of a violation of a prohibited area, a flight restriction, any special security instructions issued under 14 CFR 99.7, a restricted area designated, any emergency air traffic rules issued under 14 CFR 91.139, or a temporary flight restriction.

 

If a pilot or airport security coordinator violates any of these or commits a disqualifying offense, he or she must notify the TSA within 24 hours of conviction.

 

Pilots flying into the Maryland-3 must secure their aircraft after flight, file a flight plan (IFR or VFR), and obtain an air traffic control clearance and transponder code.

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Reinforcement

  • Fixed-base operators (FBOs) serve as “truck stops” for GA aircraft
  • FBOs are predominantly represented by National Air Transport Association
  • Good helicopter security should include suspicious awareness training for helicopter pilots and helicopter operations personnel.
  • Training in GA security should be required for anyone without a GA security background
  • Title 49 CFR Part 1552 addresses security of flight schools and awareness training for flight school employees
  • Candidates wishing to receive flight instruction on an aircraft that is 12,500 pounds or less, must prove US citizenship
  • Title 49 CFR Part 1562 addresses three GA airports located close to center of Washington, D.C

Aircraft Security under General Operating and Flight Rules
Title 49 CFR Part 1550

Title 49 CFR Part 1550:

Applies to general aviation aircraft operations,

Provides for the TSA to inspect any aircraft operations into sterile areas of commercial service airports.

Includes requirements of the Twelve-Five Security Program for aircraft engaged in scheduled service, charter, or cargo operations that are more than 12,500 pounds and not under any other security program.

For aircraft operations where a sterile area is involved, either if a passenger or crewmember enplanes from or deplanes into one, if the operation is not already covered under a scheduled passenger service security program (full or partial) or public or private charter operations under Title 49 Part 1544 or Part 1546, screening must be done.

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Practical Aviation Security – Chapter 10

Twelve-Five Standard Security Program

Aircraft of 12,500 pounds or more not operating into or out of a sterile area and not covered under a program under Title 49 CFR Part 1544 or 1546 (Domestic or Foreign Air Carrier Operations) must adhere to the Twelve-Five rule.

 

Aircraft of 12,500 pounds or more not operating into or out of a sterile area and not covered under a program under Title 49 CFR Part 1544 or 1546 (Domestic or Foreign Air Carrier Operations) must adhere to the Twelve-Five rule.

 

Any aircraft operator conducting commercial aircraft operations (scheduled service, private or public charter or cargo) where the operator owns or has managing control of the aircraft must search the plane before departure and screen passengers and carry-on items.

 

The TSA must first notify the aircraft operator that such security measures are necessary through NOTAM, letter, or other communication. Aircraft operators can apply for waivers from the TSA for these procedures.

 

Presently almost 1,000 aircraft operators must adhere to the Twelve-Five rule.

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Practical Aviation Security – Chapter 10

Agricultural Aircraft Security

Security recommendations for agricultural operators

Securing aircraft and chemical agents

Enhancing lighting

Parking farm equipment to prevent taxiing

Establish contact with local law enforcement

The FBI indicated that in 1993 Osama bin Laden assessed the possibility of using an agricultural aircraft as a method to disperse chemical or biological weapons.

 

After 9-11, the FBI visited the thousands of agricultural pilots across the United States to assess the potential risk from this industry. In an effort to prevent the theft of their planes for potential use in a terrorist attack and to ward off stifling federal regulations, the National Agricultural Aviation Association developed several security recommendations and participated on the TSA advisory committee.

 

Although the threat from a stolen agricultural aircraft exists, the aviation agricultural community is small and well known to the local farmers and chemical distributors.

 

Security recommendations for agricultural operators include:

Securing aircraft and chemical agents when not in use,

Enhancing the lighting around aircraft and chemical storage areas,

Parking farm equipment such as loaders and combines in areas that prevent taxiing of aircraft when not in use,

Establishing contact with local law enforcement agencies.

 

Immediately reporting stolen aircraft or chemical agents is fundamental to agricultural aviation security.

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Corporate Aviation Security

There is no hard and fast definition of a corporate aircraft. A corporate aircraft could be a Cessna 172 that a business uses to fly for servicing regional accounts. A corporate aircraft could also be a Gulfstream V, a large business jet, owned by a large corporation and that flies to destinations around the world. Although the security measures discussed in this section are directed primarily at the larger business aircraft, they could also apply to smaller aircraft operations.

Overall, the business aviation community may not have the security measures of commercial aviation operations, such as passenger and baggage screening, but it is a mistake to think that no security measures are present. A corporate aircraft is a multi million dollar investment for a business, and businesses owners want to ensure that investment is protected.

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Practical Aviation Security – Chapter 10

Corporate Aviation Security

Long before 9-11, corporations already took many preventative measures to ensure the safety and the security of their aircraft and passengers

Business dealings throughout the world

Motivated to provide for security of flight operations

Long before 9-11, corporations already took many preventative measures to ensure the safety and the security of their aircraft and passengers. It is not uncommon for a business aircraft to fly into a small airport that is more convenient for their passengers but lacks the hangar space to store the aircraft, then to shuttle the aircraft to another larger airport to hangar the aircraft until it is needed again, hours or days later.

 

Another factor with corporate aircraft security is that corporations often have business dealings throughout the world. Corporate aviation security considerations must include differences in culture, customs laws, currency, immigration, and the threat to the aircraft and its occupants in various parts of the world.

 

Corporations are also motivated to provide for security of their flight operations as a litigious society has made certain that were anything to happen to the safety and security of those carried onboard a corporate plane, the corporation would have to demonstrate in court that diligent and reasonable security measures were taken.

 

Regardless of the size of the company, every corporate aircraft operator should have a designated security director and a standard aircraft operations security program administered by the coordinator.

A few aircraft operators are large enough and have enough cause to go into Reagan National Airport that they employ their own armed security officers (ASOs) who are certified law enforcement officers.

 

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Practical Aviation Security – Chapter 10

Corporate Aviation Security

National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) provided list for minimum security requirements

Ensure home facility perimeter security

Require positive access control

Close and lock hangar doors

Confirm the identity and authority

Post emergency numbers

Confirm security of destination facilities

The following bullet list is provided by the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) (1995-2008) and should serve as minimum security requirements at the corporate operator’s home base:

Ensure home facility perimeter security with effective fencing, lighting, security patrols, gates and limited access areas

Ensure street-side gates and doors are closed and locked at all times

Require positive access control for all external gates and doors

Close and lock hangar doors when the area is unattended

Secure all key storage areas (food and liquor, parts and tools, etc.)

Have an access control management system for keys and passes

Confirm the identity and authority of each passenger, vendor and visitor prior to allowing access to facilities and aircraft

Escort all visitors on the ramp and in the hangar area

Use a government issued photo ID to verify the identity of any visitor or vendor

Post emergency numbers prominently around facility

Ensure easy access to phones or “panic buttons” in various facility locations (break room, hangar bay, etc.)

Confirm security of destination facilities

Be aware of your surroundings and do not be complacent—challenge strangers

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Operational Security OpSec
Keeping private matters private

Operational Security or OpSec, means keeping private matters private. Only those with a “need to know” should be provided with information relating to operational security. OpSec includes:

The details of any corporate travel,

Security of computer information systems including laptops and personal digital assistants that may include corporate proprietary information and the protection of any written materials that may be kept onboard during the flight.

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Predeparture security procedures are completed whether aircraft is at its home base or at a transient location

Predeparture security procedures are completed whether the aircraft is at its home base or at a transient location. Predeparture procedures include:

Observing all maintenance on the aircraft during the time it is in a foreign airport,

Observing catering, fueling, and other activities to ensure that no dangerous or illegal items are placed onboard.

Any stores, such as food, beverages, cleaning materials, etc., should be inspected before being brought onboard.

People not associated with the aircraft should be kept away from it.

Checking the identity of all personnel onboard the flight, and where appropriate, screening passengers and bags.

Passengers should be either on a list of those authorized to fly on the corporation’s plane, or be vouched for by a passenger on the authorization list.

Collecting as much information as possible about the destination airport(s) and disseminating it to the passengers and crew via an intelligence briefing.

The briefing is prepared by the security director and should include the following:

Potential threats including street crime statistics, areas of town to be avoided, known recent hijackings, kidnappings or extortion attempts of executives traveling to that region, situations of general unrest, rioting, and the political and social climate.

Airport security measures at the destination airport.

Information on fixed base operators including any credentialing or background check requirements on FBO personnel including caterers, fuelers, and mechanics.

Emergency contact information for the U.S. embassy, Department of State, local law enforcement agencies, and U.S. military bases that may be nearby.

Information on ground transportation to and from local hotels, meeting locations, and so on.

Companies that carry well-known celebrities or political personalities must also be aware of the presence of unwanted news media and paparazzi.

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Intelligence

In-flight security

Flight crew training

Other security practices

When traveling to foreign airports, many corporations elect to use a groundhandling agent who can assist with customs and immigrations paperwork and other laws and regulations for traveling to a specific country. A basic background check should be done on any company or individual who acts as a handling agent for the corporation.

 

Intelligence: Corporations, particularly large corporations, should generate their own intelligence briefings and reports that are relevant to the operations of the company.

In-flight security: Flight crewmembers should assume the worst-case scenario if their aircraft is hijacked and take whatever action is necessary to defend the flight deck from intrusion and takeover.

With the increase of fractional operators, the pilots may not know whom they are carrying as much as a corporate flight crew who is flying the boss’s plane.

Flight crew training: Flight crew personnel should receive self-defense training and conduct exercises in how to handle a hijacking attempt.

Other security practices: Other security practices for corporate operators included the establishment of contingency plans for unattended items, bomb threats, hijack, and theft attempts. Corporations should conduct regular security awareness training for flight crews and passengers and exercises and simulations for certain aircraft incidents.

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Practical Aviation Security – Chapter 10

Corporate Aviation Security

National Business Aviation Association Transportation Security Administration Access Certificate

TSA Access Certificate (TSAAC) Program

Allows operators under Title 14 CFR Part 91 to fly internationally without having to pass through one of the eight “portal” countries

A major benefit to corporate flying is the ability to access more than 5,000 U.S. public use GA airports instead of being restricted to 450 commercial service airports. After 9-11, the U.S. government put tight restrictions on access to U.S. airports by GA aircraft coming into the United States from foreign locations.

 

The National Business Aviation Association pioneered the TSA Access Certificate (TSAAC) Program. TSAAC allows operators under Title 14 CFR Part 91 (private operator/owner) to fly internationally without having to pass through one of the eight “portal” countries as outlined in FDC 2/5319.

Presently, the portal countries include:

Canada

Mexico

the Bahamas

England

Scotland

Wales

Northern Ireland

 

Under the current pilot program, aircraft operators with a TSAAC certificate may fly out of three airports:

Teterboro, New Jersey

Morristown, New Jersey

White Plains, New York

 

According to the NBAA website, on August 23, 2006, the FAA issued NOTAM 6/7435, which allows operators of aircraft under 100,309 maximum take-off weight to fly internationally without having to pass through a portal country. As a result, operators meeting the requirements of this NOTAM no longer need to request waivers or obtain a TSAAC to avoid passing through a portal country.

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Practical Aviation Security – Chapter 9

DCA Access Standard Security Program (DASSP)

Section 1562.21 applies to:

Aircraft operations into or out of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA)

FBOs located at DCA or gateway airports

Aircraft operator security coordinator and crewmembers, passengers, and armed security officers on general aviation aircraft.

Section 1562.21 applies to:

Aircraft operations into or out of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA).

FBOs located at DCA or gateway airports,

The aircraft operator security coordinator and crewmembers, passengers, and armed security officers on the general aviation aircraft.

 

This section does not apply to medical evacuation flights, commercial service or military flights, or all-cargo operations.

 

To operate into and out of DCA:

Aircraft operators must designate a security coordinator who must have passed a CHRC/STA and implement the DCA Access Standard Security Program.

Flight crewmembers are required to pass a CHRC/STA and not have any airspace restriction violations on record with the FAA.

The aircraft operator must provide passenger manifest information to the TSA at least 24 hours before a flight and a security threat assessment will be conducted on each.

The aircraft operator may not carry a passenger into DCA who has not passed an STA.

For any flight, an aircraft must fly directly from a designated gateway airport to DCA (no interim stops), and the operator must ensure that passengers and carry-on bags have been screened.

Checked baggage and cargo must be screened and be inaccessible to the passengers throughout the flight.

Aircraft operating out of DCA must be equipped with a cockpit door and ensure it is closed and locked at all times.

Pilots must notify the National Capital Region Coordination Center before departure from DCA or a gateway airport into DCA. TSA has the authority to inspect the aircraft and the security programs.

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Practical Aviation Security – Chapter 9

DCA Access Standard Security Program (DASSP)

Each flight must carry a federal air marshal or an armed security officer (ASO)

ASO program is administrated by federal air marshal service

ASO must be qualified to carry a firearm

Each flight must carry a federal air marshal or an armed security officer (ASO).

The ASO program is administrated by the federal air marshal service.

Each ASO must be qualified to carry a firearm and complete an STA and a CHRC.

ASOs include active law enforcement officers employed by a governmental agency and retired law enforcement officers who are authorized to carry out the duties of a law enforcement officer.

Other ASOs must meet the requirements determined by the federal air marshal service.

Each ASO:

Must complete TSA specific training related to operations into and out of DCA.

Has the authority to use force, including deadly force.

May not drink alcohol or use intoxicating or hallucinatory drugs during the flight and within eight hours before the flight.

Must identify themselves to the flight crew before flight.

 

Each FBO operating out of or into DCA (i.e., a gateway airport) must implement an FBO security program, which includes designating a security coordinator, provisions to support the screening of persons and property, and the aircraft search for aircraft heading into or out of DCA.

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Reinforcement

  • Aircraft of 12,500 pounds or more not operating into or out of a sterile area and not covered under a program under Title 49 CFR Part 1544 or 1546 must adhere to the Twelve-Five rule
  • The National Agricultural Aviation Association developed several security recommendations and participated on the TSA advisory committee
  • Long before 9-11, corporations already took many preventative measures to ensure the safety and the security of their aircraft and passengers
  • Operational Security or OpSec, means keeping private matters private
  • Predeparture security procedures are completed whether the aircraft is at its home base or at a transient location
  • TSAAC allows operators under Title 14 CFR Part 91 (private operator/owner) to fly internationally without having to pass through one of the eight “portal” countries

Conclusion

This chapter analyzed various strategies for protecting general aviation airports. Strategies for securing GA airport environments used by government and stakeholders to GA were presented. A key challenge to developing legislation, policies and processes for securing GA airports is that stakeholders have different perceptions regarding the nature of GA. GA operations can vary greatly in the types of aircraft used and purposes for GA flight operations.

 

Congress and the TSA have focused GA security efforts on GA aircraft operators rather than GA airport operations.

 

In 2008, the TSA began working on the Large Aircraft Security Program, which may result in security regulations for GA aircraft private operations conducted under Title 14 CFR Part 91.

 

Frustrated with what was perceived as a lack of effort in GA security, Congress included in the 9-11 Act language requiring the TSA to assess the threat and vulnerabilities of GA airports by August of 2008.

 

The TSA and the FAA are challenged to allocate significant levels of funding for general aviation security enhancements because of security demands of commercial aviation and other modes of transportation. The TSA does offer a Secure Fixed Base Operator Program allowing FBOs to check passenger and crew identification against manifest or eAPIS filings for positive identification of passengers and crew onboard GA aircraft.

 

Without regulatory guidance, the creation of airport security programs for GA airports will continue to be challenging. Although policies and legislation are debated regarding GA security issues, most GA airport operators will continue to use commercial service airport security programs as models for enhancing security at GA airports.

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This chapter examines potential security threats to general aviation (GA) airports and flight operations. Strategies for protecting GA airports and aircraft are provided and an overview of changes in aviation security that affected GA operations after 9/11. You will learn about challenges to developing and implementing security regulations for GA airports. We also discuss the security strategies used by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and various GA airport and aircraft operators.

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Since 9/11, the general aviation community has struggled to help the public understand the nature of GA.

General aviation aircraft have long been used as platforms to smuggle narcotics and weapons, and for human trafficking operations.

In 1993, the FBI indicated that Osama bin Laden assessed the possibility of using an agricultural aircraft to spread a chemical agent on a ground target.

GA provides vital services to the United States and greatly enhances the U.S. economy. GA accounts for some 77% of all flights in the United States. With more than 200,000 aircraft, 650,000 pilots, and 19,000 airports and landing strips, the GA industry provides jobs and opportunities for thousands of people.

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GA provides vital services to the United States and greatly enhances the U.S. economy. Approximately 24% of all GA flights are conducted for business or corporate use nearly two-thirds of all business flights carry passengers in mid-level management positions, sales representatives, and project teams for major corporations.

 

GA accounts for three-quarters of all takeoffs and landings in the United States, contributes about $100 billion to the U.S economy, and has about 1.3 million jobs.

 

These estimates do not include multipliers, such as the number of jobs created by the hotel, rental car, restaurant, and tourist industries. The creation of GA security policies is important to protect these interests.

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Securing general aviation is challenging considering the magnitude and nature of GA operations. There are approximately 450 commercial service airports in the United States and more than 5,000 GA airports. Those 14,000 airports are not regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) or the TSA.

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Most GA aircraft are too light to be used as a platform for conventional explosives and heightened vigilance by GA airport and aircraft operators would make it difficult for someone to load the necessary quantity of explosives without detection.

The potential exists for light aircraft to be used as a delivery platform for chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear (CBRN) forms of weapons.

Agricultural aircraft used for spraying crops with pesticides and fertilizers pose a unique threat as a platform for a bio- logical or chemical attack because they are specifically designed for aerial dispersal and could be exploited by terrorists for this specific purpose.

The threat of a radiological or nuclear release by a light GA aircraft is tempered some- what by the fact that other means of attack (e.g., a suitcase, a car, etc.) are just as effective as aircraft in delivering such a device to a target site.

There are three primary issues to consider when addressing security of GA airports and aircraft. First, what is the threat to GA airports and aircraft; second, what is the threat to the public or infrastructure from GA aircraft; and third, what security measures should be required or recommended to prevent both of the aforementioned threats from occurring?

The biggest challenge in preventing attacks either on or with GA aircraft is that GA operations are vastly different than flight operations at a commercial-service airport.

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Although commercial service airports operate under Transportation Security Regulation Part 1542, GA airports do not have a counterpart regulation.

GA aircraft operations are regulated under Title 49 CFR Part 1550 for those aircraft operators conducting charter operations with aircraft in excess of 12,500 pounds MGTW (maximum gross takeoff weight) or aircraft operators whose passengers deplane into a sterile area.

There are also GA operations at commercial service airports.

Where GA operations occur on regulated commercial service airports, the tenants are required to adhere to both Part 1542 and the Airport Security Program.

In 2008, the TSA began working on the Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP), which will likely place regulations on GA aircraft operations conducted under Title 14 CFR Part 91 that are similar to the 12-5 Security Program.2 It has yet to be determined whether these programs will have security related effects on GA airport operators.

 

When the private charter rule was implemented, some general aviation airports saw their large aircraft operations shift to nearby commercial service airports where screening equipment and personnel were located.

This migration reduced fuel revenue at those GA airports, normally a major source of airport revenue.

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The Aviation and Transportation Security Act of 2001 and several other security measures aimed at restricting GA operations were implemented after 9-11.

These include regulations covering:

Security regulations on public and private charter flights,

Airspace restrictions,

New rules for flight training operations (Title 49 CFR Part 1552).

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A significant change to aviation (general and commercial) affecting pilots was the change to the long-standing pilot certificate.

All pilots are required to have both the pilot certificate and a government-issued photo ID with them when flying.

The FAA issued redesigned pilot certificates, which are difficult to forge.

 

When a pilot applies for a medical certificate or any new flight rating or certificate, the TSA checks the applicant against the no-fly and selectee lists, and possibly other terrorists watch lists.

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After 9-11, the U.S. government felt the quickest way to protect essential facilities and places where large numbers of people gathered was to restrict the airspace around those venues.

 

In addition to the regular airspace classifications, several areas are restricted in the interest of national security. The 9-11 attacks significantly expanded these restrictions.

 

Airspace restrictions primarily fall under the following five categories:

The air defense identification zone (ADIZ) extends from the surface to 18,000 feet. A contiguous ADIZ surrounds the entire United States; for an aircraft to enter, either an IFR flight plan or a Defense VFR flight plan is required. ADIZs are established over other areas such as military bases and centers of government (Washington, D.C.). VFR traffic entering an ADIZ must have permission from an air traffic control center.

A flight restriction zone (FRZ) extends in a circle around the Washington Monument. Entry is authorized only to those who have received a waiver from the TSA.

Prohibited airspace is continuously off limits. P-56, the prohibited area above the White House, extends from the ground to 18,000 feet. P-40 is the designation for the prohibited airspace above Camp David.

Restricted Airspace is more flexible than Prohibited airspace. Restricted airspace can be entered with permission of air traffic control. There is a large area of Restricted airspace surrounding Camp David, which becomes prohibited airspace when the president of the United States is staying there.

Temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) are areas temporarily designated as restricted or prohibited airspace. These are frequently established for special activities such as sporting events or when the president flies into a city outside of Washington, D.C. There are TFRs over Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in Florida, U.S. power plants, for various air shows, and other activities.

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Other special use airspace also exists and must be observed by GA pilots. Areas of special use airspace, which may be generally accessed by VFR traffic are:

National security areas,

Military operations areas (MOAs)

Military training routes (MTRs)

 

Operations in the Washington, D.C., ADIZ (and other areas of restricted airspace) fall under Special Federal Aviation Regulations (SFARs).

 

The establishment of TFRs and the expanded ADIZ over Washington, D.C., resulted in numerous violations as general aviation pilots on VFR flights wandered into restricted or prohibited airspace.

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) (and other general aviation groups) has been a strong opponent of unnecessary TFRs, although the organization remains a strong supporter of sound GA security measures.

 

There are numerous occasions where the AOPA has opposed the government’s initial security proposals but supported other sound alternatives.

*

Airspace restrictions are one strategy that the government uses to protect facilities and congested populations during special events. The issuance of temporary flight restrictions has become a confusing issue for the GA community and has resulted in thousands of unintentional violations. The FAA has a website where pilots can find information on TFRs, but it is still difficult for pilots to keep up with new and changing TFRs.

 

As of December 2006, there were 6,658 TFR violations since 9-11. More than 1,600 were within TFRs over locations where the president of the United States was traveling, more than 3,000 were related to Washington, D.C., security breaches, and 2,600 were related to pilots inadvertently flying into the Washington, D.C., ADIZ.

 

In many cases, the aircraft in violation had to be intercepted by a U.S. military or Customs and Border Protection aircraft..

 

Part of the reason there are so many airspace violations has been mentioned—making sense of the actual TFR itself. The other problem contributing to airspace violations is that for many years pilots knew the areas to avoid; they were clearly marked on aeronautical charts and temporary flight restrictions were rare.

 

Pilots must now diligently read each applicable NOTAM and check additional information online to ensure that he or she has all of the information essential for the flight, including TFRs, which are temporal in nature.

The FAA recently started a Washington, D.C., ADIZ training course in an attempt to reduce the number of violations

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Since 9-11, the TSA and the U.S. Congress have focused on creating security regulations for commercial service airports and the airline industry. These regulations have had minimal impact on GA operations.

With a lack of security regulations covering GA airport operations, GA airport sponsors routinely question why security measures and related funding should be of concern.

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The Department of Homeland Security has identified three security threats related to the general aviation community:

using a GA aircraft as a weapon of mass destruction

using GA to transport dangerous individuals into the country

using GA to transport dangerous materials into the country

There is some evidence to support these concerns as the GA industry was heavily used throughout the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s to smuggle drugs into the United States.

Additionally, it was within the GA flight training industry where the 9-11 hijackers trained.

GA airports house fuel trucks and fire trucks, either of which can be stolen and used for other purposes, such as a bomb or to gain or force access into a secure area. GA airports may also be targets for domestic terrorism, acts of violence from radical environmental or wildlife activists groups, criminal activities, or even workplace violence.

Certain structures on airports may be considered high-value targets, particularly air traffic control facilities and airway navigation equipment.

 

The destruction of a small air traffic control tower at a remote GA airport could be a significant achievement for a domestic terrorist organization determined to make a statement about the impact of aviation on the environment or to inflict harm to a society and its government.

 

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Airport managers routinely find themselves involved in:

Community noise issues

Wildlife management

Development projects

Wetland protection

Management of storm water runoff

These issues are often interrelated with other environmental concerns such as deicing chemicals or pesticides.

These and many other issues are environmentally important, making airports and associated facilities potential targets for ecoterrorist groups, vandalism, and civil disturbances.

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There is an economic benefit to securing the GA airport.

 

A secure airport can attract corporate operators who are looking to protect their multimillion-dollar investment in aircraft transportation.

 

Without proper security measures, corporate operators often will land at a GA airport to drop off or pick up passengers, then ferry the aircraft to another nearby airport that does have adequate security (e.g., perimeter fencing, security patrols, and airfield access control measures). In these cases, the unsecured GA airport often loses the fuel sales and service fees.

Airfield security measures usually have an added safety benefit by restricting access to those who have business on the airport. Access control measures have been successfully used to reduce runway incursions for several years, and fencing helps keep wildlife and inadvertent access by the public from coming onto the airfield.

 

There are few in the GA airport community who want to administer new TSA regulations! With every new GA security incident, lawmakers again examine GA as a potential concern for national security.

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Robinson Aviation, Inc. (RVA), a Virginia-based company that conducted GA security assessments throughout Virginia and other states, developed an airport security program format for GA.

 

RVA’s GA Airport Security Program Contents

Notification that the document is protected as confidential information.

Distribution of the security plan and record of amendments.

Airport security coordinator contact information and security responsibilities.

General airport information. Description of the airport, organizational structure, airport activities and characteristics, emergency contact telephone numbers, airport administration, and airport address.

Definitions and terms.

Description of the aircraft movement area (AMA). Some GA operators may elect to use the AMA in lieu of using the Part 1542 terminology of air operations area, secured area, and so on to delineate the location that must be protected (i.e., the airfield).

Description of the airport security procedures, including the designation of areas if so desired, access control procedures, airport security processes, and perimeter barriers/fencing.

A copy of the airport emergency plan grid map. Normally, this map is used by off-and on-airport fire response personnel to locate crash sites. It is also helpful for law enforcement officers (LEOs)when they need to respond to a particular part of the airfield and should be supplied to those local LEOs who normally patrol or respond to the airport.

Identification of airport personnel. This section describes the personnel identification and vehicle identification system. At airports with formalized badging, this section describes the background checks that individuals are required to undergo to receive a badge, and any security training they must complete, along with recurrent certification procedures. Although many GA airports do not have a formalized badging process (some do), other forms of ID can be used to properly identify who is on the airfield. Some examples are government-issued photo IDs and an FAA-issued pilot certificates, law enforcement or emergency worker identification, FAA or TSA inspector credentials, military identification, or a driver’s license. Vehicle identification requirements are also described in this section, along with the requirements to obtain appropriate vehicle identification.

Law enforcement support. This section includes any memorandum’s of understanding or letters of agreement that exist between the airport and any law enforcement agency, plus descriptions of the roles and responsibilities of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies with respect to the airport. This section includes communication protocols with law enforcement, records of LEO activity on airport property, and any training programs for LEOs for airport security response procedures.

Airport security committee. This section describes the makeup, mission, and meeting schedule of the airport security committee. The committee should include the airport operator, local law enforcement and any contracted airport security personnel, representatives from the airport tenants including fixed-base operator management, corporate operators, small aircraft operators, flight schools, aircraft maintenance operators and similar personnel, aircraft rescue and fire-fighting personnel, and local community representatives. To keep the size of the committee manageable, airport tenants with similar business structures may wish to appoint a designee to represent their interests collectively. For example, at airports where there are dozens of based corporate flight operators and perhaps hundreds of small aircraft operators, they will usually form their own associations on the airport. These associations should be represented on the security committee.

Security training programs for airport tenants.

Local TSA and FBI contact information for individuals who can work with the airport operator on security-related issues.

Information technology security procedures to ensure computer security is maintained, including management and operational controls.

Most GA airports have an airport emergency plan (AEP) that describes procedures to be used in the event of a number of emergencies, including aircraft crashes, power outages, hazardous material incidents, and bomb threats. When an airport security program is developed for a GA airport, the security sections, hijacking, bomb threat, improvised explosive device detection and mitigation, and so on should be extracted from the AEP and placed in the security plan. This will prevent the inadvertent release of security-sensitive information to the general public as the AEP is usually a public document and susceptible to open records requests.

 

Should GA airports be regulated, it is likely that the regulations will contain elements of, if not completely mirror, Part 1542 Partial Security Programs. In developing an airport security program for a GA airport, the operator should take this into consideration.

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Creating security procedures at GA airports requires operators to consider numerous logistical concerns.

 

GA airport operations vary widely in size and nature.

Some may be single dirt strips with a couple of flight training aircraft conducting three or four operations a month.

Others may be large, busy corporate GA airports with numerous runways located near large cities, accommodating 20,000 operations or more a month and mostly with large business jet aircraft.

 

Many smaller GA airport operators believe they pose very little security risk, whereas larger GA airports provide access to aircraft carrying tens of thousands of gallons of fuel, making them potential weapons.

 

Staffing at GA airports also varies.

At some small facilities the airport manager may not be a full-time employee.

Medium-sized GA airports usually have staff ranging from 2 to 10 personnel.

Large GA airports can employ a staff of 20 or more.

 

Airport funding is also problematic for GA airports. Funding may be available from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through the State Homeland Security Grant Program.

 

The State Homeland Security Grant Program provides funding to states to purchase equipment to protect critical infrastructure. This includes funding safety measures applied to GA airports.

Preventing aircraft theft is primarily the aircraft owner’s responsibility.

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In 2007, the Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP)/Transportation Research Board (TRB) completed a study of GA safety and security practices. The report discovered several interesting perspectives related to GA security:

Federal regulation of general aviation airports is very limited and often left to the states, more than half of which have licensing and inspection requirements for GA airports. These requirements are most often related to safety and follow the Part 139 guidelines, but they are not necessarily related to security.

GA airports frequently enter into agreements with local emergency responders and other federal and state law enforcement agencies to assist with security.

Although both the FAA and the TSA have promulgated legislation to address general aviation airports, few actual regulations have been generated.

The majority of GA airports (80%) that responded to the TRB’s survey reported that they do have a security plan in place. However, many do not have an active airport security committee.

With respect to perimeter fencing, most of the airports were greater than 40% fenced, and fencing was reported to be one of the primary upgrades to security. The report also noted that most fencing was in place before 9-11 and was intended to deter wildlife from the airfield.

Most airports participate in the Airport Watch Program of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) (discussed later in the chapter), and one airport, Centennial Airport in Denver, Colorado, takes it a step further and offers a reward program for providing information that leads to an arrest or investigation.

Several states, including Virginia and Colorado, had taken additional measures related to GA airport security. Virginia now has a voluntary security certification program and airports may receive education as well as technical and resources assistance to secure their facilities.

Colorado’s Office of Preparedness and Security developed the Terrorism Protective Measures Resource Guide, and one airport operator called in the National Guard’s Full Spectrum Integrated Vulnerability Assessment team to assess the airports’ vulnerabilities. Several industry organizations including the National Business Aviation Association and Airport’s Council International developed security guidance for their members.

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In 2003, the TSA commissioned an aviation security advisory committee comprised of numerous industries such as the American Association of Airport Executives, the National Business Aviation Association, and the National Air Transport Association.

The committee developed a comprehensive list of recommendations, which were forwarded to the TSA for consideration resulting in Information Publication (IP) A-001 Security Guidelines for General Aviation Airports.

*

The IP A001 focused on security enhancements in six areas. Among the recommendations are the following:

Personnel

The pilot in command should verify the identities of his or her passengers.

Restrict access to aircraft by student pilots.

Fixed-base operators should implement sign-in/sign-out procedures for transient pilots.

Aircraft

Aircraft should be secured using existing mechanisms such as door locks, keyed ignitions, aircraft stored in hangars, and the use of propeller or throttle locks or security tape.

Airports/facilities

Implement reasonable vehicle access controls to facilities and ramps, including signage, fencing, gates, or other positive control techniques.

Install outdoor lighting covering aircraft parking and hangar areas, fuel farm and fuel truck parking areas, and airport access points. Fuel trucks and fire trucks should require higher levels of protection.

Secure hangar doors when unattended.

Post signs warning against trespassing and unauthorized use of aircraft, and post phone numbers to airport operations and the nearest law enforcement agency

Surveillance

Implement an airport community watch program such as the AOPA Airport Watch.

Familiarize local law enforcement officers with the airport facilities. This should include advising law enforcement of who is authorized to be on the property, how to drive on the airfield without endangering aircraft, and the normal operations for that airfield.

Security procedures and communications

Create a security plan for the airport including an emergency locator map (often used by the fire department to quickly find facilities on airport), and create procedures for handling bomb threats and suspected stolen or hijacked aircraft.

Develop a threat communication system including 24-hour phone numbers for the airport director, local police or sheriff’s department, fire department, FBI, TSA, and other organizations.

Specialty operations (such as agricultural flights)

This section addresses agricultural aircraft operations and the importance of aircraft owners to control access to their aircraft and chemicals.

 

The TSA also included an airport self-assessment that airport operators could use to determine security measures they should be implementing. The TSA has attempted to put the assessment tool into a computer program, but that effort has not been successful because of the variety of operational characteristics in GA airports.

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Several states have started to adopt their own general aviation airport regulations. Many of these programs have been in response to specific aviation security incidents.

 

Historically, it has been illegal for states to impose regulations on federally funded airports. Although this has occurred in some states, such as California, the FAA is very careful that state restrictions or regulations on airports do not interfere with the national air traffic control system or intrastate commerce.

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One of the more popular GA security programs is the AOPA/TSA partnership Airport Watch Program. This program enlists the support of 550,000 GA pilots to watch for and report suspicious activities that might have security implications.

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Fixed-base operators (FBOs) serve as the “truck stops” for GA aircraft. FBOs provide fueling, aircraft handling, and hangar storage services. Many FBOs also provide aircraft charter services. FBOs and business aircraft operators share the responsibility and work together to secure the business aviation industry.

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FBOs are predominantly represented by the National Air Transport Association. Signature Aviation Flight Support was one of the first FBOs to develop its own security procedures, which include the following recommendations:

 

Flight crews must provide photo identification to gain access to the Signature ramp.

Flight crews must identify all passengers before they are allowed access to Signature’s ramp and escort passengers to and from their aircraft.

FBO personnel must maintain line-of-sight surveillance of passengers on the ramp who are not escorted by the pilot.

Passengers are asked to walk directly, and as a group, to their aircraft and not delay entering their aircraft.

Transient flight crews are issued special codes upon their arrival to guarantee that the same flight crews return to their respective aircraft.

The use of personal cars or limousines on Signature’s ramp is not permitted.

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TSA’s Secure Fixed Base Operator Program –

A proof of concept, public-private sector partnership program

will allow FBOs to check passenger and crew identification against manifest or eAPIS10 filings for positive identification of passengers and crew onboard general aviation aircraft.

eAPIS checks are becoming an increasing part of GA security as DHS focuses more on deterring or catching individuals with ill-intent coming into the United States.

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Helicopters are able to fly at slow speeds, through congested city areas making them excellent platforms to fly in armed personnel to conduct a terrorist active shooter inside a stadium, airport or any open air assembly, bypassing any ground defenses.

Helicopters have mostly been used for prison escapes, and as observation platforms for follow up criminal activity.

As with other forms of aviation, security measures should not eliminate the inherent benefit and use of the form of transportation or use. Helicopters are profitably operated as tourist platforms and for all sorts of other uses such as oil rig transport, medical and law enforcement, power line maintenance, and so on. Good helicopter security should include suspicious awareness training for helicopter pilots and helicopter operations personnel.

Security programs should be part of any helicopter operation with procedures for pilots under duress (code words, panic alarms), being hijacked or feeling that there is a threat on their helicopter.

In certain cases, commercial helicopter operations feed directly into aircraft flight operations, so any charter or scheduled helicopter flight that transfers baggage and passengers into a commercial airliner under a security program should ensure that all personnel and items have undergone the appropriate screening.

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GA security-related training programs include topics such as the following:

How to recognize GA aircraft and facilities that could be used for illegal purposes

How to apply crime prevention through environmental design concepts to GA airports

Establishing an Airport Watch Program

Establishing an aircraft key control system

Antitheft devices for GA aircraft

Security signage and marking plans

How to orient local law enforcement officers to the airport environment and aircraft operations

Creation of an airport security committee

Creation of an emergency notification system

National Incident Management System fundamentals

How to create a business continuity plan

Developing instruction detection, integrated security, and closed-circuit television systems

Troubleshooting airport security plans

Most GA airport operators do not have aviation security experience or only may have commercial airport security experience. Therefore, training in GA security should be required for anyone without a GA security background.

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Title 49 CFR Part 1552 addresses the security of flight schools and awareness training for flight school employees.

Considering that the 9-11 hijackers were trained at U.S. flight schools, it made sense to begin applying security regulations for flight schools. Shortly after 9-11, the FAA sent security guidance to all flight schools.

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Originally known as the Alien Flight Training Rule (now known as the Flight Training Candidate Checks Program), this section requires every flight student to prove his or her U.S. citizenship before beginning flight training in an aircraft weighing 12,500 pounds or less.

 

Foreign flight students are required to complete a criminal history record check(CHRC) and submit their finger-prints to the TSA.

 

The regulation not only applies to the thousands of flight schools across the United States but also to every individual certified flight instructor, every airline flight-training academy that uses flight simulators, and any aviation college or university conducting flight training.

Section 1552.3 applies specifically to instruction given in an aircraft with a maximum gross takeoff weight of more than 12,500 pounds. The regulation requires flight schools to notify the TSA that a candidate has requested such flight training.

For candidates wishing to receive flight instruction on an aircraft that is 12,500 pounds or less, the flight school or flight instructor must verify the student’s U.S. citizenship; if the candidate is not a U.S. citizen, the flight school or flight instructor must require the individual to register with the TSA before beginning flight training.

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Good security of flight school aircraft or any aircraft on a GA airport should include:

Locking aircraft

Using throttle, prop, and tie-down locks

Securing hangar doors

Not leaving ignition keys in the aircraft, even momentarily

Reporting suspicious activity to the authorities immediately

Vigilance on the part of the flight instructor over his or her new students until trust has been established

The TSA has also created a flight school awareness training program. Title 49 CFR Parts 1552.21 and 1552.23 are specific to flight schools operating under Title 49 U.S.C. Subtitle VII.

 

Part 1552.23 requires that each flight school employee must complete the TSA’s Flight School Security Awareness Training Program.13 Flight schools must maintain records of the security awareness training completed by their personnel.

The training includes:

Situational scenarios,

Suspicious behavior of personnel,

Signs that an aircraft has been altered for illegal uses

Other information useful for identifying flight candidates who may be pursuing illegal activities.

Flight schools may elect to use their own training program, which must include everything in the TSA’s online training.

 

Shortly after 9-11, the FAA issued guidance for flight school security. The TSA followed up with its own handout in 2006.

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Title 49 CFR Part 1562 addresses three GA airports located close to the center of Washington, D.C. These are:

College Park Airport

Washington Executive/Hyde Field

Potomac Airfield

 

They are presently the only GA airports with specific security regulations.

 

Each of the Maryland-3 airports must have an airport security coordinator who, similar to an airport security coordinator at a commercial service airport, administers the TSA’s security requirements. This includes maintaining a copy of the airport security procedures and a copy of the FAA procedures applicable to GA operations at the Maryland- 3 airports.

 

The Security coordinators must:

Provide their names and other identifying information including fingerprints and social security numbers to the TSA.

Have successfully completed a security threat assessment (STA) and not have been found guilty (or not guilty by reason of insanity) of any of the disqualifying offenses as outlined in Title 49 CFR Part 1542.209.

Must implement a set of security procedures. These include:

Keeping a record of those authorized to use the airport,

Monitoring the security of aircraft during operational and nonoperational hours,

Alerting aircraft owners/operators and the TSA of unsecured aircraft,

Implementing and maintaining security awareness procedures at the airport,

Limiting approval for pilots who violate the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Area Flight Restricted Zone and are forced to land at the airport.

They also contain any additional procedures required by the TSA to provide for the security of aircraft operations into or out of the airport.

The TSA has the authority to inspect the airport and related security program documentation.

 

Each pilot flying into and out of the Maryland-3 must provide the TSA with:

Name,

Social security number,

Date of birth,

Current address and phone,

Current airman or student pilot certificate,

Medical certificate,

A government-issued photo ID,

Fingerprints.

Each pilot must:

Provide a list of the make, model, and registration number of each aircraft that he or she intends to operate at the airport.

Successfully complete a security threat assessment and receive a briefing acceptable to the TSA and the FAA of the operating procedures for the airport.

Not have been convicted or found not guilty by reason of insanity, in any jurisdiction, during the 10 years preceding application for authorization, of any of the disqualifying offenses listed in 49 CFR 1542.209.

Not have a record on file with the FAA of a violation of a prohibited area, a flight restriction, any special security instructions issued under 14 CFR 99.7, a restricted area designated, any emergency air traffic rules issued under 14 CFR 91.139, or a temporary flight restriction.

 

If a pilot or airport security coordinator violates any of these or commits a disqualifying offense, he or she must notify the TSA within 24 hours of conviction.

 

Pilots flying into the Maryland-3 must secure their aircraft after flight, file a flight plan (IFR or VFR), and obtain an air traffic control clearance and transponder code.

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Title 49 CFR Part 1550:

Applies to general aviation aircraft operations,

Provides for the TSA to inspect any aircraft operations into sterile areas of commercial service airports.

Includes requirements of the Twelve-Five Security Program for aircraft engaged in scheduled service, charter, or cargo operations that are more than 12,500 pounds and not under any other security program.

For aircraft operations where a sterile area is involved, either if a passenger or crewmember enplanes from or deplanes into one, if the operation is not already covered under a scheduled passenger service security program (full or partial) or public or private charter operations under Title 49 Part 1544 or Part 1546, screening must be done.

*

Aircraft of 12,500 pounds or more not operating into or out of a sterile area and not covered under a program under Title 49 CFR Part 1544 or 1546 (Domestic or Foreign Air Carrier Operations) must adhere to the Twelve-Five rule.

 

Any aircraft operator conducting commercial aircraft operations (scheduled service, private or public charter or cargo) where the operator owns or has managing control of the aircraft must search the plane before departure and screen passengers and carry-on items.

 

The TSA must first notify the aircraft operator that such security measures are necessary through NOTAM, letter, or other communication. Aircraft operators can apply for waivers from the TSA for these procedures.

 

Presently almost 1,000 aircraft operators must adhere to the Twelve-Five rule.

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The FBI indicated that in 1993 Osama bin Laden assessed the possibility of using an agricultural aircraft as a method to disperse chemical or biological weapons.

 

After 9-11, the FBI visited the thousands of agricultural pilots across the United States to assess the potential risk from this industry. In an effort to prevent the theft of their planes for potential use in a terrorist attack and to ward off stifling federal regulations, the National Agricultural Aviation Association developed several security recommendations and participated on the TSA advisory committee.

 

Although the threat from a stolen agricultural aircraft exists, the aviation agricultural community is small and well known to the local farmers and chemical distributors.

 

Security recommendations for agricultural operators include:

Securing aircraft and chemical agents when not in use,

Enhancing the lighting around aircraft and chemical storage areas,

Parking farm equipment such as loaders and combines in areas that prevent taxiing of aircraft when not in use,

Establishing contact with local law enforcement agencies.

 

Immediately reporting stolen aircraft or chemical agents is fundamental to agricultural aviation security.

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There is no hard and fast definition of a corporate aircraft. A corporate aircraft could be a Cessna 172 that a business uses to fly for servicing regional accounts. A corporate aircraft could also be a Gulfstream V, a large business jet, owned by a large corporation and that flies to destinations around the world. Although the security measures discussed in this section are directed primarily at the larger business aircraft, they could also apply to smaller aircraft operations.

Overall, the business aviation community may not have the security measures of commercial aviation operations, such as passenger and baggage screening, but it is a mistake to think that no security measures are present. A corporate aircraft is a multi million dollar investment for a business, and businesses owners want to ensure that investment is protected.

*

Long before 9-11, corporations already took many preventative measures to ensure the safety and the security of their aircraft and passengers. It is not uncommon for a business aircraft to fly into a small airport that is more convenient for their passengers but lacks the hangar space to store the aircraft, then to shuttle the aircraft to another larger airport to hangar the aircraft until it is needed again, hours or days later.

 

Another factor with corporate aircraft security is that corporations often have business dealings throughout the world. Corporate aviation security considerations must include differences in culture, customs laws, currency, immigration, and the threat to the aircraft and its occupants in various parts of the world.

 

Corporations are also motivated to provide for security of their flight operations as a litigious society has made certain that were anything to happen to the safety and security of those carried onboard a corporate plane, the corporation would have to demonstrate in court that diligent and reasonable security measures were taken.

 

Regardless of the size of the company, every corporate aircraft operator should have a designated security director and a standard aircraft operations security program administered by the coordinator.

A few aircraft operators are large enough and have enough cause to go into Reagan National Airport that they employ their own armed security officers (ASOs) who are certified law enforcement officers.

 

*

The following bullet list is provided by the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) (1995-2008) and should serve as minimum security requirements at the corporate operator’s home base:

Ensure home facility perimeter security with effective fencing, lighting, security patrols, gates and limited access areas

Ensure street-side gates and doors are closed and locked at all times

Require positive access control for all external gates and doors

Close and lock hangar doors when the area is unattended

Secure all key storage areas (food and liquor, parts and tools, etc.)

Have an access control management system for keys and passes

Confirm the identity and authority of each passenger, vendor and visitor prior to allowing access to facilities and aircraft

Escort all visitors on the ramp and in the hangar area

Use a government issued photo ID to verify the identity of any visitor or vendor

Post emergency numbers prominently around facility

Ensure easy access to phones or “panic buttons” in various facility locations (break room, hangar bay, etc.)

Confirm security of destination facilities

Be aware of your surroundings and do not be complacent—challenge strangers

*

Operational Security or OpSec, means keeping private matters private. Only those with a “need to know” should be provided with information relating to operational security. OpSec includes:

The details of any corporate travel,

Security of computer information systems including laptops and personal digital assistants that may include corporate proprietary information and the protection of any written materials that may be kept onboard during the flight.

*

Predeparture security procedures are completed whether the aircraft is at its home base or at a transient location. Predeparture procedures include:

Observing all maintenance on the aircraft during the time it is in a foreign airport,

Observing catering, fueling, and other activities to ensure that no dangerous or illegal items are placed onboard.

Any stores, such as food, beverages, cleaning materials, etc., should be inspected before being brought onboard.

People not associated with the aircraft should be kept away from it.

Checking the identity of all personnel onboard the flight, and where appropriate, screening passengers and bags.

Passengers should be either on a list of those authorized to fly on the corporation’s plane, or be vouched for by a passenger on the authorization list.

Collecting as much information as possible about the destination airport(s) and disseminating it to the passengers and crew via an intelligence briefing.

The briefing is prepared by the security director and should include the following:

Potential threats including street crime statistics, areas of town to be avoided, known recent hijackings, kidnappings or extortion attempts of executives traveling to that region, situations of general unrest, rioting, and the political and social climate.

Airport security measures at the destination airport.

Information on fixed base operators including any credentialing or background check requirements on FBO personnel including caterers, fuelers, and mechanics.

Emergency contact information for the U.S. embassy, Department of State, local law enforcement agencies, and U.S. military bases that may be nearby.

Information on ground transportation to and from local hotels, meeting locations, and so on.

Companies that carry well-known celebrities or political personalities must also be aware of the presence of unwanted news media and paparazzi.

*

When traveling to foreign airports, many corporations elect to use a groundhandling agent who can assist with customs and immigrations paperwork and other laws and regulations for traveling to a specific country. A basic background check should be done on any company or individual who acts as a handling agent for the corporation.

 

Intelligence: Corporations, particularly large corporations, should generate their own intelligence briefings and reports that are relevant to the operations of the company.

In-flight security: Flight crewmembers should assume the worst-case scenario if their aircraft is hijacked and take whatever action is necessary to defend the flight deck from intrusion and takeover.

With the increase of fractional operators, the pilots may not know whom they are carrying as much as a corporate flight crew who is flying the boss’s plane.

Flight crew training: Flight crew personnel should receive self-defense training and conduct exercises in how to handle a hijacking attempt.

Other security practices: Other security practices for corporate operators included the establishment of contingency plans for unattended items, bomb threats, hijack, and theft attempts. Corporations should conduct regular security awareness training for flight crews and passengers and exercises and simulations for certain aircraft incidents.

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A major benefit to corporate flying is the ability to access more than 5,000 U.S. public use GA airports instead of being restricted to 450 commercial service airports. After 9-11, the U.S. government put tight restrictions on access to U.S. airports by GA aircraft coming into the United States from foreign locations.

 

The National Business Aviation Association pioneered the TSA Access Certificate (TSAAC) Program. TSAAC allows operators under Title 14 CFR Part 91 (private operator/owner) to fly internationally without having to pass through one of the eight “portal” countries as outlined in FDC 2/5319.

Presently, the portal countries include:

Canada

Mexico

the Bahamas

England

Scotland

Wales

Northern Ireland

 

Under the current pilot program, aircraft operators with a TSAAC certificate may fly out of three airports:

Teterboro, New Jersey

Morristown, New Jersey

White Plains, New York

 

According to the NBAA website, on August 23, 2006, the FAA issued NOTAM 6/7435, which allows operators of aircraft under 100,309 maximum take-off weight to fly internationally without having to pass through a portal country. As a result, operators meeting the requirements of this NOTAM no longer need to request waivers or obtain a TSAAC to avoid passing through a portal country.

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Section 1562.21 applies to:

Aircraft operations into or out of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA).

FBOs located at DCA or gateway airports,

The aircraft operator security coordinator and crewmembers, passengers, and armed security officers on the general aviation aircraft.

 

This section does not apply to medical evacuation flights, commercial service or military flights, or all-cargo operations.

 

To operate into and out of DCA:

Aircraft operators must designate a security coordinator who must have passed a CHRC/STA and implement the DCA Access Standard Security Program.

Flight crewmembers are required to pass a CHRC/STA and not have any airspace restriction violations on record with the FAA.

The aircraft operator must provide passenger manifest information to the TSA at least 24 hours before a flight and a security threat assessment will be conducted on each.

The aircraft operator may not carry a passenger into DCA who has not passed an STA.

For any flight, an aircraft must fly directly from a designated gateway airport to DCA (no interim stops), and the operator must ensure that passengers and carry-on bags have been screened.

Checked baggage and cargo must be screened and be inaccessible to the passengers throughout the flight.

Aircraft operating out of DCA must be equipped with a cockpit door and ensure it is closed and locked at all times.

Pilots must notify the National Capital Region Coordination Center before departure from DCA or a gateway airport into DCA. TSA has the authority to inspect the aircraft and the security programs.

*

Each flight must carry a federal air marshal or an armed security officer (ASO).

The ASO program is administrated by the federal air marshal service.

Each ASO must be qualified to carry a firearm and complete an STA and a CHRC.

ASOs include active law enforcement officers employed by a governmental agency and retired law enforcement officers who are authorized to carry out the duties of a law enforcement officer.

Other ASOs must meet the requirements determined by the federal air marshal service.

Each ASO:

Must complete TSA specific training related to operations into and out of DCA.

Has the authority to use force, including deadly force.

May not drink alcohol or use intoxicating or hallucinatory drugs during the flight and within eight hours before the flight.

Must identify themselves to the flight crew before flight.

 

Each FBO operating out of or into DCA (i.e., a gateway airport) must implement an FBO security program, which includes designating a security coordinator, provisions to support the screening of persons and property, and the aircraft search for aircraft heading into or out of DCA.

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This chapter analyzed various strategies for protecting general aviation airports. Strategies for securing GA airport environments used by government and stakeholders to GA were presented. A key challenge to developing legislation, policies and processes for securing GA airports is that stakeholders have different perceptions regarding the nature of GA. GA operations can vary greatly in the types of aircraft used and purposes for GA flight operations.

 

Congress and the TSA have focused GA security efforts on GA aircraft operators rather than GA airport operations.

 

In 2008, the TSA began working on the Large Aircraft Security Program, which may result in security regulations for GA aircraft private operations conducted under Title 14 CFR Part 91.

 

Frustrated with what was perceived as a lack of effort in GA security, Congress included in the 9-11 Act language requiring the TSA to assess the threat and vulnerabilities of GA airports by August of 2008.

 

The TSA and the FAA are challenged to allocate significant levels of funding for general aviation security enhancements because of security demands of commercial aviation and other modes of transportation. The TSA does offer a Secure Fixed Base Operator Program allowing FBOs to check passenger and crew identification against manifest or eAPIS filings for positive identification of passengers and crew onboard GA aircraft.

 

Without regulatory guidance, the creation of airport security programs for GA airports will continue to be challenging. Although policies and legislation are debated regarding GA security issues, most GA airport operators will continue to use commercial service airport security programs as models for enhancing security at GA airports.

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