It took awhile, but the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) finally is getting around to doing for non-commercial aviation what its done for the airlines. In early October, the TSA proposed a new set of security regulations targeting privately operated (i.e., Part 91) large airplanes, those with a maximum gross takeoff weight greater than 12,500 pounds. Its part of the agencys proposed new


large aircraft standard security program, or LASSP, which attempts to consolidate overlapping rules and create new ones.

The TSA “anticipates that this proposed rule would require approximately 10,000 aircraft operators and 315 airport operators, most of whom are not currently required to do so, to implement security programs.” While we have no way to know, we think thats underestimated. And we doubt the TSA knows, either.

Some of the proposed regulations highlights include required training for operator personnel, mandatory carriage of federal air marshals and ensuring law enforcement officer presence at departure and arrival airports, flightcrew fingerprinting and background checks, formal contingency planning, submitting passenger manifests for government approval in advance of a flight, airline-style searches for stowaway persons, explosives, incendiaries, or other destructive substances and items, and a biennial compliance audit by a third party-at the operators expense. In fact, all of these requirements would be implemented at the operators expense. Completely ignoring aviations mobility, the TSA proposes a phased-in approach, based on geography.

The TSA also is proposing to apply new security rules to reliever and other airports regularly served by large aircraft with scheduled or public charter service. Thus, any airport capable of serving, say, a King Air 300, potentially would be forced to comply with the new rules. Thats a lot of airports, public and private.

Industry and community reaction to the proposals was cautious. The AOPAs Andy Cebula noted, “This proposed rule is an unprecedented imposition of security requirements on the general aviation community, affecting 10,000 individual operators and hundreds of airports. An overwhelming majority of our members surveyed last week expressed strong concerns about the proposal.”

Similarly, General Aviation Manufacturers Association President and CEO Pete Bunce said his organization will be reviewing the proposal to “ensure that it addresses potential security risks with methods of compliance that do not restrict the utility of general aviation aircraft. Measured against this standard, our initial read of the NPRM concerns us in that some very burdensome requirements may not provide commensurate security benefits to an already safe and secure industry.”

The TSA is accepting comments from the public on its proposal through early December. Whether and when all of its proposals will be implemented is unknown.

No, were not making this up.

– Jeb Burnside


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