Terrorism And You: Security Concerns Won't Go Away

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Think back for a moment, if you can, to the pre-9/11 world of aviation. Airport fences, identification cards, prop locks, TFRs and background checks did not loom large in the pilots' world. Today, with a possible war on the horizon and terrorists still at work, it doesn't take much to reboot the public's jitters. When an apparently deranged man stole a motorglider in Germany last week and threatened to fly it into a building in downtown Frankfurt, that was enough to set off a flurry of U.S. news reports about the still-unmitigated dangers from all those buzzing little aircraft on unsecured airfields. "Tens of thousands of small private planes are vulnerable to the kind of incident that occurred Sunday in Germany," the Associated Press reported. "There's all kinds of holes [in airport security] out there," Will Beaubien, chairman of the Marin County (Calif.) Aviation Commission, told the Marin News. AOPA spokesman Warren Morningstar, in an effort to promote common sense, told the AP, "Can we ever make these airports impenetrable? If we did, they'd no longer be airports, they'd be fortresses." The German pilot landed safely in the end.