Loy Hints At GA Security Changes

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The Transportation Security Administration is hinting it may relax some of the restrictions placed on GA after 9/11. In testimony before a House Aviation Subcommittee hearing that was supposed to deal with airline security, TSA head Adm. James Loy said that GA was not as much of a threat as originally thought post-9/11. In written comments he said "more in-depth background checks" would assist in issuing waivers for individuals such as corporate pilots into certain restricted airspace. Loy also said, "We will advise the FAA about whether certain airspace restrictions add real security value and we will recommend that FAA engage in appropriate rulemaking to permanently codify those security-based airspace restrictions that add real security value." He said, too that the Washington ADIZ will remain for the time being. Loy's comments came days after the TSA issued an alert to airlines warning them of possible terrorist activity and hours before box cutters found in two aircraft washrooms prompted a search of all U.S. airliners for possible weapons. Loy's testimony made AOPA President Phil Boyer's day. "We've been vindicated," said Boyer. "Adm. Loy has reinforced what we've said all along; general aviation is not the threat." Boyer noted that GA has voluntarily adopted increased security measures and new rules on pilots, certification and flight training have also been enacted. There may also be some relief coming for commercial airline passengers from what Loy calls the "stupid rules" enacted after 9/11. On that list are the ban on beverages at security checkpoints, the check-in questions and the requirement that passengers remain seated for 30 minutes after takeoff or prior to arrival at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA).