One State's Approach To GA Security

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Tennessee continues to funnel money for security measures at GA airports and the initiatives follow a familiar theme. The state's Department of Transportation is distributing $1 million in federal grants to build fences, install gates and add lighting at some of its 69 GA airports. Individual airports are eligible for up to $50,000 each year for the upgrades. Airport operators like the improvements in the physical security of airports but Jon Glass, director of the Tullahoma Airport Authority, said it's the people who use the airports who are the most important safeguard against improper use. "We are in a situation here where everybody still kind of knows each other," Glass told The Tennessean. "If someone sees something suspicious, it's a matter of dealing with it." John Black, director of Smyrna Airport, said more sophisticated security measures, such as terminal cameras, will be necessary as more people start using private aviation as a way to escape the increasing inconvenience of commercial air travel. "You will find more and more general aviation airports are putting in cameras, at least in the terminal, so they have a record of who is coming and going," he said. But he also said that those who choose GA do so because its faster and more convenient and those advantages must be kept in mind. "General aviation needs to be user-friendly because that's the beauty of it."