DCA Access Rules Inconsistent

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Not all business aircraft are created equal in the eyes of the security mandarins in Washington, and the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) is hoping to change that. When Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) "opens" to general aviation on Oct. 18, many charter aircraft will be excluded while identical planes operated under corporate classification will sail right through the red tape. NATA says its reading of the highly restrictive rules shows that charter aircraft must operate under a Twelve-Five Standard Security Plan (TFSSP), which is only available to planes weighing more than 12,500 pounds, which is a pretty big airplane (a King Air weighs less than 10,000 pounds). No such limits apply to aircraft operated under Part 91, meaning that "corporate aircraft" of all shapes and sizes will be allowed as long as they meet the TSA definition (professional crew, operating manual and recurrent training).