Security Regs Turn Aussie Pilots Political

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The Australian Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association is reportedly so upset with new security regulations on GA in that country, it's considering running candidates for the country's Senate in the next federal election. According to the Daily Mercury newspaper, AOPA Australia believes that up to 1,500 pilots will be grounded by the new regulations and the government has already warned members that anyone who flies without going through the recently mandated background checks is breaking the law. But even those who will likely clear the checks are at risk because of a massive backlog in the issuance of new Aviation Security Identification Cards. The government has extended the grace period for the cards until March 31 but only for those who can prove that they've already applied for them. Meanwhile, some pilots contend the bureaucratic nightmare is also a waste of time and effort. ''The security checks done for the ASIC pass are the same as those done for the existing AVID (Aviation Identification) pass which you need when you get your (general aviation) pilot's license so it's doubling up," instructor and charter pilot Marco Fritz told the Daily Mercury. ''And even though you can get fined for not having the pass, there is no one at smaller airports ... to check them -- and that is the case all over Australia.''