GA Airport Security: The War Of Perception...

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TV Takes Another Look...

An ABC affiliate TV station in New York City, apparently unaware of the bashing unleashed by the GA community upon CBS after that network aired a segment critical of security at small airports, took its own stab at the issue last Thursday. WABC-TV ran a story based on its "months-long Eyewitness News investigation" headlined "Security Practically Nonexistent at Many Small Airports." The story begins: "Call it a case of airport insecurity. Open gates, no guards, no fences, airplanes within easy reach." Reporters visited 15 of the more than 100 small airports within 75 miles of midtown Manhattan. At some of these airports, which the report doesn't identify, reporters say they found fencing in disrepair, and at least one airport they were able to drive right up to hangars full of airplanes without being stopped or questioned by anyone. The station also reported that four small aircraft have been stolen in the area since 9/11. "Homeland Security requires no central reporting of small aircraft when stolen," the report says. The story does feature one quote from AOPA President Phil "Bouyer," complaining that nobody has been forthcoming with $40 billion to fence in every GA field in the country: "Where in the world is that money coming from?" And the reporters did find one field, in Linden, N.J., with multiple layers of security -- cameras, door alarms, key access codes. "This airport is more secure than most prisons," according to the story. The report concludes: "Experts say these airports need to move more quickly now that security has been tightened at the nation's large commercial airports." Except, of course, when it hasn't been tightened ... see the story below regarding an attempted stowaway on a Delta flight, for example.