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GA Groups Ask TSA To Back Off

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Five groups representing the general aviation community this week asked the Transportation Security Administration to withdraw the onerous security directive that requires GA pilots to apply for identification badges from any airport they use, which takes effect on June 1. "We would like to see TSA ... [instead] initiate the required rulemaking process to implement a change of this scope," reads the letter, which is addressed to Janet Napolitano, who heads the Department of Homeland Security. The TSA directive requires airport operators to ensure that anyone in the airport operating area is escorted or has an airport-issued identification card, and all applicants for those cards must undergo a Security Threat Assessment by the TSA. The impact on GA operators is substantial, since every airport requires its own ID, and escorts may not always be available.

So far, the TSA has responded to complaints by saying each airport operator can develop an alternate means of compliance and submit it to TSA. "The resulting patchwork of 'alternate means' would likely create far more problems than it would solve," the letter says. The letter was signed by the leaders of AOPA, EAA, the National Business Aviation Association, the National Air Transportation Association and the National Association of State Aviation Officials. "We have turned to the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees the TSA, because this security directive could have a far-reaching impact on pilots," said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. "Because the TSA never consulted the people who know the most about general aviation, it developed a set of requirements that ignore the realities of general aviation flying and the need for access at airports." Click here for the full text of the letter.

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