House Committee Moves To Restore BARR

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A bill now n the works in the U.S. House would restore a program that allows private aircraft operators to block flight data from display on public flight-following sites, NBAA said this week. U.S. Rep. Tom Latham, of Iowa, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee's Subcommittee on Transportation, included a provision to preserve the Block Aircraft Registration Request in the annual appropriations bill for the Department of Transportation. "The government's move to severely curtail the BARR program represents an unwarranted invasion of the privacy of aircraft owners and operators, a threat to the competitiveness of U.S. companies, and a potential security risk to persons on board general aviation aircraft," said NBAA President Ed Bolen. "We are pleased to see this recognition reflected in the subcommittee's bill."

According to NBAA, the bill states: "None of the funds made available under this Act or any prior Act may be used to implement or to continue to implement any limitation on the ability of any owner or operator of a private aircraft to obtain, upon a request to the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, a blocking of that owner's or operator's aircraft registration number from any display of the Federal Aviation Administration's Aircraft Situational Display to Industry data that is made available to the public, except data made available to a government agency, for the noncommercial flights of that owner or operator." The FAA in March cited freedom of information concerns and said it would limit the program only to operators who could show valid security threats. At EAA AirVenture in July, FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt indicated the agency was not very interested in restoring the program. "This is one of those cases where we need to distinguish between a right and a privilege," Babbitt said. Flying in the national airspace system qualifies as a privilege, he said.