New TSA Rules Affect GA Pilots; TSA To Hold Hearings On LASP Plans

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AOPA reported on Tuesday that the Transportation Security Administration has issued a directive that will require background checks for general aviation pilots based at airports served by airlines, starting next year.

Those pilots who pass the background check will receive an ID badge to allow them access to the airport. The directive won't affect transient pilots, AOPA said, who will continue to be subject to the current escorting and monitoring requirements in place at airports that serve air carriers. Currently, most airports exclude GA operations from these security requirements, but that is about to change. "Pilots have long operated without incident on these airports, and it is surprising that the TSA appears to have implemented such a significant new mandate with no notification or discussion," said Andy Cebula, AOPA executive vice president of government affairs. "It will have a significant impact on pilots and airports in many small communities across the country." Meanwhile, the TSA has announced a series of public hearings to be held in January to hear public reaction to its Large Aircraft Security Program, which has met with considerable opposition in the aviation world. The National Business Aviation Association has listed details about the hearings, as well as its analysis of the TSA proposals, at its Web site. The hearings will be held on various dates in January 2009, in White Plains, N.Y.; Atlanta, Ga., Chicago, Ill.; Burbank, Calif.; and Houston, Texas.