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TSA Locks Out Punta Gorda Pilots

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As the Transportation Security Administration continues to eye GA as a security threat, it locked out a group of owners from a through-the-fence arrangement at Florida's Punta Gorda Airport, south of Sarasota. Pilot Larry Hofmeister told us Friday that a group of owners with hangars on private property adjacent to the airport had a good working arrangement that allowed them to taxi from their hangars to a gate into the airport, which they could open by remote control. This week, the TSA halted that arrangement, claiming that it represents a security threat.

Now, to access the airport, the owners have to notify the FBO, which will send a lineman to open the gate on a time-permitting basis. Hofmeister told us the hangars have their own fenced-in area which itself requires a security card to access, so access to the runway is controlled by not one, but two gates. The TSA apparently took the action because it was unhappy with a pilot who taxied away from the access gate before it was closed. TSA didn't immediately return our call seeking additional information.

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