TSA Changes Restrictions On Transient Pilots

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The TSA has enacted a new security directive (SD-8G) that means transient pilots flying into airports with commercial service will not need an airport badge or background check as previously required. The directive takes effect June 1 and instead requires pilots to "remain close to their aircraft" leaving it only for trips to and from the FBO or airport exit, according to AOPA. The TSA is expected to provide future guidance regarding self-fueling and emergencies. The new rules target transient pilots -- those pilots based at commercial-use airports who lease space or maintain a presence will still need to go through procedures and acquire a valid badge if they intend to roam the airport without an escort. Airports looking to avoid the badging will need to approve an alternative like an escort program to remain within the TSA's guidelines. The complication now appears to be what the TSA defines as an airport that offers commercial service and the fact that it hasn't yet released a list.

AOPA says some 400 airports are affected, but the organization will work with the TSA to create a definitive list before starting any rumors. Until better direction is available, pilots are encouraged to call ahead and inquire specifically about security procedures at their destination airports.