Reports surfaced Friday that the TSA is backing off of plans to create regulations proposed in 2008 that would have required operators of general aviation aircraft to provide special security measures and screen people and cargo. The agency is now said to be leaning toward leaving security mostly to the judgment of pilots and operators. According to NPR, the general aviation industry, an industry "worth $150 billion a year," sent regulators "thousands of complaints." As a result, the TSA has concluded it will make better progress working with the industry than moving ahead with a "combative back and forth." In a revised security plan expected this fall, the TSA is now expected to increase the size of aircraft that must adhere to stricter regulation (presumably above the previously suggested 12,500 pound limit) and leave the security of smaller aircraft largely in the hands of the pilots who fly them. News reports Friday stated that the changes would spare hundreds of smaller airports from the burdens of costly security programs, personnel and equipment.
The TSA had originally thought to create security regulations for smaller airports and aircraft through the logic that improved security at the airlines would drive potential evil-doers to smaller, less-regulated aircraft. However, industry advocates responded that the personal nature of general aviation was, in itself, a level of security and that regulation would add cost burdens and inconveniences, crippling the industry without adding significant security benefits.