Security Concerns Temporarily Scuttle Washington Seaplane Service


A proposed seaplane service between New York and College Park Airport near Washington, D.C., has been delayed at least two weeks while federal officials assess security concerns. Tailwind Air announced the service last week and it was supposed to start on Tuesday, but the TSA stopped the inaugural flight and the company subsequently put off the launch for two weeks. Tailwind found a loophole in security procedures at College Park big enough to fly one of its amphibious Caravans through, but the TSA said it needed take a good look at the proposal.

“There are post 9/11 security concerns related to commercial contract carriers operating within National Capital Region restricted airspace,” TSA spokesman Carter Langston told The Washington Post. “To that end, TSA and FAA are working collaboratively with Tailwind Air to address and explore security options. Since this is a matter of transportation security and is considered to be sensitive security information, we will not comment further on those concerns.” Tailwind planned to use the Manhattan seaplane base and to switch to wheels at College Park for its downtown-to-downtown service, which it claims will cut travel time by more than half.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. Too bad, that TSA security nonsense will probably shut this entire idea down. These flights are supposed to be about convenience. Dealing with TSA pretty much kills that.

      • No – but it shows the terrorists really “won” when we can’t come up with a way to make the flights work.

      • Have you flown into College Park, or any of the GA airfields in the SFRA? The whole DC SFRA is a joke and does absolutely nothing toward preventing a 9/11-style attack. All it does guarantee is that some innocent (though absent-minded) pilots get their certificates suspended.

      • No, Kenneth H,
        I will never forget 9/11, besides those who died, many aviation companies did not survive after that day. I nearly lost my pilot job at the time. I am reminded of 9/11 every day I fly a trip due to the ridiculous TSA rules I have to follow. GA had nothing to do with 9/11, yet GA is stuck with stupid rules that do nothing but be a pain in the behind. I actually met one instructor at a sim provider who informed the FBI local office, who then was told by Washington there was nothing they could do. And so now GA pays for that incompetence. So be careful about reminding GA pilots and other persons about 9/11, you may not like the response.

  2. TSA considers it a threat any time an airplane takes off.

    Let’s do the same for ground-based vehicles in NYC and DC (after all, they COULD be terrorists!)

    Better yet, let’s use walls and “security measures” to keep the nonsense INSIDE these cities from spreading into the REAL world.

    • Very true! What should happen is DCA should be shut down completely like the secret service has tried to do for years. The Only reason it is open is the our Congress persons and Senators don’t want to lose the convenience of an airport close to downtown DC. I do my best to not airline through DCA or avoid doing any DCA trips.