Restrictions, Restrictions

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TSA Says No To Michigan's Pilot Law...

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is the latest to say Michigan's pilot background check law is illegal. The agency recently told AOPA, which is fighting the Michigan law in court, that individual states have no authority to require pilot background security checks and that power lies solely with the federal government. In a letter to AOPA, Assistant Administrator for Transportation Security Policy Thomas Blank wrote, "State-imposed measures to require criminal background checks on flight school applicants would create a patchwork of requirements in this area ... It is TSA's view that while such efforts by states are motivated by legitimate concerns for the security of the nation, they are nevertheless not permissible."(more) AOPA is naturally pleased with the TSA's position on this issue. "This letter is powerful ammunition in our fight to strike down Michigan's pilot background check law," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "And it ought to make other state and local lawmakers stop and think twice about their own inappropriate efforts to regulate aviation security and pilot licensing." The FAA has also backed its position against the background check law.

...While The FAA Says Yes To Crawford's TFR

AOPA has also worked with another agency on a different restrictive issue. The organization asked Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge to not support a DOD request to expand the TFRs around the president to 30 nautical miles. Unfortunately, it was a little too late for the upcoming holiday, as the FAA announced the area surrounding P-49 -- the President's home in Crawford, Texas -- will expand to a 30-nm radius over the Easter weekend. The temporary flight restriction (TFR) will push out to a 30-nm radius below 18,000 feet beginning at 1400 local on Wednesday, April 16, and continuing through 1215 local on Monday, April 21. [more]During the effective times of the NOTAM, practice instrument approaches are prohibited within the TFR. All operations (except military, law enforcement, and medevac) are prohibited in the 0- to 10-nm airspace below 18,000 feet. In the 10- to 30-nm ring, aircraft must be on an active IFR or VFR flight plan with a discrete transponder code assigned by air traffic control and must maintain radio contact with ATC. All such flights must be for ingress, egress, or transit only. No flight training, aerobatic, glider, parachute, hang gliding, ultralight, aerial application, or animal control operations are permitted.