TSA Watch II: Congress to Learn More About "Governor Ernie"
The June 9 episode involving a failed transponder aboard a Beech King Air carrying Kentucky Gov. Ernie Fletcher (R) into DCA on a waiver has had a broad impact on general and business aviation in the Washington, D.C., airspace. And it ain't over yet. Since widely acknowledged communications failures resulted in a panic evacuation of the Capitol as the King Air's primary target flew into protected airspace with ATC's full knowledge and permission, a new NOTAM warning operators about the consequences of a failed transponder has been issued and a flurry of local media coverage has detailed previous and similar instances. On July 8, Congress will get into the act when the House Subcommittee on Aviation holds a scheduled hearing on "National Capitol Region Air Space Control: A Review of the Issues Surrounding the June 9, 2004 Flight of 'N24SP.'" While AVweb is optimistic that the subcommittee will learn about the differences between public-operated aircraft like the governor's versus private ones operated by general and business aviation, it's pretty obvious that Uncle Sugar considers anything without an airline logo on it to be a threat. That's obviously due to the lingering memories of all the GA aircraft used in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Not that we're cynical, or anything. Look for AVweb's coverage of this hearing, but don't expect any revelations.