Congress Passes GA Security Review Amendment


GA dodged another legislative bullet last week when Congress passed a Homeland Security appropriations bill without an amendment that would have imposed severe penalties for those violating the Washington flight restricted zone. Under the amendment, pilots violating the zone could have faced big fines, long suspensions and even confiscation of their aircraft. The amendment was pulled, but the sentiments that got it that far continue to echo through the government buildings, which have been evacuated several times in the past couple of years due to errant pilots. AOPA lobbied hard to kill the amendment but another one, by Sen. Hilary Clinton (D-N.Y.) to study GA security and the threat posed by GA aircraft, passed unanimously. AOPA President Phil Boyer said he already knows the outcome of the study. It will show that GA isn’t a big security risk, but he’s afraid that in going through the motions there will be costs generated. “If these studies lead to regulations, there will be costs,” he said. Clinton told AOPA officials that pilots, airport officials and communities must band together to watch out for potential threats. Boyer said they already are through AOPA’s Airport Watch program, initiated not long after 9/11.