…Pilot Background Checks Find Toehold…


Is the terrorist threat lower here … or does the TSA believe these checks are worthless … or is someone actually standing up for our “freedoms” … or maybe our pilot lobbying groups are just better than theirs? Whatever the case, it’s Australia — not the U.S. — that will have all pilots submit to a background check by their Security Intelligence Organization prior to the issuance of photo licenses. Australia’s new security measures for GA were announced a few weeks ago, but the Aussie government didn’t immediately publicize that a pilot’s privilege of being fingerprinted and having his or her closets searched for skeletons would cost those pilots $200 each, and recur every two years. Here in the U.S., an estimated $1 billion a week to support elevated security has not so directly been passed on to GA. We’re not complaining. And while we can imagine what U.S. alphabet groups would have to say about such a proposal, the Aussies seem to accept their charge without a whimper. AVweb’s cursory search of Australian pilot and aviation group Web sites could find nary a disparaging word about the new tax, but maybe we weren’t looking in the right places. The new annual $100 tab is not the only added cost for GA, however. The government is also ordering extra anti-theft measures for GA aircraft. Although the measures will be “determined by the aircraft operators as appropriate,” according to the new regulations, some suggestions include prop locks, door locks and securing hangars. Government inspectors will be doing random security checks, although no penalties are mentioned for non-compliance. Sport license holders and sport aircraft are exempt.