Be On The Lookout


Just when you thought it was safe and secure to fly your bizjet, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) last week decided to let the air out of your tires. According to the TSA — which only rarely has been associated with false alarms — “On April 13, 2006, a message posted in Arabic on a Web forum explained how to identify private American jets and urged Muslims to destroy all such aircraft.” The TSA’s security advisory stated the Muslim Web site’s message also advised “how to identify American aircraft and provided the tail number of a private aircraft allegedly used by the CIA.” The TSA’s advisory then went on to reiterate a series of guidelines the federal agency developed and distributed a few years ago.

While the reminders are probably useful, what the TSA failed to make clear in its advisory is that the Web site’s threat was aimed at U.S.-registered aircraft being operated overseas. After all, it’s pretty easy to identify a U.S.-registered aircraft when it’s in the U.S. Without debating the frequency or utility of the TSA’s various advisories of terror threats against general aviation — whether here at home or abroad — we’re not sure if the latest advisory really adds anything to the body of knowledge regarding overseas operation of N-registered aircraft. After all, U.S. airplanes have long been the target of political, economic and other terrorist groups, with the result that their operators spend much money and many hours researching how best to protect them and their passengers. In the meantime, you’ve been warned, and the TSA is covered.