Congressman Wants Light Airplane Security Review


A pair of GA-related incidents in the past few days has raised the profile of small aircraft security concerns but even the loudest advocates for a federal review of the topic admit it probably wouldn’t prevent future events of this kind. Within hours of the Austin incident, Texas Republican Rep. Mike McCaul was calling it an act of terrorism. “When you fly an airplane into a federal building to kill people, that’s how you define terrorism,” said McCaul, who is the ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee. McCaul is calling for congressional hearings on the security of federal buildings with an emphasis on protecting them from attacks from the air. But he also said “no amount of security can prevent a man in a plane from taking his own life.” The Austin incident and the theft of a Cirrus SR22 in California a day later may bring fresh scrutiny of the TSA’s decision to back off implementation of the Large Airplane Security Program, which it announced two weeks ago.

In his blog in the Boston Herald, former TSA official Anthony Amore says he’s hoping the Austin incident will cause the TSA to revisit the “common sense and easily implemented measures” required by LASP. In fact, Anmore is up front about the tragedy in Austin as providing leverage to reopen LASP without having any effect on preventing the Joseph Stacks of the world from executing a similar scheme. “The simple fact is this: Sometimes there’s nothing you can do. Once in a while, lone maniacs decide to kill as many people as they can,” Anmore wrote. “All the name checks and technology in the world couldn’t have kept Stack from flying his plane into the IRS building. But perhaps this tragedy will cause the TSA to reconsider its ill-conceived plan to roll back general aviation security.”