Large Aircraft Security Program: A Threat to All!
If the Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP) goes through as proposed, owners and operators of aircraft 12,500 pounds or heavier will be required to obtain
Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) permission
to operate their personal aircraft every time they carry passengers in domestic airspace. Additionally, flight crews of
such aircraft would be required to undergo fingerprinting
and a background check, all passengers would have to be
vetted against the government’s terrorist watch lists, and
numerous security requirements would be imposed on
airports serving these “large” aircraft.
You might be thinking, “So what? I fly a small recreational aircraft that weighs well under 12,500 pounds.”
Here is why you should be concerned.
In November’s “Advance Information on Private Aircraft Arriving and Departing the United States” final rule,
the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) imposed
new requirements on all private aircraft regardless of size.
CBP defines private aircraft as “any aircraft, other than
government or military, which are not engaged in carrying passengers or cargo for compensation.” In other
words, there is no distinction with regard to weight or capacity. The new regulations place hot-air balloons in the
same category as corporate jets!
What, then, is to prevent TSA—another division of the
Department of Homeland Security—from lowering the
weight threshold for LASP regulations in the future or
eliminating them entirely?
“It is evident from the CBP final rule that ultimately
some agencies charged with aviation security do not have
any interest in distinguishing their requirements based on
the size and weight of the aircraft involved,” said Doug
Macnair, EAA’s vice president of government relations.
“This must be borne in mind when contemplating the
long-term future of TSA’s proposed Large Aircraft Security
Program and the tendency for that weight limit to be con-
tinually pushed lower by those who view all aircraft as a
EAA and other general aviation organizations have suc-
cessfully mitigated most proposed security measures post-
9/11 that have threatened small general aviation aircraft.
“This new rule makes no distinction and seeks to paint
More Threats to Our Freedoms
all aircraft classes with the same broad brush, which
shakes any belief that TSA’s proposed Large Aircraft Secu-
rity Rule would be held to only large aircraft over the long
term,” Macnair added. “This is why we urge all members
to respond to TSA, regardless of the weight of the aircraft
For more information on how to comment, visit www.
EAA.org/news/2008/2008-11-11_proposal.asp. You have un-
til February 27, 2009, to register your comments on this
regulation that has the potential to do irreparable harm to
private aviation in the United States.
Personal flight is under pressure on several fronts: heavy-
handed security measures; unjustified user fees; ill-con-
ceived amateur-building requirements; unreasonable
modernization expectations; state and federal rules mak-
ing suitable aviation fuel less available; misguided reac-
tions to the stigma of “experimental” aviation’s name; and
other regulatory and policy initiatives that could threaten
EAA members’ access to, affordability of, and ease of par-
ticipation in aviation.