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TSA to Hold Hearings on Large Aircraft Security Program

December 18, 2008 — Responding to vigorous objections from the general aviation community regarding proposed security measures imposed upon aircraft exceeding 12,500 lbs., the Transportation Security Administration will let the public have their say during five public hearings scheduled in throughout the country during the month of January. EAAers who attend and share their views will reinforce the association’s strong advocacy with legislators and policymakers to oppose TSA’s proposed Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP).

Interpreting TSA’s proposals as a severe threat to their ability to experience and enjoy aviation, EAAers will now have another avenue for protest. The public hearings will begin at 9 a.m. local time, preceded by 8 a.m. registration. Locations include:

  • White Plains, New York - January 6, 2009, at Winchester County Airport (HPN), Building 1 Airport Road.
  • Atlanta, Georgia - January 8, 2009, at the Renaissance Concourse Hotel Atlanta Airport, One Hartsfield Centre Parkway
  • Chicago, Illinois (Rosemont) - January 16, 2009, Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare Hotel & Convention Center 5440 North River Road
  • Burbank, California, January 23, 2009, Burbank Airport Marriot Hotel & Convention Center, 2500 North Hollywood Way
  • Houston, Texas - January 28, 2009, Hilton Houston Hotel-North Greenspoint Conference Center, 12400 Greenspoint Drive.

According to the official notice published in the Federal Register on December 18, the meetings will be open to all persons scheduled to present statements or who register in person between 8 and 9 a.m. on the day of the meeting. Individuals will be limited to a three-minute statement and scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis, subject to change based on the number of persons who register to present comments. Those who are prevented from speaking by time constraints will be encouraged to submit written remarks, which will be made part of the record.

TSA representatives will preside over the meetings and transcripts, including any material accepted by the panel during the meetings, will be included in the public docket.

“The TSA’s proposal would create a major shift in the role of the federal government regarding the freedom of movement for private U.S. citizens,” said Earl Lawrence, EAA vice president of industry and regulatory affairs. “It would, for the first time, require governmental review and authority before a person could operate his/her own personal transportation conveyance. This significant intrusion into the lives of ordinary citizens and vast expansion of governmental authority must not be entered into lightly.”

In the 260-page LASP, which was released on October 9, Part 91 operations and operators of any aircraft over 12,500 pounds maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) would be required to obtain permission from TSA to operate their own personal aircraft every time they carry passengers. 

Additionally, all flight crews 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. EAA adamantly opposes this regulation and has urged all members to submit comments opposing the proposal.

EAA and others organizations successfully petitioned TSA to extend the comment period past the original 60-day period that was set to expire on December 29, 2008. The deadline for comments is February 27, 2009.

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