January 16, 2009 — Not even double-digit subzero temperatures could keep about 250 concerned citizens from attending Friday’s Large Aircraft Security Program public hearing held by the Transportation Security Administration near Chicago. The thermometer outside read –20, but inside the Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare, temperatures ran red hot against the proposed security program that would impose numerous extra requirements on aircraft weighing 12,500 pounds or more.
“It was a unanimously negative comment session – nobody supported it or was even neutral on it,” commented Rick Siegfried, president of the EAA Warbirds of America and one of the presenters. One person called it “a one-stop shopping deal that just doesn’t fit.”
Sean Elliott, EAA director of aircraft operations who appeared on behalf of the association, was warmed by the dedication shown by not only people in the aviation industry but others who see the LASP as a blanket proposal whose adverse effects would spill far beyond the runways.
“A wide range of people came out,” Elliott said. “From private GA pilots to top executives at Bombardier and Boeing (Boeing is headquartered in Chicago), airport security managers from several major airports (including Milwaukee’s Mitchell International and Timmerman), large FBO chains and their principals, as well as caterers and ground support transportation. And no one spoke in favor of the TSAs plan.”
Recurring themes for the TSA plan were “too complex, too expensive, and ineffective.”
As has occurred at the other hearings held around the country, many stepped forward to recommend TSA adopt the aviation rulemaking committee (ARC) that FAA has used to successfully garner input from stakeholders before writing controversial rulemaking or legislation.
“The FAA has learned that the TSA one-size-fits-all approach is not possible with aviation and has adopted different sets of regulations for different aviation categories,” Siegfried said. “I hope the TSA people heard the need for a similar approach. Many people spoke eloquently about the need to adopt ARC committees to examine this issue.” Aviation organization including EAA, NBAA, and AOPA were mentioned as important participants of such an ARC.
This was the third of five scheduled hearings on the LASP, whose comment period runs through February 27. (How to comment.) The remaining hearings include:
Burbank, California, January 23, 2009, Burbank Airport Marriott Hotel & Convention Center, 2500 North Hollywood Way
Houston, Texas - January 28, 2009, Hilton Houston Hotel-North Greenspoint Conference Center, 12400 Greenspoint Drive
For more information about the issue, visit www.eaa.org/govt/tsa.asp.
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