By Fred George
The Transportation Security Administration is listening to the general aviation community as it formulates its new security plan for the general aviation community, a source close to the program tells Aviation Week, who credits TSA Associate Administrator John P. Sammon as a prime reason why the administration is radically scaling back its original Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP).
When first proposed, the LASP applied to all aircraft over 12,500 lb max takeoff weight and generated vehement opposition from the general aviation community. But the new plan, the source said this weekend, is likely to exempt all general aviation aircraft smaller than mid-size jets as defined by maximum takeoff weight and / or fuel capacity.
Pilots of such mid-size and larger GA aircraft would be required by TSA to go through a vetting process and earn “trusted pilot” credentials. Such credentialed pilots then solely would be responsible to determine who is allowed to board the aircraft, similar to how general aviation pilots screen passengers today.
In a related proposal, TSA is looking into a credentialing process that would allow vetted pilots to have unfettered access to their aircraft on general aviation ramps at air carrier airports without the need for escorts. But that will require each air carrier airport authority to accept the TSA pilot vetting process, and that could prove difficult to accomplish.
Source: AVIATION WEEK