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Sunday, Feb 25, 2024

General Aviation Pilots Come Under New TSA Rule

A Transportation Security Agency regulation going into effect this month will put new restrictions on general aviation pilots using airports with a mixture of commercial and private aircraft flights. Among the California airports coming under the new regulation is Bob Hope Airport in Burbank. The TSA rule enhances security measures in that it requires all airport workers to undergo a background check to receive a security badge. General aviation pilots based out of commercial airports that also allow private flight operations will also have to undergo the background checks. Visiting pilots, however, are exempt from having the badges although the fixed-base operator they arrive at must provide an escort while on airport property. There is the likelihood of additional responsibilities for the FBOs that is being worked out, said Doug Carr, vice president of safety and security for the National Business Aviation Association. The association has been working with the TSA since December to make the agency aware of the implications of this new regulation, Carr said. The TSA did eventually understand how transient pilots were affected, which led to the exemption from the badges away from their home airports. Still, Carr said, the association believes that the federal government didn’t take as much input on the issue as it should have. “There is a cost factor and nobody had the opportunity to tell the government the cost and benefit of this program,” Carr said. Jet Phase-Out Ordinance A draft ordinance to phase out older, noisier jets at Van Nuys Airport remains pending before the Trade, Commerce and Tourism Committee of the Los Angeles City Council. No date had been set as of June 17 of when the committee will take up the proposal and send it on for a vote before the full council. The ordinance has drawn opposition from business and aviation groups, including the Valley Industry & Commerce Association and the National Business Aviation Association. If approved, the ordinance sets noise limits at the airport for departing aircraft beginning with jets with a noise level of 85 decibels. By or after Jan. 1, 2016 no aircraft can operate at Van Nuys at more than 77 decibels. In the final environmental review of the ordinance, the airport agency expects that passage would result in some older aircraft being retired, others modified to reduce noise, and others being relocated to other general aviation airports, including Camarillo Airport and William J. Fox Airfield near Lancaster. Aircraft used for military activities or medical, police and fire emergencies would be exempt from the restrictions. The ordinance reaffirms a position originally taken in 1990 to do away with Stage 2 aircraft. The board revisited the issue in 2006 and added amendments to the ordinance in 2007. FAA Funding Bill A bill to fund the Federal Aviation Administration has cleared the U.S. House and is now before the Senate for passage. Congress has extended seven times the bill that expired on Sept. 30, 2007 raising money from the general aviation and commercial airline industries for the Airport and Airway Trust Fund that pays for the FAA and a next-generation air traffic control system. General aviation, which includes aircraft charter and management companies and private aircraft owners, won a victory of sorts by turning back a challenge to the collection of the gas tax and replace it with a user fee to fund the FAA. The current version of the legislation was given to the Senate on June 1 and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Piston Plane Park Demolition of the former Air National Guard buildings has been completed to make way for a new area dedicated just for piston aircraft. Van Nuys Airport officials now wait for the results of a required environmental impact study before going to the Los Angeles World Airport Board of Commissioners for approval of a lease operator. The study may be completed by August although no specific date has been given, said Van Nuys Airport Manager Selena Birk. The impact study is an extensive investigation that looks at a number of issues, including air quality, traffic, and the amount of noise made during construction, Birk said. The 30-acre had been used by the Air National Guard for more than 40 years. After the military left, the site has been used for an annual air show, emergency landings, and by the Los Angeles Fire Department. As the designated propeller plane area, the site is limited to planes weighing 12,500 pounds or less and historic military aircraft built before 1951. Los Angeles World Airports is negotiating with Pacific Aviation to provide hangars for the aircraft and office space for aviation-related businesses, such as flight schools, aircraft parts and maintenance companies, and avionics businesses.

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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