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General aviation (GA) security is one the industry’s most prominent topics. With a direct and indirect economic impact of over a billion dollars annually and many lives at stake, concerns of this matter cannot be ignored or taken lightly. It is difficult to reconcile the opinions of all parties involved to create a safe, affordable way to conveniently fly. The resolution process must begin by examining the sector as a whole, identifying its weaknesses, and determining its current security state. What improvements need to be made by the pilots, corporate flight departments, and general aviation businesses, if any? Are current rules and processes working or does the TSA need to create and enforce stricter regulations?
Security responsibility still rests upon the shoulders of GA industry operators. Although an attack using a GA aircraft is possible, it is unlikely. Rather, the larger threat is the introduction of contraband items into secured areas. The inconsistency of security levels at airports leaves creates a dangerously large weakness. If regulation modifications were to occur, different regulations would have to be catered to different sizes of aircraft.
Research suggests increasing TSA regulations is not practical. Rather, the regulations already in place should be enforced sector-wide and recommendations should become actions. Increased enforcement is a step that must be taken; rule breakers must be caught faced with penalties. A minimum standard of security needs to be established for all airports. The largest changes need to derive from changing attitudes of those involved in the sector; the changes do no need to derive from the government. When the public is aware of their responsibility and empowered to make a difference, they will act upon it. Proactive attitudes of aviation professionals would help to keep regulations to a minimum and preserve the convenience offered by GA.
Somers, Samantha, "Effectiveness of TSA Regulations in General Aviation" (2014). Honors Theses. 2483.
Honors Thesis-Open Access