Analyzing GA Security

One on one with Lindsey C. McFarren

We have to decide what that level is; to some extent, we decided with the 12/5 program that we think airplanes over a certain size and for a certain purpose maybe pose a higher risk.
We have to decide, is the level of risk from a Piper Cherokee an acceptable level of risk? You can’t mitigate all risk without grounding all of us.

AB: The mood of Congress today is to investigate everything. And, indeed, in the immediate aftermath of the Austin trajedy at least one U.S. Congressman was calling for just that. Do we need Congressional hearings on this?

McFarren: I think TSA and other alphabet agencies involved with TSA have already done a fair amount of investigating and they allude to this in the preamble to the proposed rule for the LASP. I think the people that make the decisions have some idea of what sort of damage can be caused by different size aircraft and different fuel loads — things of that nature.

Again, it all comes down to what is the acceptable level of risk?

TSA has a difficult task at times, because this is the sort of thing that will have them scrambling and there’s almost no good answer. If they come up with something too quickly, it was a kneejerk reaction and the industry can’t do it. If they don’t come up with something, then Congress is continuously tapping them on the shoulder.

You cannot mitigate out a one-off like this. It didn’t have to be an airplane; it could have been a Ryder rental truck and in fact probably would have done more damage.

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