Missouri DOT takes the initiative with new program - bulletins, information, signage

May 2002

The aviation section of the Missouri DOT, under the guidance of a 13-member industry advisory committee, recently launched a five-part program for the state's general aviation airports. Says Administrator of Aviation Brian C. Weiler, A.A.E., "We are trying to take a supportive rather than a regulatory approach to improve GA security."

The Missouri program's five components include:

o Aviation Security Bulletin, with guidance for public-use GA airport operators;
o National Information Dissem-ination Plan for GA Airports in Missouri;
o Airport Security Questionnaire;
o Airport Security Checklist
o Airport Security Signage.

The program, according to MoDOT, came out of recommendations of the 13-member industry panel who were concerned that potential "knee jerk" reactions after 9/11 could harm the long-term viability of Missouri aviation. Also, officials saw a need to more clearly define security concerns and steps that can be taken at general aviation airports, particularly in light of the fact that smaller airports often come under the purview of city departments, without the benefit of a full-time airport manager and staff.

Missouri has 129 public-use airports, eight of which are commercial. MoDOT, which owns no airports, provides support to 121 of the airports through funding, safety inspections, and other assistance.

MoDOT, while recognizing it would be difficult to develop one standard to suit all airports, lists airport categories to accommodate the varied levels of security risk posed:

Class 1. FAA-designated reliever airports, or airports with a runway length of 5,500 feet or greater
Class 2. Airports with a runway length less than 5,500 feet but greater than 3,500 feet
Class 3. Airports with a runway length of 3,500 feet or less.

MoDOT recommends airports adopt reasonable security standards and procedures to: 1) monitor airport property and users; 2) control the movement of persons and ground vehicles on airport property; 3) prevent unauthorized access into the AOA; 4) secure unattended aircraft; and 5) report unusual or suspicious activity.

A key part of the program is airport signage distributed to Missouri airports free of charge. Signs identify the Airport Operations Area, Restricted Areas, and warn against trespassing.

For information about the program, contact MoDOT's Weiler at (573) 526-7912.