Downsized... but business activity is strong

Downsized " but business activity is strong By John F. Infanger and Lindsay M. Hitch January 2002 NBAA By the Numbers 2001 2000 • Attendance11,738 29,421 • Exhibitors 670 965 NEW ORLEANS — The trademark receptions were...


Downsized " but business activity is strong

By John F. Infanger and Lindsay M. Hitch

January 2002

image NBAA By the Numbers 2001 2000

NEW ORLEANS — The trademark receptions were absent. Show and attendance were down to about a third of normal, and the static display was only a fraction of itself. Yet, those who came for this year’s delayed NBAA show found a ripe business climate, as well as an opportunity to share ideas on the changing face of aviation security.
Business aviation’s annual big show, sponsored by the National Bus-iness Aviation Association, was held December 12-14, having been originally set for September 18-20. In the interim, the technical sessions were redirected to include security-oriented presentations and discussions. The sessions were well attended and sparked comments of interest from speakers and audience alike.

DEFINING WHO’S RESPONSIBLE
Addressing the audience of corporate flight departments and others interested in business aviation, John Moran admits that "FAA and TSA [Transportation Security Admin.] are rookies at handling security in business aviation." Moran is FAA security representative to DOT’s rapid response team for airport security.
He says that FAA’s security interests have always focused on FAR Part 107 (airports) and Part 108 (airlines). Recognizing that many business aircraft are modified airliners and thus just as large a threat in another 9/11-type scenario, Moran says it’s time for Part 91 operators’ security procedures to be looked at more closely.
The supplemental FAR Part 91 released in late 2001 allows for FAA to dictate security regulations for aircraft greater than 25,000 pounds. The SFAR does not include any regulations, but rather the ability for FAA to put them in place. For now, Moran says the focus will be aircraft of 95,000 pounds and above, and that FAA regional offices are in the process of sending notification letters to affected operators. Moran says that this new security program has no surprises, but is intended to put security requirements in writing and have a minimum standard for larger Part 91 operators.
Essentially, says Moran, the program is structured around three basic questions:
• What are we protecting (aircraft, passengers, etc.)?
• Where are the vulnerabilities?
• How can we check those vulnerabilities without killing the business we’re trying to protect?
Moran points out that business aviation is already a safe transportation sector; the emphasis now should be on staying aware of who’s around and what’s going on.
Several panelists recommend looking at the aircraft from the perspective of wanting to do harm, evaluating how to go about it, and then determining how to protect against those tactics.
Dick Marchi, senior vice president of technical and environmental affairs for the Airports Council International - North America, recommends that corporate flight departments establish regular communication with the security directors at airports they use regularly. Being aware of the airport’s security efforts and adopting voluntary security programs will increase the safety of the system overall, he says.
Bill Wagner, who heads up the flight department for Townsend Engineering, says that the security of aircraft ultimately rests with the operators. There are three different concerns, he says, to take into account: home base security; transient security; and international security.
Regarding home base security, Wagner says, "Your people are not the problem, it’s the others wandering around the airport." He stresses that unless the nearby FBO’s employees are well known to the flight department, they are a threat. Even if the hangar where aircraft are parked is property of the FBO, it is up to the flight department to ensure the hangar and aircraft are secure.
When away from the home base, Wagner recommends having a member of the flight crew available to the FBO at all times as well as getting 24-hour security whenever possible. And, he stresses, the flight department’s schedule should never be public knowledge. Townsend Engineering does not post its schedule anywhere, does not send schedule information via e-mail, and shreds all documents with that information, he says.
Other general recommendations include changing the elements of the security program regularly and not posting specific procedural information in public areas or on websites.

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