has partnered with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA)
to develop a nationwide Airport Watch Program that uses the more
than 650,000 pilots as eyes and ears for observing and reporting
suspicious activity. This helps general aviation keep our airports
secure without needless and expensive security requirements. AOPA
Airport Watch is supported by a centralized government provided toll
free hotline (1-866-GA-SECURE) and system for reporting and acting
on information provided by general aviation pilots. The Airport
Watch Program includes warning signs for airports, informational
literature, and training videotape to educate pilots and airport
employees as to how security of their airports and aircraft can be
Security Begins With Your Own
Too often pilots neglect
to lock the doors of their aircraft. Crime happens because of
opportunity. Don’t ever make it easy for anyone. Lock your
airplane’s doors, regardless of whether your airplane is hangared or
tied outside. For added security, consider using an auxiliary lock
to further protect your aircraft from unauthorized use. Options
available to deter tampering and theft of your aircraft include
several fine locks for propellers, throttle, and prop controls. You
might also want to consider whether you keep your airplane key on
the same key-chain as your hangar key. Make it as difficult as
possible for someone to gain access to you plane.
WE CAN MAKE GENERAL AVIATION THE LEAST ATTRACTIVE OPTION AVAILABLE
TO THE TERRORIST OR OTHER CRIMINAL.
Participation Is Needed
America’s pilots should
be on the frontlines of monitoring what goes on at our airports.
When they band together, they become a powerful network of watchdogs
for what is happening at our airports. It is self-defeating for
general aviation pilots not to adapt and step up to today’s
challenge with respect to the potential of criminal activity at our
airports. Your participation at your local airport will help make
the AOPA Watch Program a success. Here are some helpful hints for
what to look for:
● Pilots who appear under the control of
● Anyone trying to access an aircraft through force-without
keys, using a crowbar or screwdriver.
● Anyone who seems
unfamiliar with aviation procedures trying to check out an airplane.
● Anyone who misuses aviation lingo-or seems to eager to use all the
● People or groups who seemed determined to keep to
● Any members of your airport neighborhood who work to avoid contact
with you or other airport tenants.
● Anyone who appears to be
just loitering, with no specific reason for being there.
Any out-of-the-ordinary videotaping of aircraft or hangars.
● Aircraft with unusual or obviously unauthorized modifications.
● Dangerous cargo or loads-explosives, chemicals, openly
displayed weapons-being loaded onto an airplane.
that strikes you as wrong-listen to your gut instinct, and then
● Pay attention to height, weight, and the
individuals clothing or other identifiable traits.