Have you ever wondered just how much trouble you would be in if, for example, you forgot that your Zippo lighter was still in your pocket when you tried to go through the security checkpoint at an airport? Well, a quick review of the TSA's Enforcement Sanction Guidance Policy indicates that you could be facing a fine of $250.00 to $1,500.00. A firearm, depending upon whether or not it is loaded, could net you a fine anywhere from $1,500.00 to $7,500.00 plus a referral for criminal prosecution. Of course, where you end up in these ranges will depend upon the circumstances of the violation and whether any of the aggravating or mitigating factors identified in the Policy are present.
In addition to sanctions for individual violations, the Policy also includes sanction guidance for security violations by aircraft operators, airport operators and by "indirect air carriers" such as cargo operators. The Policy provides ranges of fines, which opens the door for discretion in the actual amount that is assessed against a violator. This discretion presumably takes into account any aggravating or mitigating factors. Enforcement of a violation for which a fine is the penalty proceeds as a civil penalty action pursuant to a Notice of Proposed Civil Penalty.
So, if you want to assess your liability exposure (both civil and criminal), in addition to the delay and embarrassment associated with being caught, you can review the Enforcement Sanction Guidance Policy to get an approximate idea of just how much hot water you would be in for a particular type of violation. Not something I would recommend. But it makes for interesting reading.
Even though this past year in aviation legislation has been a quiet one, there has been a discernable undercurrent of change seeping into the foundation of the commercial, business and general aviation industry these past several years. The changes that have been slowly seeping in under most of our ‘news radars’, and when viewed as a composite, are so significant that we all now need to take immediate action before our worst fears become an industry reality.
The changes that I am referring to, and a lot of them are not caused by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or Transportation Security Administration (TSA), are as follows:
Establishment of an International Aircraft Registry in March 2006. This program is mandated by the FAA, whereby a seller cannot warrant ‘Free and Clear Title’ to his or her aircraft, unless it has registered with the I.R. The treaty resulted from a diplomatic conference held in Cape Town, South Africa in 2001. The conference was attended by 68 countries and 14 international organizations. In all, 53 countries signed the resolution proposing the treaty. It took effect when ratified by eight countries: Ethiopia, Ireland, Malaysia, Nigeria, Oman, Panama, Pakistan and the United States.
Failed attempt to introduce Aviation User Fees in June 2007. Proposed by Sen. Jay Rockefeller, along with the then-ranking minority committee member Sen. Trent Lott, and wrapped up in Senate Bill S.1300. The airlines were all for this, because they saw an opportunity to deflect public scrutiny away from their intensely bad ways of managing their respective companies, while firing media shots at business and general aviation. This caused so much division within both houses of Congress that the FAA was put on probation starting in September 2007. Ever since then, the FAA has been on a month-to-month, and sometimes quarter-to-quarter basis for funding.
Failed attempt to introduce the Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP) in October 2008. This regulation would require all U.S. operators of aircraft (both Part 135 and 91) that exceed 12,500 pounds maximum take-off weight to implement security programs that would be subject to compliance audits by TSA. The proposed regulation would also require operators to verify that passengers are not on the No Fly and/or Selectee portions of the federal government's consolidated terrorist watch list.
Failed attempt to introduce an FAA Certified Repair Station (CRS) Security Plan in November 2009. Repair stations on and off airports are so different that it wouldn’t be possible to create a security plan and audit system to fit all of the stations. However, this plan required that all CRS facilities to implement security procedures and infrastructure such as access controls to the facility or aircraft, and a means to identify those who should have access to the facility. Additionally, there would have to be procedures established for challenging unauthorized people who are trying to get access to the facility, along with a security awareness training program for all employees.
Transportation Security Administrator and former deputy FBI director John S. Pistole will be among those to speak Tuesday in Atlanta at the opening general session at the 2010 NBAA annual meeting and convention.
He joins long-time business aviation supporter and Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President Thomas J. Donohue, FAA Administrator Randolph J. "Randy" Babbitt, and Cox Enterprises President Jimmy Hayes.
Photo courtesy of Jaunted.com, widely distributed on the Web
One of the biggest stories in aviation today is the third nomination of a potential TSA chief from the Obama administration. We run down links to various outlets’ coverage here.
In what has to be one of the coolest technological feats in aviation recently, tornado chasers from the University of Colorado flew an unmanned aircraft into a super-cell thunderstorm. The byproduct of this will hopefully be better research of how life-threatening storms are formed without putting researchers into harm’s way.
Part of the reason folks chase such storms has to be the thrill of it. Yet controlling a UAV through massive downbursts has its own enticements, too.
In a sad piece of aviation news, two dogs owned by actor and pilot John Travolta were killed last week by a service vehicle at Bangor International Airport (BGR). Travolta owns a home off the Maine coast.
In the world of business aviation, Benet Wilson of Aviation Week runs through an intriguing list of news tidbits, noting that NATA and others are not happy with GA having only one representative on the DOT aviation panel. Read that, along with news from Hawker Beechcraft, Korean Aerospace and GE Aviation here.
Boeing patted itself on the back this week for reducing CO2 emissions at U.S. facilities by 31 percent since 2002. The company seeks to add to this number with the deployment of its 787s and 747-8 series.
Finally, our friends at Duncan Aviation look further into the complicated quandary known as WAAS, expanding on why LPV approaches with the system require two FMSs and two GPS receivers. Check it out at this link.
The Obama administration announced Monday its third nomination to head the Transportation Security Administration.
Deputy FBI Director John Pistole becomes the third person selected for the job after former Los Angeles airport police executive Errol Southers and retired Army Maj. Gen. Robert Harding stepped aside amongst possible hang-ups in congressional confirmation hearings.
“John’s national security and counterterrorism expertise will be a great asset to the Department in our efforts to enhance the security of our vital transportation systems,” said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. “Strong and effective transportation security requires proactive measures and a strong understanding of the evolving threat picture. John’s significant experience and expertise in this field—which I have seen firsthand over the last 16 months—will serve both TSA and the traveling public well.”
Moderate Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, seen by the administration as a key dealmaker in Congress, showed early support for Pistole, as she initially did for the two prior nominees. However, consensus seems more positive this time around.
The Wall Street Journal’s Jonathan Weisman says the White House sees Pitole’s nomination as “bulletproof.”