A Boston Tea Party for TSA

By Robert Mark on February 22nd, 2009

The heart and soul of social media – blogging, Twitter, podcasting and a host of other new tools – is its ability to create a buzz around an issue – often within within seconds – much the way we saw with Janis Krum’s TwitPic post of a US Airways Airbus hitting the icy waters of the Hudson River last month, proving again that the ways we communicate with each other about anything and everything are evolving in front of our very eyes. It is time for aviation professionals to raise their fists against a piece of impending legislation in the pattern of our forefathers 250 years ago.

Tea Party

Sending a Signal

On December 16, 1773, American colonists stopped shouting and took action to protest an act of their then overseers, the British Parliament. Outraged at what they considered an unfair taxation policy on tea, citizens dressed as American Indians, climbed aboard freighters docked in Boston harbor and dumped thousands of tons of tea into the water to send a signal to London that the little people were not happy about government treatment of this necessary part of Colonial life.

Aviators … it’s our turn again.

As if the work of the past few months of trying to clean up the embarrassing mess created by dozens of CEOs who dumped their business airplanes rather than defend them, we’re almost out of time to defend our industry from the hands of another government agency, the TSA. The Transportation Security Administration (also knows as Thousands Standing Around) proposed a new regulation – the Large Aircraft Security Proposal – under the Bush Administration to drag general-aviation security procedures up to the level of those of the airline industry. Never mind that the two segments are as different as night and day. And never mind that government research shows general aviation is not a threat. Can someone send this information to the TSA … please!

Think of TSA’s idea as imposing a severe and highly unnecessary financial burden, a one-size fits all kind of security choke hold on an industry that survives through its ability to be hundreds of different things to the thousands of people who use business and general aviation. Or you might think of the TSA’s proposal as one sure to drive a stake into the heart of an already wounded industry. That means don’t expect much help here from anyone in the airline industry. TSADo we have your blood pumping yet?

You can read more about the specifics of the proposal at the Max Trescott on GA blog if you’re not familiar.

This time around the partisan politic hats can be left at the door. Although this issue emerged under a Republican White House, it will be decided by a Democratic one, a White House that has already shown it has little understanding of aviation proven out by the still leader-less FAA.

Dear Mr. President

President Obama used the term “silly season,” to define some of what he thought was insane rhetoric surrounding last fall’s presidential campaign. Apparently, it’s still silly season in our industry. The Regulations.gov web site, in fact, shows there has been more comments around TSA legislation the past few months than from any other agency. That’s a good thing. But too much is never enough in this case. TSA obviously wasn’t listening to the industry when they proposed this legislation and they probably aren’t listening now.

The closing date for arguments against the TSA proposal is next Saturday, February 28, 2009. Thousands of aviation professionals have already sent their message to the TSA and you can add yours here too. This one is ugly folks, so right after you’ve filled out your protest letter to the TSA, send this story to anyone who has an interest in aviation and ask them to do the same.

And right after that, take a few minutes and send it to your Congress person and your U.S. Senator, unless of course you’re from Illinois. We’re still trying to figure out if we have one working senator or two.

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7 Responses to “A Boston Tea Party for TSA”

  1. Matt Says:

    Thank you for raising awareness of the LASP issue. It truly is a case of bad government run amuck.

    I do wish that people would become a little angrier about this issue. The proposed rule is a fundamental intrusion of privacy on the part of the government, and yes, while we are all interested in preserving our ability to fly unhindered by the government, we should all be very interested in preserving our more fundamental freedoms, which this rule clearly intrudes upon. Taken to its logical conclusion, the TSA will become involved in telling us how, when, and where we can drive our cars, all in the name of ‘protecting the citizens.’

    A Boston Tea Party type event may be what is called for if this proposed rule passes. The government rules at the consent of its people, and from what I can tell, the people do not consent to this!

  2. TSA's Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP) | AviationChatter.com Says:

    […] has whipped GA pilots into a fervor. Robert Mark summarized the issue on Jetwhine.com. Think of TSA’s idea as imposing a severe and highly unnecessary financial […]

  3. Fight against TSA new rules - Supporting Max Trescott | Plastic Pilot Says:

    […] Robert Mark of JetWhine joined the party. Click here to read his […]

  4. lowskillset Says:

    Rob,

    Keep up the good work!

    Don

  5. lowskillset Says:

    Ooops, Rob,

    Good work.

  6. Albatross Driver Says:

    You don’t know half of the stupidity of this NPRM. I own a large ex-military radial engined amphibian. They want to tell me I can’t carry tools in the airplane. I have no external cargo compartment like an airline airplane. The airplane cannot be operated away from home base without tools – it requires frequent routine maintenance every few hours. Then they want to require that the airplane only be operated at certain secure airports. Well, I’ve got a SEAPLANE. Are they going to set up security checkpoints on lakes, rivers, and at the beach? Just examples of how there was NO thought given as to how this would work, just cram all of the square peg of aviation through round hole of the airline world.

  7. flyboyjonesy Says:

    I flew into PDK a few weeks ago, and to my surprise I saw a TSA person standing in the lobby of the Signature FBO. I had no idea this is what they were planning. I even jokingly said “Are you guys going to start screening here too?” This program should be carefully considered before implementation. The financial burden should not be placed squaerly on our shoulders. I have heard congrssional testimony about using private contractors to perform government oversight, and what I heard wasn’t great.

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