Airport security eases somewhat for private pilots

A security directive requiring that all private pilots have identification badges for every airport at which they land was eased just days before it was set to go into effect.

The agency also exempted members of the military and its own employees from the requirements of the security directive.

A spokesman for the agency last week told The Daily Sentinel the badge requirement was eased, but no formal announcement was made until Friday.

“According to the new directive, transient pilots who fly into commercial-service airports no longer need to get an airport badge or background check,” the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association said on its Web site. “However, they must remain close to their aircraft, leaving it only to walk to and from the fixed-base operator, service provider, or airport exit.

The TSA also has said that it will make provisions for self-fueling operations and grant allowances for emergency situations.”

Tenants or regular users of any airport, however, still will be required to obtain badges, the association said.

There is no list of affected airports, the association said, urging pilots to “devote some extra time to their preflight planning. Make sure you call ahead to your home and destination airports to get up to speed on the latest security procedures.”

Pilots and businesses at Grand Junction Regional Airport had worried the badge requirement could discourage civil aviation.

One pilot, Collin Fay of Colorado Flight Center, said the clarification provided some relief.

The directive no longer will discourage pilots without badges from landing and refueling at the airport, Fay said.

Pilots and others who are based in and work in Grand Junction still will have to pay $125 every two years for new badges, Fay said.

“In essence, TSA is punishing local pilots now while relaxing the rules on transients,” he said.


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