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AOPA Airport Watch

AOPA 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 enhanced.

Security Begins With Your Own Airplane

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.

Together we can make general aviation the least attractive option available to the terrorist or other criminal.

Your 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 someone else.
  • 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 lingo.
  • People or groups who seemed determined to keep to themselves.
  • 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.
  • Anything that strikes you as wrong-listen to your gut instinct, and then follow through.
  • Pay attention to height, weight, and the individuals clothing or other identifiable traits.