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What is AOPA's Airport Watch?

Click below to learn about Airport Watch

Use your eyes and ears to keep our airports safe

Here's 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 too eager to use all the lingo
People or groups who seem 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 into an airplane.
Anything that strikes you as wrong - listen to your gut instinct, and then follow through.
Pay special attention to height, weight, and the individual's clothing or other identifiable traits.

Use your common sense.
Not all these items indicate
terrorist activity.

When in doubt, check it out!
Check with airport staff or call
the National Response Center


Homeland Security issues general aviation security advisory
May 2 — The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) last night issued an "Advisory to General Aviation" to be alert for unusual or suspicious activities at general aviation airports. A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) representative told AOPA that while no new airspace restrictions are anticipated, DHS felt that because of information and analysis from the Terrorist Threat Integration Center received in the last 24 hours, the advisory was necessary. The advisory sites "recent reliable reports" indicating that al Qaida is in the last stages of planning an aerial suicide attack against the U.S. Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan. Although no information was provided about any threats in the United States, pilots are being asked to report all unusual or suspicious activities at airports.

"AOPA fully supports heightened vigilance and has shown this commitment through the AOPA Airport Watch Program," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "However, we're very concerned about the sweeping generalizations in the DHS advisory that aren't necessarily accurate."

For example, the advisory states that a GA aircraft "loaded with explosives is the equivalent of a medium-sized truck bomb." That is far from reality for the majority of GA aircraft. The typical general aviation aircraft, particularly one that could be flown by a "less skilled pilot," can only carry several hundred pounds. The "medium-sized truck bomb" that killed six in the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993 weighed 1,500 pounds.

Nevertheless, pilots should do their part and watch for persons loitering in areas with aircraft, aircraft with unusual modifications, persons who appear to be under stress or under the control of other persons, and persons loading unusual payload into aircraft.

Suspicious activity should be reported using the toll free Airport Watch general aviation hotline at 866-GA-SECURE.