Scott T. Olson
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Adm. David Stone
EAA Vice President of Government Relations Doug Macnair held an introductory meeting with new acting Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Administrator Rear Adm. David Stone Wednesday (January 14) in Washington, D.C.

Running your Airport VFR vs. IFR I bumped into a powerful idea soon after TSA published the Security Guidelines for General Aviation Airports - Information Publication A-001, May 2004.

Accountability on Demand using Real Time Management is my aim for ways to secure General Aviation Airports. Timeliness of data is the key. It's a peddle to the medal race for faster and faster information. The Value of information is always greatest at the time the event occurs. Making decisions operating an airport is much like making decisions operating in the cockpit of an airplane. Real Time Management (RTM) is paramount and relies on Real Time Information (RTI) when flying IFR. It is plain to see the value of data when you need air traffic control and you are approaching clouds or when flying "in the soup". Every second and minute counts when things aren't clear in IFR. Yet it is not so plain to see that information looses value every second, minute, hour, and day that goes by when operating an airport.

Use the analogy of continuously scanning instruments in a cockpit when flying IFR to visualize where to use access control, surveillance and other forms of Identification and Security Technologies to continuously scan or monitor security information at the airport. Operating an airport with authentic data, like a pilot flying IFR, is the key to successful TSA recommended Security Enhancements. After reading the TSA IP A-001, I reckon VFR may be fine for any airport operator under normal flying conditions or normal airport operations. However, there are inherent problems in operating an airport by identifying and tracking people when things are cloudy, like when the Homeland Security Advisory System threat level moves up a notch or there are mischievous, criminal or obscure activities at the airport - VFR can't take us where we must go.

TSA does recommend access controls, personal ID's and vehicle Identification as security enhancements at GA Airports near mass population areas. The number of people you keep track of or authenticate, or the number of resources you control their access to, or both, results in geometric growth and gets impossibly hard to keep up. The idea is to augment existing airport security with inexpensive automated access control with the integration of surveillance. The only thing that changes when making your airplane IFR is trusting the "data" or "information".

This notion of accountability is compelling because a free aviation community works in a similar way. "If I screw up, there's some expectation that will be discovered, and I'll be found, and I'll be made to pay." The means of discovery is surveillance. In general aviation we rely on eye witness and increasingly, and especially at Regionals, on cameras. In the post 911 world GA is now approaching a fork in the road and nobody wants to make a decision on how to move forward. To the left we audit people - VFR. To the right we survey data - IFR. If I have to survey people or data, I think it's highly important that we choose to survey the data, not the people.

The concept is straight forward: Deploy a real-time approach with surveillance and access management to track secure ID's with an accountability system. Use this data both to enforce suggested airport security enhancements and TSA recommendations. TSA may not mandate and may not have the money. Start collecting "data", you may find that you have the money.

Scott T. Olson

To view real-time information....... IFR Cockpit Click Here

Below is a VFR Cockpit. You can't believe this cockpit information in bad weather!


Scott T. Olson