Midnight Rantings

Tired rantings in a tired world.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Fear and Loathing at Small Airports

On January 15, CBS Evening News aired this report regarding potential terrosit targets at small airports. The report goes on to accuse the general aviation community (anything from small planes to commuters, basically non-airline or military) of laxity on security. The report makes the point that the freedom of personal aircraft is too much for national security. CBS Correspondent Bob Orr editorializes: Until then, vulnerability will be the price for general aviations freedom. What a horrible thing, freedom. The freedom to come and go as one pleases without intrusive government meddling is contemptable.

What are the real risks at small airports? Lack of security and monitoring of who is doing what. In this report a case was made for searching people going to their own planes. Do we search everyone going to his/her own automobile? We search everyone getting onto commercial airlines. Has this increased security? Does anyone remember the 20-year old college student, who smuggled boxcutters onto airlines? Despite searching people's shoes, increase police prescence, etc., an untrained college student was able to smuggle weapons onto an airplane. Yeah, our security is doing a bang-up job.

Let's extrapolate that security to every single airplane in service in this country. Does anyone think it is possible to secure every plane? The report was also critical of small airport security. Possibly the airport in question has lax security, but the airports around here have beafed up security with cameras, locked gates, etc. As a matter of fact, one airport (Downtown Island) closes the access road at night.

What are the risks of a small plane? Most small planes weigh less than a car. With full fuel, a small plane can carry less than 4 adults. To place enough explosive into a small plane, one would not even be able to take off. More damage has been done with a Rider truck than a small, personal airplane. When that deranged kid stole an airplane and rammed it into a building, other than killing himself, noone else was hurt and very little damage was done, when compared to said Rider truck. The Nuclear Energy Institute's study found a Boeing 767 could not damage a nuclear reactor. How could a small plane with less than 600 pounds of explosive?

Basically, the CBS News report was muckraking at it's worst. Only one side was given credence. The report editorialized. People's fear and loathing of small airplanes was reinforced. Is it any wonder that network news is losing its audience?