AOPA: 'Rep. Cox is GA-Aware'
AOPA says that, "The buck stops in
Rep. Christopher Cox's office." Finally, after years of "not me"
finger pointing among all the federal agencies with a hand in
aviation security, and revolving door leadership at the
Transportation Security Administration, AOPA now has one place to
go to discuss security issues. AOPA President Phil Boyer met with
Cox Wednesday afternoon to talk about GA security.
Cox (R-Calif.) is the first chairman of the new permanent House
Committee on Homeland Security, with direct jurisdiction over the
Department of Homeland Security and its many subsidiary agencies,
including the TSA, Secret Service, and others. And the truth in
Washington is that federal agencies are both beholden and
responsive to their congressional masters.
"It was a great first meeting," said Boyer. "Rep. Cox believes
— as does AOPA — that security measures should be
commensurate with the risk. He's also very concerned about the
economic impact of overarching security restrictions. And he thinks
that we can do more overall damage to ourselves with ill-considered
security responses than could ever be done by a single terrorist
Cox also understands general aviation. His father was an AOPA
member, and Cox fondly remembers flying with him. Cox's California
office overlooks John Wayne-Orange County Airport (SNA) in Santa
Ana, one of the busiest airports in the nation for GA. He
frequently uses GA for his congressional travel around the
In Washington, where connections and relationships are
all-important, Cox is plugged-in on security. He and new Homeland
Security Secretary Michael Chertoff attended Harvard Law School
together and later worked together at the same law firm.
Boyer briefed Cox on GA security, specifically pointing out that
small general aviation aircraft aren't a significant threat. More
important, he reminded the chairman of the many steps already taken
since 9/11 to improve GA security, including AOPA's Airport Watch
Boyer also discussed the Washington Air Defense Identification
Zone (ADIZ) and other security TFRs, along with the operational
difficulties and economic impacts associated with them. And he told
Cox that AOPA would return to him soon with a plan for improving
the ADIZ and TFRs.
"Security is the new reality," said Boyer, "but it has been
frustrating these last years to be bounced around among so many
different agencies and committees. Now there is one place to go,
and we know that door will be open to us as we supply valuable
information about the realities of general aviation."