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Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

Security Programs and Initiatives

General Aviation

Overview

TSA issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in October 2008, that would strengthen the security of general aviation by further minimizing the vulnerability of aircraft being used as weapons or to transport dangerous people or materials. The proposed regulation would reduce the susceptibility of large aircraft misuse by individuals wishing to harm the United States and its citizens.

The Large Aircraft Security Program (LASP) regulation would require all U.S. operators of aircraft exceeding 12,500 pounds maximum take-off weight to implement security programs that would be subject to compliance audits by TSA. The proposed regulation would also require operators to verify that passengers are not on the No Fly and/or Selectee portions of the federal government's consolidated terrorist watch list.

The LASP would require currently unregulated general aviation operations over a specific weight threshold to adopt security measures, which would align these operations with operations currently regulated for security purposes. TSA continues to enhance international and domestic general aviation security by developing a comprehensive strategy to:

  • Establish baseline standards of security for general aviation operations;
  • Ensure that flight crews have undergone a fingerprint-based criminal history records and terrorist name check;
  • Designate security coordinators;
  • Conduct watch list matching of passengers through TSA-approved watch list matching service provider; and
  • Check/validate property on board for unauthorized persons and accessible weapons

Click here to read LASP NPRM.

General Aviation Secure Program

TSA’s Office of Security Policy and Industry Engagement Aviation Division General Aviaiton Branch is committed to working with the industry and community to develop and implement reasonable and effective security measures. As part of these efforts, TSA has recently launched the General Aviation Secure Program. This program is designed to build upon the Airport Watch program, encouraging everyone to be vigilant about general aviation security and report any unusual activities to TSA.

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1-866-GA-SECURE

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(pdf, 213kb)

If it raises your suspicions, it might be a problem. For emergencies or time-sensitive issues, call 911 first.

  • Aircraft with unusual modifications or activity
  • Pilots appearing to be under the control of others
  • Unfamiliar persons loitering around the field
  • Suspicious aircraft lease or rental requests
  • Anyone making threats
  • Unusual, suspicious activities or circumstances

Aircraft Security

  • Always lock your aircraft
  • Don’t leave keys in unattended aircraft
  • Use secondary lock or aircraft disabler if available
  • Lock hangar when unattended

Downloadable Posters


Photo of General Aviation Secure Program Poster for download.   Photo of General Aviation Secure Program Poster for download.  Photo of General Aviation Secure Program Poster for download.

Secure Fixed Base Operator Program (SFBOP)

On Dec. 31, 2007, TSA launched, with industry partner Signature Flight Support, the Secure Fixed Base Operator Program (SFBOP) at Anchorage, Alaska, Shannon, Ireland and Le Bourget, France. The program is a public-private sector partnership program that will allow Fixed Base Operators (FBOs) to check passenger and crew identification against manifests or Electronic Advance Passenger Information System (eAPIS) filings for positive identification of passengers and crew onboard general aviation aircraft. Working in close coordination with industry partners, TSA believes that this security initiative will provide additional security for flights inbound to the United States. The agency is encouraged by the public/private sector partnership to improve security. The broader application of such programs will provide robust security while maintaining operational flexibility for general aviation operators.

Click here for SFBOP Frequently Asked Questions. (.pdf, 36kb)

DCA Access Standard Security Program (DASSP)

Click here to view the DASSP Gateway Airports.

TSA's Interim Final Rule (PDF 1.7 MB), which was developed in coordination with other Department of Homeland Security agencies and the Department of Defense, takes into consideration the special security needs of Washington Reagan National Airport (DCA). Under TSA's security plan, 48 flights in and out of DCA will be allowed each day. All aircraft will be required to meet the security measures set forth in the DCA Access Standard Security Program (DASSP), which include:

  • TSA inspection of crew and passengers;
  • TSA inspection of property (accessible and checked) and aircraft;
  • The start and end dates of flight must be indicated on the TSA flight authorization;
  • Identification checks of passengers by TSA;
  • Submission of passenger and crew manifests 24 hours in advance of flight;
  • Enhanced background checks for all passengers and fingerprint based criminal history records check (CHRC) for flight crew;
  • Armed Security Officer (ASO) on board each flight. Click here for more information on the Armed Security Officer program;
  • All operations are subject to cancellation at any time; 
  • All unscheduled operations to/from KDCA require an FAA slot reservation.  Please obtain an FAA slot reservation through the FAA ARO website:   www.fly.faa.gov/ecvrs/index.html

To apply for the DASSP program:

  • Application: To apply for the DASSP program as an aircraft operator and/or Fixed Base Operator (FBO), please contact the DASSP Program Office via email (DASSP@tsa.dhs.gov). Once contacted the Program Office will initiate the application process by providing the applicant with the necessary forms and corresponding instructions on the next steps.

The Approval Process:

  1. Once TSA receives your FBO and Aircraft Operator Application and NDA, TSA headquarters will contact the appropriate TSA field office to establish a local point of contact.  The local point of contact will liaison between the applicant and TSA headquarters to assist in the preparation for DASSP compliance.
  2. Once fully prepared, local TSA will revisit the operator for final review, and if fully compliant with the requirements, will notify TSA headquarters.
  3. Upon receiving notification from the local TSA field office that the operator is compliant with the DASSP requirements, TSA will approve the operator in writing and provide additional operating instructions.

Questions specific to the Armed Security Officer (ASO), should be directed to the ASO program office by calling 703-487-0044 or via email at tsoc.aso@dhs.gov.

Questions specific to the program requirements for aircraft operators or fixed base operators should be directed the DASSP program office by email at DASSP@tsa.dhs.gov.

Questions specific to TSA Flight Authorizations by currently approved DASSP aircraft operators should be directed to the Airspace Waivers Branch by calling 571-227-2071.

Private Charter Standard Security Program (PCSSP)

The Private Charter Standard Security Program is similar to the TFSSP but adds additional requirements for aircraft operators using aircraft with a MTOW of greater than 45,500 kg (100,309.3 pounds) or with a seating configuration of 61 or more. Operators were required to be in compliance with the program effective Apr.1, 2003.

Maryland-Three Program

The Maryland-Three Program allows properly vetted private pilots to fly to, from, or between the three general aviation airports closest to the National Capital Region. These airports are collectively known as the "Maryland Three" airports, and include College Park Airport (CGS), Potomac Airfield (VKX) and Hyde Executive Field (W32). These airports are all within the Washington, D.C. Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA) and the Washington, D.C. Flight Restricted Zone (FRZ.)

An interim final rule, published in February 2005, opened the Maryland Three to transient pilots. Based aircraft had been permitted operations at these airports since 2002.

Flights in the Washington, DC SFRA and FRZ are highly controlled. Complete familiarity with ALL pertinent regulations and NOTAMs pertaining to flying in the Washington, D.C. area is the responsibility of each pilot who wishes to fly in the vicinity. Several penalties can result from infractions committed in the Washington, D.C. SFRA and FRZ.

All pilots wishing to operate in to or out of the Maryland Three must complete the process below.

Policy Clarification - title 49, Code of Federal Regulations (49 CFR), part 1562 - Revised Maryland Three Program PIN Application Form to Include Sport Pilot Certificates and Recreational Pilot Certificates. (pdf, 100kb)

Personal Identification Number Issuance:
To be issued a Personal Identification Number (PIN) for aircraft operations to or from any of the Maryland Three airports, a pilot must follow these steps:

  1. Download and complete the PIN issuance form.
    • Check the appropriate box for the type of operation.
    • Complete all relevant applicant information. Mark all areas that are not applicable as "N/A".
  2. Visit the appropriate FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) either BWI or Dulles, in order for the FAA to review/inspect your certificate(s).  Applicants should call and make an appointment in advance of thier visit.  To contact the Dulles FSDO please call 703-230-7664 and to contact the BWI FSDO please call 410-787-0040.
  3. Visit the fingerprinting office located at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) to initiate your criminal history background check.  Be sure to take an acceptable form of government issued photo identification. The representative at this location will then complete the appropriate sections of the PIN issuance form.  DCA Fingerprint Office hours are from 7:00 am - 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm, M-F.  Their contact number is 703-417-4631/4632.
    • Acceptable forms of government issued photo I.D. include, but are not limited to:
      1. A drivers license issued by a U.S. State
      2. A U.S. passport
      3. A U.S. military ID
  4. After reviewing the security briefing material at the airport for which you are applying, complete the signature section of the PIN issuance form and return it to the Airport Security Coordinator (ASC). The ASC must also complete the ASC signature section. The applicant or ASC must email the form to MDthree@tsa.dhs.gov. The form may also be efaxed to 703-603-4056.
  5. The application will be processed once the form is completed and received by TSA. Please note that applications that are not complete or do not contain the correct authorizing signatures may be returned.
  6. TSA is working with National Air Transportation Association Compliance Service (NATA-CS) to facilitate completion of the MD3 applicant background checks.  Applicants should contact NATA-CS help desk at 800-788-3210 between the hours of 7:00 am - 8:00 pm, M-F for information.

* Only this TSA-approved form will be accepted. All other forms will be returned without issuance of a PIN.

Contact Shauna Lawrence at 571-227-1656 or MDthree@tsa.dhs.gov for more information.

Please contact the appropriate airport below for more detailed instructions on the PIN issuance process.

Contacts:
College Park Airport (CGS): Mr. Lee Schiek Airport Security Coordinator
Phone: 301-864-5844, E-Mail: leeschiek@hotmail.com
Potomac Airfield (VKX): Mr. David Wartofsky, Airport Security Coordinator
Phone: 301-248-5720, E-Mail: bigcheese@potomac-airfield.com
Hyde Field (W32) Mr. Ray Isherwood, Airport Security Coordinator
Phone: 301-297-7388, E-Mail: rtish1@aol.com
TSA Point of Contact: Shauna Lawrence
Phone: (571) 227-1656, E-Mail: Shauna.Lawrence@dhs.gov or MDthree@tsa.dhs.gov

Latest revision: 06 March 2014