The following was received from reader Roger Halstead in response to last week's Flying Tip: Be Careful How You Respond
"Yes, I think we need to be a LOT more vigilant, but not for security's sake, but rather for the impression we create with the "unknowing and uneducated" when it comes to aviation.
"Like "middle America" is a different culture than the cities, so too is the GA airport compared to commercial aviation. They are different worlds, not just different cultures. If someone new shows up "inside the fence" or "out on the grass" they are usually greeted in a friendly and cursory manner. If they don't appear to belong there they are ushered off the field or outside the fence, but if they have a genuine interest in aviation they are still welcomed. Many places still welcome the "fence hangers" although sadly not as many as used to.
"We don't need the locked gates and guards, but we do close up when everyone goes home.
"A hangar light on in the wee hours is almost a guarantee the local law enforcement will stop by to make sure "everything is OK". We don't need the TSA on the field. We know who belongs there and who doesn't. We keep an eye out for our neighbors and they for us. These are things the person who is used to commercial air travel doesn't see, isn't aware of, and often cannot understand even when explained.
"Those who "get invited", didn't invite themselves onto a flight where no one knew them. They were invited by those who did know them, or there was someone who vouched for them before they ever came near an aircraft.
"We in GA may have a better system than the high profile one presented by the government. I try to explain it as "behind the scenes security". As the TSA folks have a presence those travelers see, there is also a great deal behind the scenes they don't see.
"Do we have flaws? Sure, but even with their draconian measures the TSA is not 100% effective. Maybe our biggest flaw is we have such a good system that most travelers are unaware of it."
— Thanks for the email comment from 'Roger Halstead'
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