Pilots claim new TSA rules will put them out of business - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Pilots claim new TSA rules will put them out of business

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SPOKANE, Wash. - The Transportation Security Administration says it is trying to make the skies safer, but some pilots say it could put them out of business.

Bart Tiernan flies the only DC-3 on skis in the United States.

He gets around to some of the more remote parts of Alaska where things like metal detectors and bomb squads are an afterthought.

"What are you going to do, steal a DC-3 out of Emmonak and what, are you going to do drive it into a fish camp and kill a lot of salmon? I don't think so," Tiernan said.

Some Alaska pilots have more important things to worry about than international terrorism, but soon they might not have a choice.

The TSA has a proposal called the Large Aircraft Security Program.

It would classify aircraft heavier than 12,500 pounds as a large aircraft and thus subject to strict security regulations.

"Well what we saw was that there was a vulnerability perhaps that could be mitigated if we were able to have some rules in place that we could follow and have general aviation follow as well," said Dwayne Baird, a spokesperson for TSA, in a phone interview.

These regulations would mean affected pilots must go through background checks, they would have to make sure baggage is inspected, and each flight must be approved for departure.

"If I have to comply with all these regulations I simply can't do it," Tiernan said. "I'm out of business."

The new rules would also impact pilots who carry hunters and their firearms.

A gun is a gun regardless of its intended use and the TSA makes no exceptions for hunters.

"When we make a rule it's very broad initially so that we can narrow it down as we get the information that we need," Baird said.

Public comment on the TSA's plan is open for another week.    

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