Setting the record straight
THE EDITOR, Sir:
Your recent story (‘US issues hacking security alert for small planes’, July 30, 2019) missed or mischaracterised some key points about small-airplane security.
First, your article pointed to a recent Department of Homeland Security (DHS) notice, inferring that it was focused only on cybersecurity concerns for small, “general aviation” aircraft, when the fact is, the notice applies to all aircraft, from airliners on down.
Second, the story – which included not a single aviation-industry source – arguably misrepresented the nature of the potential security breach involved. For example, the piece failed to fully explain that for the scenario to occur, an individual would need to actually board an aircraft, dismantle its avionics system, locate a certain, small piece of technology, and effectively disable it.
The reason that such a relatively complex scenario hasn’t unfolded – the reason TSA audits have never found general aviation airplanes to be a security concern – is that the industry has always made security a top priority, with a host of measures that harden aircrafts from threats. An Airport Watch programme includes a toll-free reporting number directly to the TSA. Pilots carry tamper-resistant, government-issued ID, and passengers on many general aviation flights undergo strict background checks. The government cross-checks records for airmen and monitors aircraft sales to find suspicious activity.
These are the facts about general aviation security – it’s unfortunate that your readers might have been led to believe otherwise.
President and CEO