OK, folks, enough already; yeah, yeah, the story is known: 31-year-old student pilot Yavuz Burke, known also as Adam Leon,"stole" a Skyhawk from a Canadian flight school and embarked on a transnational dash hoping to commit suicide by F-16...
...and the cries are familiar: secure the airplanes, we've got to stop this madness and stop leaving unsecured airplanes on ramps...
Please...give me a break here. I mean, enough
already. There's not a single, solitary security step out there that would have, could have or should have stopped Mr. Burke/Leon, from his sad pursuit of the afterlife -- none, nada, zippo, zilch. Get it?
Yeah, yeah, I've read and acted on the security recommendations from those out-of-control make-believe "experts" at the Transportation Security Administration. As for AOPA's Airport Watch Program, heck, I wrote the original working with AOPA staff to produce those very commonsense steps. And what that book recommends would not
have changed anything
about this disturbed individual's actions.
Why? Am I deranged, suggesting nothing could have stopped or changed his action? Well, many would leap to agree -- I often feel deranged, maddened beyond reason when our alleged protectors misuse their authority to add rules through the "directive" process rather than the All American rule-making process; guess after the response to their Large Aircraft Security Program proposal, the TSA folks find the uncertainty and opposition unpalatable and the opportunity to just dictate irresistible.
Reference the wave of new badging requirements sweeping the country; stupid, short-sighted and dictatorial -- not to mention useless, ball-less and unjustified. Not that any of these facts matter to the TSA.
So getting back to the no-joy ride of Mr. Burke/Leon, let's look at the arguments.
Background checks...well, he'd passed one and had just been vetted to become a naturalized Canadian citizen; so no joy here;
Keeping aircraft secured on the ramp...well, of course that's just common sense. But the guy was a legitimate student pilot
-- so he had legitimate student pilot access
to the aircraft. Does anyone now suggest we keep students from their classrooms? Thought not. Even if the school kept the keys locked away, this guy had legitimate
access...so no joy here, either.
Ditto for prop locks, hangering between students, etc, ad nauseum...
Now, should we make student carry an observer? What happens to solo requirements? Or the illegality of a soloed student carrying a passenger...yeah, we know -- gets complicated, doesn't it?
Sorry TSA and the world, all that you've done, all you're proposing to do and all you can think of in your bleak imagination will, where general aviation is concerned, serve only to make us all suspects and protect us from our own mobility.
Nothing you can devise can stop a guy like Mr. Lean...nothing. Couldn't stop that guy with the Piper who tried to fake his own death, either -- and he was a poster child for upwardly mobile, affluent business aviation.
Crazy is as crazy does -- and trying to match the possible crazies of the world with TSA crazy will succeed only in stifling, maybe killing, general aviation. But then, maybe that's TSA's intended victim.
I'm open to counter ideas...but badges and background checks up to our rudder tips can't stop individualized crazy. It only encourages institutionalized crazy -- like the TSA.