Small airports on alert for bioterror threat
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has alerted small airports and flight instructors to be on alert, warning that terrorists may try to use small aircraft loaded with chemical or biological weapons in an attack on the United States.
The director of the Gaylord Regional Airport in Northern Michigan, a typical small airport, recently said that his facility has expanded on the set Federal Aviation Administration standards to make things safer, according to UpNorthLive.com.
"We do have countermeasures that people have been briefed on and practice that would be what our response would be to somebody with clandestine intent to prevent that aircraft from leaving here," Matt Barresi, the airport's director, said, UpNorthLive.com reports. “We're put in a position to kind of think the unthinkable and what countermeasures we can put in place."
At nearby Traverse Lakes Aviation, anyone interested in flying must first undergo a background check. Before anyone goes up in a plane, they must have their identification verified.
“We get their driver's license, social security number, pilot's license, medical certificate, all that gets copied along with a contract they have to fill out and then they go for a check ride with an instructor before they can even get in an airplane," Michael Head of Traverse Lakes Aviation said, UpNorthLive.com reports.
Jeff Weiber, a pilot with North Country Aviation, a charter service, said his services have also been regulated. Passengers who book flights must also be checked.
“We have to do a TSA background check, a no-fly list, we have to check every one, I have to see a valid picture, a government ID, before I allow them on the aircraft," Weiber said, according to UpNorthLive.com.