It’s Easy To Steal Small Planes–A Terror Threat?


The recent theft of two small places has raised the question of whether enough is being done to secure the more than 19,000 small airports across the nation, the Christian Science Monitor reports. Andrew Thomas of the University of Akron, author of “Aviation Insecurity,” says that stealing planes “is still a very real threat given Al Qaeda’s determination to use small planes in the past.”

Critics say it’s still remarkably easy to access most small airports. In mid-June, a 14-year-old boy wandered onto an Alabama airfield, found an unlocked plane with a key in it, and decided to see what it felt like to fly. Last week in Connecticut, an allegedly inebriated student pilot took two teenagers out for a five-hour jaunt before being detected and forced to land. General aviation advocates contend such incidents are rare and shouldn’t spark new rules. “There’s a tendency to overreact to potential aviation threats because people view them in isolation instead of viewing them in terms of other threats,” says Clint Oster of Indiana University. “The real issue is that we need to have a systematic way of assessing big threats from little ones.”


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