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NAFI to Florida: New Aviation Security Bill Is Sufficient

Updated 11/20/01 - The new federal Aviation Security Bill signed by President Bush on Nov. 19 should eliminate the concerns of some Florida legislators regarding flight school security, according to National Association of Flight Instructors (NAFI) officials. Because of that development, NAFI is urging that proposed legislation addressing the same issue be dropped altogether when the Florida legislature reconvenes in January. Introduced during a recent special session of the Florida legislature, that bill would require extensive background checks of all flight students in the state, as well as fingerprinting, written character references and other mandates. It would also force the industry to absorb the cost estimated at $2,000 per student or more.

The new federal law already requires background checks of foreign nationals seeking flight training (including simulators) for aircraft weighing more than 12,500 lbs., but does not impose what NAFI feels are unwarranted burdens on the overwhelming majority of legitimate, law-abiding, flight training students and flight schools.

"The Aviation Security Bill adequately addresses the security concerns of the Florida legislators," said NAFI President Sean Elliott. "It correctly focuses specifically on the aircraft that can pose security threats as well as undocumented foreign students." Elliott attended the Florida Aviation System Planning Process Steering Committee meeting and the first meeting of the newly formed Florida Flight Training Alliance (FFTA), both held on Nov. 14 at the Sun 'n Fun grounds in Lakeland, Florida.

"NAFI strongly urges the Florida legislature to let the new federal law work," Elliott added.