Posted by: Chris Davis | March 4, 2011

Don’t Close the BARR

Federal officials released a proposal today to the Federal Register that will limit the use of the BARR program to owners and operators of aircraft who are deemed to have a “valid security concern”.  For a little over a decade, the Block Aircraft Registration Request (BARR) has provided a way for owners and operators with a privacy concern to have their N# and the corresponding flight information be blocked from public availability.  Without the BARR, real-time information for any aircraft on an IFR flight plan is available to the public through the internet.  Public use websites exist that provide ownership and tracking information on the aircraft including it’s location, altitude, airspeed, destination, and estimated time of arrival for little or no charge.  To take this to the next level, apps exist for the iPhone and other smart phones that allow a user to point at an aircraft flying overhead and be provided with all the aforementioned information pulled from this public domain.

If this proposal is passed owners and operations will be required to re-submit written certification of a “valid security concern” on an annual basis for approval.  The proposal defines a valid security concern as follows:

“A Valid Security Concern is a verifiable threat to person, property or company, including a threat of death, kidnapping or serious bodily harm against an individual, a recent history of violent terrorist activity in the geographic area in which the transportation is provided, or a threat against a company.”

Ed Bolen, President of the NBAA, issued a statement today saying that the proposal will grant “an unwarranted invasion of the privacy of aircraft owners and operators, a threat to the competitiveness of U.S. companies and a potential security risk to persons on board.”  Bolen’s entire statement along with much more information concerning the proposal can be found on the NBAA website.  I encourage you to take a bit of time and learn about the very real threat to your privacy that is lurking around the corner.  We have 30 days to make our comments heard before this proposal comes up for action…the time to speak up is now.

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