Congress has discovered that being on the no fly list doesn’t preclude an individual from obtaining a pilot’s license. Can new legislation be far behind? The new law might read something like, “No individual with ill intentions shall receive flight training or be permitted to obtain a pilot’s license.” Of course penalties and punishment for flight schools who accept students with ill intentions will have to be spelled out in detail also. New TSA and FAA personnel will have to be brought on board to enforce the legislation and new departmental policy will be established as guidelines. A budget outlay of around one billion should cover the cost. Once the new law is in effect, we can all breathe a huge sigh of relief and relax. We will be able to sleep at night knowing all is well.
Perhaps we should think this through in anticipation of the new learning environment. When the TSA screening agents show up at the FBO, students and instructors will be required to remove their shoes for a toe count before boarding the aircraft and of course the water bottle you use for hydration during the flight will be restricted to only three ounces. No problem for sly and enterprising flight schools; flip flops will be included as an option for suitable attire and pre-hydration will become an item on the pre-flight checklist.
My confidence in the process is bolstered by the fact that robbing gas stations is illegal also, and we’ve experienced a three percent decrease in such crimes over the last ten years. That success might be altered if the terrorists who are dissuaded from learning to fly resort to robbing gas stations instead.
Let’s be realistic for a moment. Someone with ill intentions, who wants to learn to fly, might not be on the no fly list. Such a person is not even interested in obtaining a license. Their objective is to simply learn how to takeoff and steer the airplane. Safety and regulations are not an issue. Neither is legislation. There are thousands of flight schools to apply to and the odds are one will accept their money. If not, there are thousands of independent flight instructors to appeal to. Does everyone run a background check on every student, and would a routine background check reveal ill intentions? For that matter, do you have to be a flight instructor to teach someone to takeoff and steer the airplane. My conclusion is that the character, integrity, and judgment of flight instructors have never been more important when evaluating a student. I’ll leave all the possible scenarios to your imagination along with a plug for my novel, SHADOW FLIGHT, which examines the possibilities.
Let’s legislate ourselves into euphoria!