NAAA and its membership have aggressively promoted the enhanced security procedures developed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. The agricultural aviation industry has had security measures in place before the tragic events of 9/11. Security measures by operators have always been proactive, rapid and widespread.
Never in the history of agricultural aviation has an aerial application plane been involved in any terrorist activity. The complexity and sophistication of aerial application aircraft, combined with the level of skill required to operate these planes make it unlikely that they could be used in attacks by terrorists with training.
A few security measures adopted by the agricultural aviation industry include:
- Storing aircraft and crop protection products in locked hangars with electronic security systems when not in use.
- Parking and disabling loader trucks, forklifts, or other equipment to block aircraft.
- In cases where the aircraft must be left outdoors, using propeller locks, propeller chains or tie-downs on aircraft.
- Removing batteries from planes and disabling engines from unused aircraft.
- Operators have installed hidden security switches to prevent unauthorized startup of the aircraft.
- Establishing contact with federal and local law enforcement agencies to coordinate responses to security breaches at ag aviation facilities. Encouraging operators to list the appropriate law enforcement agency telephone numbers in a prominent place within their operations. Also, outdoor security lighting around hangars and operations is encouraged.
NAAA, through its sister organization, the National Agricultural Aviation Research & Education Foundation, conducts an educational program that is taught to agricultural aviators during the offseason called Professional Aerial Application Support System, or PAASS Program. The PAASS Program travels from state-to-state each year and is an educational program emphasizing aviation security, safety and drift mitigation. Since being added to the PAASS Program beginning with the 2001-2002 PAASS season, each year the security module is presented to more than 1,700 ag pilots in over 30 states.
Our industry continues to work closely with local, state and federal officials to ensure that the equipment used in our business is not a threat to homeland security.
The ag aviation industry has been recognized by federal, state and local law enforcement and security agencies for its cooperation with government officials in safeguarding homeland security.
Aerial application is an important component in the production of food and fiber in the United States, as well as an important means of fighting forest and brush fires and providing public health spraying services.