As members of the GA community, it is essential for us to help ensure the safety and security of our airports and aircraft. Unauthorized access to the assets by criminals or terrorists can be very damaging to GA. While the theft of actual aircraft is not a significant threat (the Aircraft Owners and Pilot’s Association (AOPA) notes that fewer than a dozen are stolen each year), there is always the possibility and the danger of more common security threats. Common risks are random acts of vandalism and theft of aircraft parts, particularly expensive avionics.
Because every airport is different, pilots should have multiple methods of protecting their assets. The TSA notes in its 2017 Security Guidelines for General Aviation Airport Operators and Users that “Storage in hangars is one of the most effective methods of securing GA aircraft.” In this article, we will touch on a few security measures you can incorporate to help prevent unauthorized access to and theft from your hangar
- Pilots who appear to be under the control of another person
- Any pilot who makes threats or statements inconsistent with normal uses of aircraft
- Pilots determined to avoid others
- Someone doing out-of-the-ordinary videotaping of aircraft or hangars
- Anyone trying to access an aircraft through force—without keys, using a crowbar or screwdriver
These behaviors are just a few recommended areas to look out for. Trust your instincts. If it doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t.
Never approach someone you suspect may be about to commit a crime. If there is an immediate threat, contact 911. If you are unsure if there is a threat, contact the airport administrator. They should be able to tell you if the activity you're seeing is legitimate. If it is not, call the TSA GA hotline at (866) GA-SECUR (1.866.427.3287). Developed in partnership with the National Response Center, the GA hotline operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This hotline serves as a centralized system for general aviation pilots, airport operators, and maintenance technicians who wish to report suspicious activity.
By working together, we can help mitigate security risks by limiting the opportunities for unauthorized access to our airports and hangars, making our home airports a safe and attractive option for us all.
Blue Skies and Safe Hangars!
For some of you, winter means basking in the sunshine and warm temperatures of your tropical hometown while others aren’t so lucky. Winter is making its full force felt through its four elements of cold, ice, snow, and wind. If you’re anything like us, these elements can freeze your winter flying in every sense, particularly when it comes to your aircraft.
Waiting for the first signs of spring to arrive before you return to the skies means you’re missing out on one of the best times to fly. Luckily for you, we can’t bear the thought of you missing this winter wonder, so we’ve compiled three tips to scramble you back into the air!
- Me, Myself and I. Although preparing for off-airport landings may seem evident, it is often missed, and we always have to consider the possibility and be prepared. In the brutal days of winter, this type of landing could result in a legitimate survival situation. Dress very warmly; you can always take off layers when you get into the aircraft. Wear boots and heavy waterproof gloves. Wear a warm hat or ear muffs and a scarf. Also, be prepared to bring survival gear like food and water, a fire starter of some kind, and a multi-tool like a Swiss army knife. When flying in dangerous locations, having a satellite SOS messenger device such as a spot will help increase your chances of contacting first responders.
- Slow Down, Speed Racer. Although it is uncomfortably cold and you are doing everything to get that engine started, It is essential that you take more time for your pre-flight prep during the winter hurried preflight than in the relaxed summer cadence. The plane’s oil is extremely important in low temperatures. Check your aircraft manual for the proper weight of oil to be used in low temperature ranges, and remember that tires may lose pressure when the temperature drops. A good rule of thumb is to pull out the checklist and follow it.
- A Heated Hangar Is a Happy Hangar. Lucky enough to have a heated hangar? Don’t go to the inconvenience or expense of having someone turn on the heat. Remotely turn it on with HangarBot’s Thermostat. From the comfort of your home, remotely turn it on with the HangarBot Thermostat. Get confirmation that the heat is rising and the heating unit is functioning.
- Proactive Awareness A heated hangar can be used to melt off any frozen contaminants. Beware, however, of pulling your warm aircraft into snow or other precipitation at below-freezing temperatures. The precipitation will melt and may refreeze before you can takeoff, especially on a fully fueled, warm wing. Also be aware that pulling a clean, dry aircraft from an unheated hangar into very dry, very cold (< –10C), snowy conditions may not require any de- or anti-icing action. Dry, cold snow will not stick to a dry, clean aircraft. Verify by touch that the snow is not adhering.
- Fuel for Thought. After your amazing winter flight and after the fuel tank has settled, take a fuel sample to identify if there is any water in the fuel system. The same action will help prevent the sump drains from freezing before your next preflight.
- Out in the Cold. If your aircraft is going to be outside, it may be tempting to quickly head to a warm car or home as soon as possible. However, be sure to put on engine covers and pilot covers. Also, do not forget to tie down your aircraft because the winter wind could be very gusty.
Winter can provide some of the most enjoyable and scenic flying you will ever experience, but it presents challenges as well. Fighting the urge to cut corners and instead take the proper steps will increase your chances of having a safe mission.
Technology Displayed At EAA Airventure Brings The Concept Of Home Automation To Hangars
You've probably heard of smart homes ... where things can be monitored and controlled remotely through a smartphone or tablet. This week Lynk Remote Technologies is displaying its "HangarBot" solution at EAA Airventure, which brings the same concept to your hangar. This new technology provides users the ability to control, automate, and secure general aviation hangars from anywhere in the world with network connectivity, anytime.
Consisting of two main components, an easy-to-install HangarBot hub and a HangarBot mobile app, this unparalleled technology is distinctly designed for general aviation and developed with convenience and ease of use in mind.
The HangarBot hub is a wall-mounted module that offers cellular network connectivity and is packed with sensors to monitor and control hangar temperature, video surveillance and connected devices. The hub speaks directly to the HangarBot app to control, automate and secure a hangar with the simple touch of a button. Using the easy-to-navigate app, users can execute instant actions like opening the hangar door, or schedule actions ahead of time such as, turning on the heat every weekday morning. HangarBot’s automation and custom scheduled action settings can save both time and money.
The HangarBot solution is specifically designed to work in remote locations and comes with three cost efficient cellular data plan options. The three data allowance packages offer users the flexibility and option to use HangarBot as a Wi-Fi hotspot. “We wanted to offer a practical solution with low monthly data service costs. So, we created a unique system from the ground up that minimizes message size between the server and HangarBot, and by processing the routine tasks directly on Hangarbot” says HangarBot’s inventor and President of Lynk Remote Technologies, Inc., Morgan Walker. Once a HangarBot user is registered with an account, the lowest level data plan is activated, and users can log into their account on hangarbot.com and adjust or cancel the monthly data plan at any time.
“After two years in development, we are excited to lead the aviation industry into a more modern, convenient and connected era with the debut of HangarBot at EAA Airventure. Now, owners can protect and manage the environment around the aircraft easily and with confidence - anywhere in the world.” says Walker.
(Source: Lynk Remote Technologies news release)