Local aviation community reacts to small plane terrorist warning

Local aviation community reacts to small plane terrorist warning

Posted: Sep 04, 2011 10:35 PM Updated: Sep 04, 2011 10:35 PM

By Courtney Carlmark

MARANA, AZ (KOLD) – Just one week away from the tenth anniversary of September 11th and the FBI and Homeland Security are warning about terrorist threats, potentially involving small airplanes.

The Town of Marana Public Information Officer Ron Campbell says security at the Marana Airport has been enhanced since September 11th.
A fence was built around the airport several years ago and pilots now use a key pad system to access their planes and hangars by vehicle.
Those measures make Marana Pilot Ron Anders confident in the airport’s security.

“There may be other airports where it’s not as good, but here, I know it’s excellent,” says Anders.
Anders has been flying in and out of the Marana Airport for the past 30 years.
He thinks even if a small plane was hijacked, it wouldn’t be that big of a threat.
“A light airplane simply cannot carry enough weight to do enough damage.”

Campbell says Tucson Aero Service runs the daily operations at the Marana Airport, overseeing about 110,000 landings and take-offs every year.
He says those folks would stop a terrorist from getting anywhere near a plane.
“They know the people who are supposed to be here and the people who aren’t. They know these pilots, they see them all the time,” says Campbell.

He thinks if a terrorist ever did make it onto the tarmac, the local pilots would also notice.
“The pilots really do keep an eye out for each other, they all watch each other’s planes. It’s a very close knit group out here.”
But not everyone’s convinced.
David Mayorquin travels a lot for his job.

He thinks as long at the United States has enemies, there’s a threat and that smaller airports could make it a lot easier for a terrorist.
“Due to a little lighter security at the regional airports, it can cause a need of concern that we might not have the right amount of TSA security,” says Mayorquin.

FBI and Homeland Security authorities say there’s no credible or specific information about a plot, but that Al-Qaeda has been considering ways to attack the aviation sector.

Copyright 2011 KOLD.

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