Some news on the national pilot ID....


Well-known member
Dec 19, 2001
Total Time
Universal ID Card 'In The Works' For U.S. Pilots, Possibly Passengers

By James Ott/

03-Jul-2002 11:01 AM U.S. EDT

An identification card that employs biometrics to identify individuals is gaining support among U.S. airlines and unions as a way to expedite and improve security screening especially for the cockpit.

A task force arranged by the Air Transport Association is preparing a "smart card" proposal to submit to the Transportation Security Administration. The proposal will outline a pilot program and is expected to be in final form in about a month.

A high-technology card, using such identifiers as an iris scan or thumbprint, is regarded widely as a critical tool that would add to the security of aircraft. The initial focus of the smart card will be on flight crews, airline and airport employees and possibly law enforcement officers. Eventually, the airlines want it extended to passengers.

The ATA task force is a direct outgrowth of a White House meeting last month that involved Tom Ridge, director of Homeland Security, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, and members of ATA's security committee. Representing the airlines were Herb Kelleher, chairman, Southwest Airlines, Richard Anderson, CEO, Northwest, and Bob Baker, recently retired vice chairman, American Airlines. Since that meeting Leo Mullin, president and CEO, Delta Air Lines, has joined in the effort.

At the White House meeting Ridge requested the airlines to "move forward with one voice in the development of a proposal," said Michael Wascom, the ATA's vice president, communications.

The smart card proposal was first voiced by seven airline and airport associations and the Air Line Pilots Association in a letter to Ridge and TSA Undersecretary John Magaw last March. "The absence of uniform, reliable, technologically enhanced identification media for use by employees at airports, transient crews and travelers, continues to unnecessarily complicate all of our shared efforts to further enhance aviation security," the letter started out.

In the same letter the association officials asked that the TSA approve of a task force to look into a smart card program. They compared the their efforts to the coordinated work in the banking industry that created the ATM card system.

The Homeland Security Office has supported the airlines in an identification card to cover everyone, according to Wascom. TSA and the Transportation Dept. have "not been as receptive to cards for passengers," he said.

TSA has been investigating smart card solutions for use by its own personnel, according to reports.

ALPA has had a smart card ID system on its agenda long before the Sept. 11 attacks as a means to protect cockpit integrity.

Steve Luckey, a Northwest Airlines pilot who chairs the ALPA security committee, said the enhanced ID cards would enhance the safety and security of the cockpit. A universal ID would give confidence to flight crews that the person claiming to be a law enforcement officer or a deadheading pilot is "who they say they are."

Use of the ID card could be the key to restoring reciprocal jump seat privileges among airlines, which both the airlines and the pilots regard as an urgent need. The government has denied jump seat riding to pilots and other individuals, except on an on-line basis, since Sept. 11. This means that only pilots or those associated with a particular airline may be approved to fly using a jump seat and on that airline only.

Jump seat limits 'discomforting'

The loss of reciprocal jump seat privileges has caused perhaps thousands of pilots to find alternate means to get to their main bases. Luckey said the restriction on jump seat flying has been especially discomforting for pilots who live in small towns and had depended on the reciprocal agreements to hitch a ride.

Expanded jump seat riding would provide a safety enhancement, Luckey said. Jump seat riders add another pair of eyes in the cockpit and an additional body to the two-man crews now commonplace in the industry.

ALPA's research indicates that a smart card system could be developed at a cost of $1.67 per passenger.

Both airlines and unions say the smart card would go a long way to strengthen security. Under current procedures, pilots, flight attendants, passengers and law enforcement personnel are "treated as the same security risk," said Wascom. "In truth, they are not the same security risk."

Wascom cited the example at Ted Stevens International Airport at Anchorage several weeks ago when Senator Stevens was flagged for additional checking by a screener who was following existing procedures. Stevens' senatorial ID did not have an expiration date and was declared invalid for that reason. The senator had to present another form of ID at the airport that was named after him.

The Association of Flight Attendants supports a universal ID card and underscores the need for a biometric component to add verification.

American Airlines has taken the lead in this issue. In a May letter, carrier officials called the current airport screening methods for flight crews "inconsistent, cumbersome and operationally taxing." American's VP of flight Robert Kudwa hosted a June 7 meeting in Fort Worth that attracted representatives of 11 carriers.

"One of the key reasons American Airlines strongly supports a universal identification card is its ability to guarantee the identity of the card bearer," said Kudwa. "We believe these cards would allow the restrictions currently imposed on jump seat privileges to be lifted."

In the May letter Kudwa and other American officials urged the Transportation Security Administration to revamp the current screening process by separating it from passenger screening. American has also asked the TSA to establish a national database to avoid a patchwork of local databases and for standardized identification protocols using biometrics or what they called Transportation Worker Identification Cards.


Skirts Will Rise
Jan 17, 2002
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Heres my question will every pilot have to get one (ie every weekend warrior) or just the airline pilots, because it could get pretty expensive if everyone has to have one.


Senior Member
Nov 26, 2001
Total Time
I know this is a nessissary evil, but doesnt' this sound frigtening to anyone? First pilots will get this card, then passengers, what's next, every American? Did you see the national ID card on the cover of the NRA magazine a few months back? Have you seen the movie "Minority Report?" Soon you won't be able to go anywhere without getting your eyes or card scanned, and being filmed while you are in public. George Orwell was right, just a few years off on the implimentation.


Well-known member
Jun 25, 2002
Total Time
Papers… your papers please.

We are the government, veeeeeeeee are heeeeeeerrrreeeeeeeee to help you.

Papers… your papers please.

Velcome to Amerika, resistance is futile.

The terrorist have won, our government believes we are the enemy, not some middle eastern male age 18 to 45 with ties to a radical, militant islamic group.