Aviation trade groups say they will mount a legal challenge to try to stop a Department of Transportation plan that would prevent private citizens from opting out of publicly-available flight tracking applications.
Today, operators of private aircraft can choose to block their flights from flight tracking under the Federal Aviation Administration’s aircraft identification blocking program.
Last week, the DOT decided to dismantle the Block Aircraft Registration Request program.
The National Business Aviation Association, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and the Experimental Aircraft Association will seek an injunction from preventing the DOT’s decision from taking effect and ask the court to invalidate the new policy, the groups said.
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“The agency appears to have simply ignored the thousands of individuals and companies that voiced their strong and principled opposition to this change,” NBAA president and CEO Ed Bolen said in a statement. This is an alarming development, with implications that extend well beyond private aviation.”
A U.S. citizen operating a private aircraft should not have to worry about government disclosure to the general public using real-time data about the aircraft’s location in flight and its itinerary, AOPA president and CEO Craig Fuller said in a statement.
They should be able to prevent being tracked by cyber-stalkers, terrorists, criminals, paparazzi, business competitors and others whose motives are unknown, Fuller said.
Air traffic and law enforcement have always had ready access to general aviation flight information.
“We don’t want to change that,” Fuller said.