Security and confidentiality have long been key benefits of corporate aviation. By blocking aircraft identification or “N numbers,” private operators in the States could reduce risks large (think kidnapping and sabotage) and small (eluding fans and journalists). That may be changing.

A recent FAA notice of proposed modification (NPM) would greatly limit the times private aircraft operators can exclude their aircraft data from appearing in public data-feeds. (You can read the full proposal here.) In a nutshell, it would provide an exemption only if an operator makes a strong case supporting verifiable, valid security concerns for the aircraft or its passengers. Not everyone at risk of bodily harm, death threats or terrorist activity can prove such risks. General concerns? Gut instinct? Simply not enough.

And, of course, that in no way addresses business motivations for keeping competitors in the dark about top-tier executives’ movements. Scouting new properties for acquisition/expansion. Meeting with potential new partners.

Leaving Well Enough Alone

Our general aviation industry has been hard hit in recent years. This NPM would be another blow. We need to balance the need for information with the need for security. The program as it stands achieves this balance. This is a change that doesn’t need to be made.

A FAA reauthorization package in the House of Representatives preserves the Block Aircraft Registration Request (BARR) program as it currently functions. The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) and other major groups have expressed their BARR-curtailment concerns to Washington. It’s not too late to make your voice heard.

Encourage Congress to support House language preserving the BARR program. Simply click here.