Supervisors to consider restrictions on flight schools where foreigners are taught to fly

SAN DIEGO – The San Diego County Board of Supervisors next week will consider new restrictions on flight schools where foreigners are taught to fly.

If approved, the ordinance proposed by Supervisor Dianne Jacob on Sept. 11, 2012, would require flight schools and independent instructors using county-run airports, including Fallbrook Airpark, to certify that they’re following guidelines for screening and monitoring students.

Part of the idea is to increase contacts between county staffers and flight school operators. Violations of the ordinance could result in warnings, citations or schools being denied the use of airports.

The first of 9/11 hijackers to arrive in the United States — Khalid al- Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi — settled in San Diego in January 2000 and took flight lessons at Montgomery Field, and hijacker-pilot Hani Hanjour arrived in December of that year. Jacob proposed closer monitoring of flight schools based on a U.S. General Accounting Office report that concluded the federal government did not adequately monitor foreign flight students in this country.

The GAO report found that foreign nationals were applying for flight certificates with the Federal Aviation Administration without being properly vetted, and there was little coordination between the Transportation Security Administration and immigration officials.

A staff report says the proposed ordinance seeks to confirm that flight schools and instructors are following the law, in a way in which the county doesn’t undermine federal authority.

Advisory committees at three of the eight affected airfields — the Fallbrook Airpark, Gillespie Field in El Cajon, and McClellan-Palomar Airport — each voted unanimously against Jacob’s proposal at meetings in November.

In September 2012, when the proposal was introduced, there were 11 flight schools operating at county-run airports.

If passed next Wednesday, the item would return Feb. 26 for final approval.

5 Responses to "Supervisors to consider restrictions on flight schools where foreigners are taught to fly"

  1. MilitaryTVgirl   January 31, 2014 at 10:09 am

    Does it not bother anyone that the County Board of Supervisors voted AGAINST this when it was up for vote prior to this next vote? We all know that what it means is that we keep an eye out for just who is potentially going to fly a plane into something else and kill more people like September 11, 2001.

    At least Jacobs has this on the record that she made a SERIOUS effort to stop more terrorist attacks if this happens again, and the pilots were trained in San Diego County. That way, when Dateline NBC or CNN asks California why they didn’t learn from the last attack (where pilots were trained in California), at least she can say on the record, "I DID try. They voted no!"

  2. Rusty   February 1, 2014 at 10:55 am

    I’m not aware of much/any flight training taking place at Fallbrook Airpark. There’s no facility any more from which airplanes can be rented. Most training is likely happening between local owners and flight instructors for currency requirements. There are no active flight schools on property.

    If the requirement is done to the particular flight instructor, it just means that they need to follow a guideline to assure that the student is a sincere aviation devotee and not someone with disingenuous intentions.

    Montgomery field is a different animal. Much larger airport with a very active flight training community present and operating. Comparing Fallbrook to Montgomery is akin to comparing a SmartCar to a Semi-Truck. They’re a couple of orders of magnitude different in size in nearly every way.

  3. Joe Naiman   February 2, 2014 at 10:57 am

    In keeping with my policy of allowing opinions but providing factual clarification, here’s my article in the December 12 issue of the Village News regarding Fallbrook Community Airpark flight training and the terrorist pilots who tried to train in San Diego County:

  4. Well now...   February 2, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    … this speaks of discrimination…

    Just think. Timothy McVey was an American that blew up Oklahoma City. Wonder if we would have had laws vetting people buying fertilizer if it would have stopped that senseless act of terror. No one would have known an angry white American could have done such a thing.

    Now the County Supes want to stop foreign people ~ wonder how many folks would be turned away… Irish, Iranians, etc ~ from getting flying licences. Why? Just because of a few bad apples.

  5. Ray (the real one)   February 7, 2014 at 10:24 pm

    Complete waste of time supervisors. You restrict yet thousands pole vault across our borders daily. How about allowing our Sheriff to work with the Border Patrol.


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