Shuster should release aviation safety bill

In 2013, HB 1775, also known as the Saracini Aviation Safety Act of 2013, was introduced into the House of Representatives and sent to committee.

As chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Rep. Bill Shuster controls what gets put on his committee agenda and what is allowed to die in committee. To this date, despite support from the Airline Pilots Association, Allied Pilots Association, Association of Flight Attendants, Federal Flight Deck Officers Association, and Federal Law Enforcement Association, Rep. Shuster has refused to release the bill for a vote in the House.

HB 1775, calls for a secondary barrier to the fortified cockpit in commercial airliners, so that when the pilots take necessary breaks, it would be impossible for terrorists to breach the cockpit during the short time the cockpit door is open.

These secondary barriers would cost the airlines about $3,000 each to install. This is a drop in the bucket compared to the measures for airport security since 9/11, all done at taxpayer expense.

Operational use has confirmed the need for this secondary barrier. When a pilot must open the locked cockpit door for breaks, the only barrier standing between him and the open door is a lone airline attendant. It would take seconds for a terrorist or deranged passenger to rush the door and lock himself inside.

Once locked, the cockpit door can only be opened from inside.

As a serious concern to our national security, this bill should be supported by all Americans. On a personal level, as the mother of two daughters whose business involves a great deal of air travel, Rep. Shuster’s refusal to move this bill to a vote causes me to wonder what the reason could be.

If we have another disaster involving a plane hijacked because a secondary barrier was not in place, it would be a terrible legacy for the Congressman we elected, one I’m sure he would not want.

Please contact Rep. Shuster’s office and respectfully urge him to listen to his constituents and release HB 1775 for a vote in Congress.

Nancy Gardner