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Corporate aircraft security takes off.

CORPORATE AIRCRAFT, LIKE any valuable property, may be the target of bandits. Many individuals involved in illegal drug smuggling or other criminal activities steal aircraft either for their own use or to sell to others for illegal use.

The security of corporate aircraft starts where the aircraft is stored--whether at the company facility or at a commercial airport, also called a fixed-base operation (FBO). When planning security at a corporate facility or when selecting an FBO, security managers must ensure that hangar space is available and well lit.

Personnel at the facility should know who is authorized to operate the plane, and they should be able to contact company personnel at any time, day or night. The airplane's door and ignition keys should be kept by the corporation or its authorized pilot. No key should be kept at the FBO. If the FBO requires that the company leave a key, procedures should ensure that it is secured and will not be given to unauthorized persons.

If the company plane is to be taken when personnel are not on duty, someone at the facility or FBO should be notified. Doors leading into the hangar that stores the aircraft must be secured with high-security locks.

If a corporate hangar is used, intrusion detection systems should be incorporated as part of the total loss prevention effort. When aircraft are tied down or housed in hangars without doors, the plane's ignition key should be removed and the doors locked. Security throttles or prop locks should also be used.

To prevent thieves from determining the types of avionics and equipment installed in the aircraft, an interior heat shield should be used. If the plane is stored secured with cables outside of a hanger, an exterior cover over the window areas is recommended to prevent damage.

Security managers should verify that the aircraft insurance policy is current and provides the necessary coverage for theft or vandalism. Companies should also keep a current color photograph of the plane showing both its exterior and interior areas. Valuable aircraft logbooks or records should be stored away from the plane to avoid loss through theft or vandalism.

Drug traffickers and thieves will continue to target corporate aircraft. By following these basic guidelines, security managers may reduce the chances of theft or damage to their company's fleet, whether kept at a proprietary facility or in a commercial airport.

Daniel J. Benny, CPP, is a private investigator and security consultant in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He is a member of ASIS.
COPYRIGHT 1993 American Society for Industrial Security
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Benny, Daniel J.
Publication:Security Management
Date:Oct 1, 1993
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