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This question already has an answer here:

On commercial flights there are some "typical" security checks - metal detectors, luggage X-rays, etc. - are there similar security checks if you're flying in your own private plane?

Are there different or additional security checks when flying into other countries (such as a trip from Canada to the United States)?

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marked as duplicate by voretaq7 Feb 18 '15 at 3:45

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • $\begingroup$ I've adjusted the wording and (re)closed this as a duplicate of "How does security & baggage checking work in regards to a private jet?" - If that doesn't address your question please edit it a bit more to make the distinction clear and I'll reopen it. $\endgroup$ – voretaq7 Feb 18 '15 at 3:47
  • $\begingroup$ There are special security considerations flying into DCA (among other things, background checks for crew members, a passenger manifest approved by TSA, screening by TSA at the last stop before DCA, and a TSA-approved armed security officer on board). Not sure if anywhere else is like that (I'd assume they'd mostly just say "no GA" if they were going to put similar rules). $\endgroup$ – cpast Feb 18 '15 at 4:13
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No, at least not at the Class C and D airports I have been to. There is just a locked gate with an attendant who makes sure you are either flight crew or are boarding a flight. This is to prevent the possibility of a random person walking around on the ramp.

The PIC of the aircraft, of course, may question you ("your hunting rifle is unloaded, right?") or may search your bags or body cavities or whatever he wants to do before he will let you get on. It depends on the situation. For a charter flight normally they will just verbally talk to you to make sure you aren't unknowingly bringing anything dangerous aboard.

When you fly into a country from a different country, everybody has to go through customs. So, what happens is that you all wait around in the lobby of the GA terminal while some dude from the airport examines your customs forms and goes through your luggage. Sometimes they will search the whole plane too if they want to be dicks. In smaller airports, like in a Caribbean island, you will be routed through the same customs lines that commercial passengers use.

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  • $\begingroup$ The question asks about "your own plane," implying the asker is probably PIC, so the references to the PIC doing searches seem extraneous. $\endgroup$ – raptortech97 Feb 17 '15 at 23:10
  • $\begingroup$ @raptortech97 Good point. $\endgroup$ – Tyler Durden Feb 17 '15 at 23:28
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    $\begingroup$ You also need to remember that for a small plane, the "airport" might be a dirt/grass strip in the Idaho mountains, or a stretch of dry lake bed... $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Feb 18 '15 at 19:03
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    $\begingroup$ @jamesqf +1 for recognizing that Idaho is a state. You'd be amazed... $\endgroup$ – FreeMan Feb 19 '15 at 17:54
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    $\begingroup$ @raptortech97 On every flight that I do (for work), I am the PIC and am flying the owner of the plane. Just because you own one, doesn't mean that you can fly it or be the PIC. ;-) $\endgroup$ – Lnafziger Sep 1 '16 at 6:22
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Depends on the pilot. If I know one of my passengers well, I'm not security checking them, other than a reminder about dangerous goods.

If I don't know one of my passengers, then I'm doing a verbal confirmation that they don't have anything on board that I don't want on board, and if they're at all shifty, I'm checking more thoroughly.

I don't own an x-ray machine.

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  • $\begingroup$ Hows the process of departing from a larger airport? I dont have a license just wondering about this. Is it similar to having youre own car? $\endgroup$ – AustinB Feb 17 '15 at 23:46
  • $\begingroup$ At larger airports, general aviation aircraft generally use their own, smaller terminal, which let people basically walk through to the airplane with the pilot. $\endgroup$ – i like big planes Feb 18 '15 at 0:48
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I worked at a general aviation airport in Canada for 10 years. Security consisted of 3 strands of barbed wire and a padlock on the gate. Security checks before boarding anyone consisted of whatever you wanted to do, including nothing.

Flying to the States simply required that the first landing be at any airport with Customs and Immigration.

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