And taking things one step further, Illinois has passed a law making it a felony to impersonate a pilot at Illinois airports. According to a Daily Herald Article, under the law, attempting to impersonate a “pilot, airline or airport employee or contractor in restricted areas of airports is a felony punishable by one to three years in prison.” The new law also prohibits someone from “falsely claiming to be a pilot or other airport employee or contractor to get a uniform or other form of airport or airline identification”. A separate bill enhances the penalty for trespassing in an airport’s restricted areas from a misdemeanor to a felony. Both of these laws will take effect Jan. 1, 2006.
Apparently security organizations were concerned with the ease with which someone can purchase an airline uniform on the internet without supplying proof that the purchaser is actually an airline employee. However, since airline crews and employees still have to go through security checkpoints, I am not sure how just having the uniform helps someone when they still need a proper identification badge. But the Illinois legislature and their governor believe these bills will increase aviation safety and prevent terrorist attacks. I am not so sure. Seems to me that this legislation will add to aviation safety about as much as the destruction of Meigs Field: Not much. But the legislation is certainly consistent with many of the other oppressive laws in Illinois.