I ran across Private aircraft flight plans won’t be disclosed after all, says FAA, which reads in part:
The owners and operators of private aircraft won a reprieve on December 16 when the Federal Aviation Administration announced that it will continue to allow those owners and operators to keep confidential their plane’s tail numbers and flight plans, rather than have that sensitive information automatically disclosed as part of two nationwide public aviation information dissemination systems.
The FAA said it acted after Congress passed H.R. 2112, the bill that appropriates funds for the U.S. Department of Transportation for the balance of FY2012, which includes language that specifically bars the FAA from implementing any limitation on aircraft owners’ rights to have their aircraft data blocked.
I am really curious what is “sensitive” about plane tail numbers and flight plans? Unless “sensitive” includes taking junkets at the company’s expense, perhaps without their spouses, etc.
There is an alternative to having the FAA keep track, at least of the tail numbers. It would not be that hard to organize an Airport Watch along the lines of Neighborhood Watch. Just solicit volunteers with binoculars and digital images of the most common plane types, along with a web interface for entry of sightings of planes at their local airport with the time. If they want to take long range photos of anyone getting off the plane they can upload those as well.
The distance a particular plane can fly would set an outer limit on its first sighting. Uploading those to a web interface would give anyone, boss, spouse, etc., easy access to that information. And citizen watchdog groups, news media, etc.
Could support it with advertising and the occasional sale of data to the FAA when they have a CFIT (controlled flight into terrain).