Published May 1, 2002 | May 2002 issue
Since technology and security go hand in hand, it's no surprise the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is looking at the University of North Dakota flight school in Grand Forks for the latest in air security. The UND School of Aerospace Sciences is the site for a prototype biometric fingerprint scanning system that controls access to its fleet of 118 airplanes. The school, one of the largest in the country, teaches 1,200 students, and together with instructors they log 85,000 air hours per year.
The FAA sees UND's security program as a potential model for other flight schools. Biometrics is the use of a scanned fingerprint, eye or facial pattern in place of an ID card or password to gain access to a secured area. The technology could also be used to control access to baggage, maintenance, fueling and other airport areas secured by ID cards. Eventually, biometric scanning could control passenger access to airplanes.