The federal government deems them too dangerous to walk onto a commercial plane, but a hole in the law still allows homegrown threats to man the controls.
A CBS 5 Investigation has learned that nothing is stopping U.S. citizens currently on the no-fly list from learning how to fly.
In the weeks following the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the federal government understandably moved to ban foreigners on the no-fly list from enrolling in any type of U.S. flight school.
Most of the terrorists who piloted the planes that horrible day learned how to fly at schools in the United States.
Hani Hanjour, the man believed to be at the controls of the plane that targeted the Pentagon, trained in Phoenix.
A loophole in U.S. Homeland Security still allows those who might have sinister intentions to pilot planes.
They are prevented from being a passenger on a plane or, at best, they must pass through several layers of security before they are ever allowed on board. But if they simply have a driver's license, the federal government allows them to grab the stick and learn how to fly the plane themselves.
Steve Raether has been a flight instructor for more than 20 years.
"In light of incidences like Oklahoma, the Oklahoma bombing, you would think, well, maybe we have some security risks right here at home that we need to be concerned with," Raether said.
Raether points out this risk is probably smaller because the planes students train on are smaller, but the knowledge gained can easily transfer to larger threats like private jets or cargo planes that are not as tightly controlled.
"The basic understanding about pointing an airplane in the right direction is fairly simple," Raether said.
"[The loophole] does need to be closed," Jim Tilmon said. "There's no doubt of that in my mind."
Tilmon is a former commercial pilot and security consultant.
The loophole took him by surprise.
"I think everybody that takes flying lessons should be vetted," Tilmon said. "I don't care who it is. It doesn't matter to me where they are from or what they look like, or male or female, or anything else."
The TSA seems to agree. A statement to CBS 5 News reads, in part:
"At the secretary's direction, TSA is giving consideration to amending these regulations and we will work with the FAA and the FBI to address these concerns."
The TSA did not release a timetable on when that change might happen.
Tilmon said while closing the loophole may seem like a simple matter, he said government agencies are too big to move with the speed this threat requires.
"I don't dream that any system is going to be perfect," Tilmon said. "For every loophole that's closed, we'll discover two more."
The TSA does collect certificates from all flight students and says it scrutinizes them for potential threats, but the students are allowed to undergo training while that vetting process takes place.
Copyright 2012 CBS 5 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
Friday, May 24 2013 4:13 AM EDT2013-05-24 08:13:07 GMT
The Richmond County Coroner's Office has confirmed a bicyclist has been struck and killed on Peach Orchard Road.Robert Donald Holden, Jr, of Hephzibah, was pronounced dead at the scene on the 3500 blockMore >>
The Richmond County Coroner's Office has confirmed a bicyclist has been struck and killed on Peach Orchard Road.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 12:16 AM EDT2013-05-24 04:16:12 GMT
Ryan David Jones/Source: RCSO
Friends and neighbors now say the Jones Family, Edna, Roosevelt, and Russell, are the victims of a suspected triple homicide in South Augusta.The Richmond County Sheriff's Office has been investigatingMore >>
The Richmond County Sheriff Office has charged Ryan David Jones with 3 counts of Murder and Possession of a Firearm during the Commission of a Crime.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 11:43 PM EDT2013-05-24 03:43:19 GMT
The Richmond County Sheriff's Office is investigating a shooting at the Cedar Grove Apartments.That's off of Deans Bridge Road.Residents in the area say that two people were shot and taken to the hospital.More >>
The Richmond County Sheriff's Office is investigating a shooting at the Cedar Grove Apartments.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 11:07 PM EDT2013-05-24 03:07:55 GMT
Praying and singing through their grief, dozens of people remembered the lives of Roosevelt, Edna and Russell Jones Thursday evening. "It hit me hard because this was like another family to me," saidMore >>
Praying and singing through their grief, dozens of people remembered the lives of Roosevelt, Edna and Russell Jones Thursday evening.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 10:53 PM EDT2013-05-24 02:53:59 GMT
An Aiken County man is in the hospital after being hit by a car in an alleged domestic dispute.The Aiken County Sheriff's Office received a call just after 7:30pm Thursday evening about a pedestrian beingMore >>
An Aiken County man is in the hospital after being hit by a car in an alleged domestic dispute.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 9:03 PM EDT2013-05-24 01:03:57 GMT
President Obama addressed the nation with the counter-terrorism policy which includes the controversial plan to shut down Guantanamo Bay. FOX54 has the exclusive interview with a former military defenseMore >>
President Obama addressed the nation with the counter-terrorism policy which includes the controversial plan to shut down Guantanamo Bay. FOX54 has the exclusive interview with a former military defense attorney who represented one of the GTMO prisoners. More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 4:38 PM EDT2013-05-23 20:38:55 GMT
For 12 years Denise Glasford's sister fought in the Army, but died last year on Memorial Day. "Thinking about her and wishing she was still here with us," Glasford said. "It's been a tough year for the family." GlasfordMore >>
Glasford and her niece and nephew are three of dozens of family members paying tribute to soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice. Here at Fort Gordon's Warrior Remembrance Memorial Day Ceremony, they're honoring those killed, and remembering those they left behind. Soldiers say the national holiday is much more than a day off from work to barbeque and celebrate.More >>
Thursday, May 23 2013 8:10 AM EDT2013-05-23 12:10:07 GMT
The images we're seeing in Oklahoma having a heavy impact on viewers around the country and here in the CSRA. Lindsay Findley says she was heartbroken when she found out about it. "It's just so sad toMore >>
Thirty disaster relief volunteers and vehicles have been sent to Oklahoma; three of them from the Palmetto region. And at any moment, volunteers with the Aiken chapter could be deployed.More >>
Wednesday, May 22 2013 11:34 PM EDT2013-05-23 03:34:56 GMT
Susan Swanson owns the Augusta Care Pregnancy Center on Broad Street. There is a two hour limited parking sign in front of her company but she says no one enforces it. The parking limit downtown has beenMore >>
Susan Swanson owns the Augusta Care Pregnancy Center on Broad Street. There is a two hour limited parking sign in front of her company but she says no one enforces it.More >>
Wednesday, May 22 2013 11:20 PM EDT2013-05-23 03:20:40 GMT
A vigil for the family members killed in a suspected triple homicide was held at the Augusta Deliverance Evangelical Church Wednesday night. The vigil for Roosevelt Jones, Edna Jones and their son Russell JonesMore >>
A vigil for the family members killed in a suspected triple homicide was held at the Augusta Deliverance Evangelical Church Wednesday night.More >>