At most a plane like this could carry a few hundred pounds of explosive. Potentially deadly, but not spectacular. Aviation Consultant Kent Scott doesn't believe small planes pose a big threat. "I think the terrorists are looking or something that will make a big splash, something that will make the front page of every newspaper in the world something like the World Trade Center, well you can't do that in a single engine Cessna."
But they can do damage. In February of last year a Texas man flew his own single engine plane into an IRS office building. The pilot and one person in the building were killed, the building caught fire. But those who rent planes at small airports believe it's unlikely a disgruntled person or terrorist could rent a plane because of the precautions taken since 9/11.
Brian Riffel of Membley Aviation explained; "Well they've got to come in give us their passport, birth certificate go through a bunch of stuff, photo ID pilots license, medical certificate, after we have those things we typically let them out to the plane with an instructor an hour or two of a check out to make sure they are competent to fly the airplane."
And land it. Since 9/11, anyone who is not a US citizen must be interviewed by Federal agents before they can rent a plane. Flight instructors are also briefed by the TSA on what to look for and Scott says the flying community is vigilant. "At the private pilot side of things meaning the smaller airplanes even with professional pilots flying them there is a great deal of what I call profiling in effect over there, I mean the guy that owns the airplane isn't going to let somebody on that he doesn't know."
The government is not saying there is an credible threat that small planes will be used in a terrorist attack, but they believe Al Qaida is still fascinated with aerial attacks and everyone to be on the alert, especially at small airports.