Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Seriously misinformed

Safer skies? Not this way - Yahoo! News

Whoever wrote the article, "Safer Skies? Not This Way," seems to be seriously misinformed about general aviation.

Light aircraft and private pilots are simply not a threat to national security. The aircraft that triggered the Washington, D.C. alert recently was a Cessna 152. A fully loaded Cessna 152 weighs less than an empty Cooper Mini- seven hundred pounds less, in fact. A fully-loaded Beech Baron, a six-seat twin-engine aircraft flown by many small business owners, weighs 300 pounds less than a Lincoln Navigator. Small aircraft simply cannot carry enough payload to do significant damage to a building.

The article describes private pilots as "well-connected." While some private pilots are indeed well-connected (John Kerry, John Travolta, and Harrison Ford come to mind), the vast majority of private pilots and aircraft owners are of far more modest means. Many own small businesses and use general aviation to serve their customers more efficiently. A great many are middle-class aviation enthusiasts such as myself who make financial sacrifices in order to afford their increasingly-expensive passion for flight.

Finally, the article makes no mention of the significant contributions to airport safety made by the Aircraft Owners and Pilot's Association in coordination with the FAA, Department of Homeland Security, and Transportation Safety Agency. AOPA has been working with these agencies since 9/11 to work out reasonable and effective security measures. For example, the highly-successful "Airport Watch" program was developed in coordination with the FAA, TSA, and DHS, and encourages pilots to report suspicious activity at their home fields.

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