Wed, Jul 06, 2005
AOPA Warns Pilots Against Fanning Flames Of Public Opinion
It doesn't take much to ignite
public fears about terrorism these days, and all too often those
fears seem to center around general aviation. So when two small
airplanes were stolen and taken for joyrides in recent weeks, it
garnered a lot of negative attention from the general media, the
public, and the politicians. That's why AOPA is urging all pilots
to be more vigilant than ever about security -- especially
when it comes to the airplanes they fly.
In special letters sent this week to flight instructors and
FBOs, AOPA President Phil Boyer reminded them just how important it
is to secure every airplane, all the time.
"What's hurting us doesn't have to happen. And you are an
important key in stopping the threat to GA," he wrote.
That threat comes, in part, in the
form of additional regulation that could make it more difficult and
more expensive to fly. In response to recent events, several
members of Congress have already asked if more security is needed,
and they are calling for an investigation into the possibility of
general aviation aircraft being used for criminal or terrorist
acts. At least one state, Connecticut, has ordered a
"security audit" of all GA airports, and other states are
considering similar actions.
"We know from recent surveys that virtually all AOPA members
secure their aircraft," said AOPA President Phil Boyer.
"Unfortunately, that's not good enough. We need every pilot —
renters and owners alike — to secure their airplanes.
Politicians and the public already fear GA — largely because
they don't understand it — and we just can't afford to give
them any more reasons to impose security restrictions on us."
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