September 19, 2004
On Saturday, Missouri Representative Sam Graves (R-6th District) held an important press conference on the subject of homeland security. With New York Governor George Pataki and AOPA President Phil Boyer at his side, Graves reinforced the need for enhanced community efforts to safeguard against terrorism.
Aviation was certainly front and center with Rep. Graves holding the event at the Kansas City Downtown airport, directly in front of the Lifeflight Eagle Air Ambulance chopper. Governor Pataki, widely lauded - along with Mayor Rudy Guilani - for his handling of the response to the New York City 9-11 attacks, underscored the need to keep terrorism in check at the local level.
This provided a perfect opportunity for AOPA's Boyer to reinforce this message by noting the importance of - and, as dramatically demonstrated in the recent ill-conceived escapades by a news team's attempt to charter a helicopter in St. Louis - the effectiveness of the principles behind the association's Airport Watch program. "That the TSA does not see GA airports and aircraft as a threat," said Boyer, "only serves as a reminder that we never let our guard down. It's not a coincidence that a GA aircraft has never been used in an act of terror. It takes work - every day."
Boyer ended up his western swing - with Pilot Town Meetings in Colorado and Arizona - speaking tonight to the International Comanche Society's annual convention. Pilots from all over the United States, Europe, Australia, and South America flew in to the downtown Kansas City airport. The society has over 3,000 members who take pride in maintaining their Piper Comanche Airplanes.
The AOPA Win-A-Twin Sweepstakes plane, a completely renovated 1965 Twin Comanche, flew in for the occasion as well - and even flew Rep. Graves home to his farm after the press conference. As the song says, clearly, everything's up to date in Kansas City!
September 19, 2004
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