March 30, 2009
By Elizabeth A Tennyson
During a keynote speech at the annual Washington, D.C., conference of the National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO) on March 30, AOPA President Craig Fuller talked about the mounting threats to general aviation and how AOPA is fighting back through the GA Serves America campaign.
“Lately I find myself thinking that general aviation must look like an easy target, because everyone seems to be targeting us,” Fuller told the audience of approximately 75 state aviation directors and others from throughout the nation. “But we wouldn’t be such an easy target if lawmakers, decision makers, opinion leaders, and the public understood just how much general aviation does to serve every American, whether they fly or not.”
He stressed the importance of continued cooperation between AOPA and state officials in responding to threats that include user fees, onerous security regulations, and negative public opinion.
That struck a chord with NASAO members, many of whom asked what they can do to help with the GA Serves America campaign. AOPA members have also been demonstrating their willingness to help, sending AOPA their stories about the value of general aviation. Those stories will form the basis of advertising and outreach efforts on Capitol Hill and in key states.
Fuller urged the group to continue to support general aviation and help grow the AOPA Airport Support Network in their states. The ASN program recently topped 2,000 volunteers located at airports all across the country. The volunteers act as AOPA’s eyes and ears when it comes to local issues, and they work closely with AOPA staff to prevent and resolve threats to their fields.
Director of Government Affairs and Executive Communications Elizabeth Tennyson joined AOPA in 1998, the same year she earned her private pilot certificate. She also holds an instrument rating and enjoys jumping out of planes almost as much as flying them.
AOPA expressed concern in a meeting with town officials from East Hampton, New York, that restrictions proposed to curb airport noise “overwhelmingly” generated by transient commercial flights would unfairly burden traditional airport users.
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