November 11, 2009
January 15, 2004
Andrew Heyward President, CBS News 524 W 57th St. New York, NY 10019
Dear Mr. Heyward:
On behalf of more than 400,000 members of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), the world's largest aviation organization, I am writing you to express our utter shock and dismay regarding the story about general aviation that ran on your evening news on January 14, 2004. It is disgraceful that "the news organization of Edward R. Murrow" would produce - and aggressively promote in a tabloid headline form - a segment on the prestigious CBS Evening News that was so obviously slanted, incomplete, factually erroneous and salaciously inflammatory.
Your irresponsible reporting techniques included:
On the basis of the voluminous emails and calls we have received today I can confirm that your reporter, Bob Orr, has badly tarnished his reputation in the aviation community. Had he - or anyone - from CBS simply called we could have provided the information that the story was completely lacking. For example:
Since 9/11 we are all living in a world marked by a heightened state of fear. Many organizations and members like ours have worked hard to address opportunities to keep those events from being repeated. By planting deep seeds of fear that are totally without merit, your report did a major disservice not only to our members, but to the general public as well. We are outraged and you should be ashamed.
At AOPA we will continue to work on behalf of our members. We hope at CBS you will work half as hard to inform your viewers of the facts and leave sensational journalism in the grocery store racks where it belongs. In the interim, we stand ready to provide you with the facts that your report completely ignored.
Phil Boyer President
Advocacy and Legislation,
The General Aviation Pilot Protection Act would allow pilots to use the driver’s license medical standard for noncommercial VFR flights in aircraft weighing up to 6,000 pounds with no more than six seats, as long as they carry fewer than five passengers, fly below 14,000 feet msl, and fly no faster than 250 knots.
The Civil Aviation Medical Association is objecting to the FAA's proposed sleep apnea policy, warning that the evidence doesn't justify the approach.
Cessna reports "strong deliveries" of the new TTx since being awarded an FAA type certificate in June, and Brazil has followed suit.
AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.