General aviation like Southwest Airlines?

July 14, 2011

What is general aviation? The Mooney Ambassadors took that question on the road, taping man-on-the-street interviews with the public. The responses are surprising.

“Like Southwest Airlines,” one man responded, while another explained the term as “everybody who flies all the big airplanes.”

One defined GA as “homegrown pilots,” but perhaps the winning definition—for creativity, not accuracy—was a man who replied, “Like a general in the army, a general that flies.”

Even more surprising: Many of these responses came from folks milling around aircraft displays at airport events.

The Mooney Ambassadors are on a quest to “articulate, educate, and promote” GA. As pilots know, and as AOPA also is touting through its GA Serves America campaign, GA encompasses a wide range aviation transportation. GA supports emergency services, agriculture, business, media, personal travel, education, and more. It generates more than $150 billion in economic activity and supports almost 1.3 million jobs.

The key is spreading the word to the public—so they don’t think “general aviation” refers to a general in the military who flies. AOPA offers resources to help pilots rally GA, from connecting with others or speaking at events to taking people up for their first flight. Together, GA pilots can make a difference and educate the nonflying public--it’s one way to protect the freedom of flight.