While Time magazine's advertising department was taking a swipe at general aviation, its news department wrote about how busy executives are turning to GA to avoid airline delays and traffic jams.
The article, which appeared in a special edition of Time distributed to 2.7 million high-income and high-profile individuals, is in fact quite complimentary about the benefits of general aviation.
" Time seems to want it both ways," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "On the one hand, the magazine implies to its broad general audience that general aviation is a threat to nuclear power plants, while on the other, it tells a select few that GA is a boon to businesspeople. We GA pilots appreciate the kind words in the article but could do without the character assassination in the ad."
By sending the article on learning to fly only to certain high-income subscribers, Time is also perpetuating the misconception that flying is a rich person's hobby.
"Learning to fly is not inexpensive," said Boyer. "But unlike an MBA degree for which you'd pay the tuition up front, flight training is most often a pay-as-you-go deal, spreading the cost out over time." In addition, there are several loan programs, such as AOPA's Flight Training Funds, available to help student pilots earn their certificates.
"Besides the sheer exhilaration of flying, general aviation can be an extremely valuable business tool, as the Time article points out," Boyer concluded. "But the mixed messages of the article and the ad only serve to confuse the non-flying public, which already misunderstands much about general aviation."