Scores of AOPA members have joined AOPA President Phil Boyer in condemning a new "house ad" running in Time magazine and at least one sister publication, Southern Living. The ad, showing two light general aviation aircraft tied down within sight of nuclear power plant cooling towers and carrying the caption, "Remember when only environmentalists would have been alarmed by this photo?" began running in late December.
"We thought it was important for executives at Time, Inc., to hear from more than just the president of AOPA," said Boyer. "They needed to understand that they'd touched a raw nerve for the hundreds of thousands of pilots in the United States. We're gratified by the number of pilots who took our suggestion and contacted Time on their own."
Pilots from many walks of life responded: engineers from a variety of disciplines, including nuclear; military personnel, both active duty and retired; members of the Civil Air Patrol; volunteers for Angel Flight and similar organizations; and small business owners.
In one message, AOPA member Tommy Tucker told Time's president and publisher, "Consider how dependent the corporate community, the entertainment industry, travel and tourism is on the general aviation aircraft and its pilots. If you fly over the Grand Canyon, or over New York City, if you need an organ flown to a hospital or other medical supplies it is in a general aviation aircraft. If your child needs a life flight to a children's hospital it is in a general aviation aircraft. If you are burned and need emergency transportation to a burn center it is in a general aviation aircraft."
Ed Kmetz of Pennsylvania echoed that sentiment. "General aviation does incalculable good for this country, and much of its work is done in the background—MediVac, Angel Flight, organ donation delivery, to name just a few, and in just the medical field."
And Craig Beck of California suggested that Time be as thorough as pilots. "Pilots are required by Federal Aviation Regulations to obtain all information relevant to a flight before takeoff. Time should take upon themselves equal care in doing the same with this inflammatory type of advertising."
Boyer's letter to the editor of Time said that AOPA welcomes a discussion of aviation security, but that the association's 389,000 members wished that the magazine would begin the discussion responsibly. The number and tone of the individual responses only proves that point.