Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association President Phil Boyer has been honored with an Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine "Aerospace Laurel" citation for his "relentless defense of general aviation after the September 11 attacks," the magazine said.
The 45th annual Aerospace Laurels honor "individuals and teams who made significant contributions to the global field of aerospace during 2001" and appear in the February 4 edition of the magazine.
"While I am humbled by this recognition, the honor rightfully should go to the extraordinary team backing me at AOPA," Boyer said.
Magazine editors said Boyer's "relentless testimony before congressional committees informed lawmakers of the value of general aviation to the U.S. economy and helped keep them from overreacting to the perceived 'threat' of small aircraft to the U.S. airspace system."
The citation is in the "Operations" category of Laurels.
Boyer also went to Capitol Hill to support the General Aviation Small Business Relief Act of 2001 to help fixed-base operators and others who rely upon airport operations for their income, which dried up when airfields were closed.
Immediately after the attack, he placed an AOPA air traffic control representative in FAA headquarters and launched a media campaign to make sure the voice of GA was heard throughout the crisis.
AOPA Online became an around-the-clock news operation to inform not only the membership, but also the mass media about the latest developments affecting GA. And AOPA's ePilot Alerts describing the latest emergency regulations were sent directly to pilots via the Internet.
Boyer received an Aviation Week Laurel in 1997 for "his ceaseless vigilance and untiring efforts to ensure that the rights of U.S. general aviation are not trampled at the state or federal level" during 1996.
In 2000, Laurels went to a quartet of AOPA officials for their efforts after the John F. Kennedy, Jr., tragedy in July 1999: Boyer, Air Safety Foundation Executive Director Bruce Landsberg, then-Senior Vice President of Communications Drew Steketee, and Vice President of Communications Warren Morningstar. They were feted for "explanations of the basics of flying and...frank discussions of the vagaries of VFR flight at night [that] helped squelch inaccurate, sensational reporting about the crash and the safety of general aviation."
The 380,000-member Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association is the world's largest civil aviation organization. Almost two thirds of the 635,000 pilots in the United States are AOPA members, and they own or fly most of the 220,000 non-military and non-airline aircraft in the United States.