AOPA responded rapidly with letters to the editors of major U.S. newspapers this week to counter negative views, many of which call for stringent security measures regardless of the consequences to general aviation. Letters were sent to papers including USA Today, The Boston Globe, L.A. Times, and others.
"AOPA has made it clear that our members and general aviation are concerned about safety and committed to the secure and safe operation of our aircraft," said Keith Mordoff, AOPA's senior vice president of communications. "Since Sept. 11 we developed an action plan for enhancing security with safety recommendations that are reasonable and proportional to the risk. It's clear the FAA agreed by adopting many of them Jan. 9 in their security recommendations issued to flight schools."
In media interviews this week, AOPA President Phil Boyer and the communications team also made the point that a teenager committing violent acts is a national issue that reaches well beyond aviation in this country.
"This was a troubled young person intent on suicide," Mordoff said. " No amount of security can predict or prevent such an act. As I've said to many reporters this week, it would be another tragedy to restrict our interested youth from pursuing flying, an endeavor that stimulates their interest in science, math, and physics, or crush their interest in becoming tomorrow's airline and military pilots."