Letters to the Editor
RE: Small-plane threat
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association is concerned about safety and committed to the secure and safe operation of small aircraft. But you can't predict a suicide. No amount of security would have prevented that young person from taking his own life. A teenager committing violent acts, whether against themselves or others, is an issue that reaches far beyond aviation in this country.
In the months since September 11, no group has been under more scrutiny than general aviation. Since the grounding of all flying that tragic day, the government—from the FAA, Department of Defense, to the National Security Agency—reviewed all flying in this country and slowly, and in a measured way, restored nearly all of it. They recognized the vast contribution made by general aviation to our nation and its economy.
However, established more than 20 years ago, what still remains over Tampa and 29 other cities are layers of protective airspace. While conceived to prevent midair collisions, this "Class B" airspace requires that no aircraft can operate over the major cities without the surveillance and control of FAA air traffic.
Since 9/11, AOPA and others in general aviation developed an action plan for enhancing aviation security. The plan parallels many of the flight school security recommendations issued by the Department of Transportation January 9. These recommendations enhance general aviation security without unreasonable restrictions.
Considering all the security threats the nation faces, the U.S. government, along with AOPA and others in the general aviation community, are taking responsible action proportional to the risk.
Senior Vice President, Communications
Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
January 10, 2002