Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) is touting small airplanes as a catalyst for tragedy. In a letter to fellow senators, asking for support of his proposal to require background checks on all foreign applicants to U.S. flight schools, the senator made the claim that a "small plane directed into a nuclear power plant could cause a nuclear disaster," an argument that is disputed in an AOPA-commissioned report by a nuclear power expert. This report was submitted for the record during a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing held just last week.
"While AOPA does not oppose background checks on foreign students, I am dismayed by Sen. Nelson's perception of light aircraft, especially with such a vibrant general aviation community in Florida," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "It is not the U.S. pilot population that is the problem; it is a breakdown in the government's ability to identify and act against terrorists."