Following a highly successful print advertising campaign to introduce the GA Serving America Web site, AOPA announced at AOPA Expo 2002 in Palm Springs, California, that it is taking the educational campaign to the next step: outreach.
GA Serving America is designed for opinion leaders and the general public and presents general aviation in laymen's terms. It describes what GA is, how it is used, and all the significant ways it touches Americans' lives. The site, developed by AOPA and funded by voluntary contributions from AOPA members and aviation enthusiasts, was rolled out in late September in a series of advertisements in major daily newspapers across the United States.
Now AOPA is taking a more direct approach to reach government leaders, movers, and shakers. A pamphlet that explains the GA Serving America site is being sent to governors, mayors, legislators, security officials, and others at the national, state, and local levels, who help shape public policy and opinion.
"There is still a great deal of misinformation and misunderstanding about general aviation," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "If we're ever going to rise above that, we've got to help those who make the laws and the public at large understand how vital a role GA plays in America."
The pamphlet gives a general overview of the information found on the site as well as a full, self-contained version of the Web site on CD-ROM, including all the interactive features and virtual-reality simulations. It also contains suggestions for how the Web site's information can be put to good use.
"With this pamphlet and Web site, AOPA and the general aviation community is reaching out to the public at large," said AOPA Senior Vice President of Communications Keith Mordoff, "but there is a secondary audience. GA Serving America is a tremendous tool for any pilot or aviation enthusiast who wants to convince the town council how important the municipal airport is, or who is going to address local business leaders, or even a classroom full of kids."
"Are we trying to influence people?" said Boyer. "Of course we are. But we are trying to do that by playing it straight with the public, presenting factual, honest information to counter the rumors and fears that can run rampant."
The 387,000-member Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association has been representing the interests of general aviation pilots since 1939. General aviation includes all flying except the scheduled airlines and the military. More than two thirds of the nation's pilots, and three quarters of the aircraft owners, are AOPA members.