In its continuing campaign to counter public fears over general aviation, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association today placed a national ad explaining that general aviation will play a key role in the response to a national emergency. The ad in USA Today followed an episode of the Fox TV show 24, in which a terrorist cell attempted to use a small aircraft to detonate a nuclear bomb over Los Angeles.
"While this scenario strains credulity, it still feeds into the unwarranted fear that some people have about general aviation," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "We heard from many AOPA members who were concerned about the damage this show could do. So we took another proactive step to get the truth out about GA to the general public."
The full-page ad appeared in the February 19 edition of USA Today the morning following the broadcast. Headlined "Small Airplanes and TV Fiction," the ad noted that while in fiction, "a small airplane might be a tool of terror, in the real world, general aviation aircraft will be flying to the rescue."
The ad pointed out the important role GA always plays in times of disaster. It reminded readers that GA is an essential part of the nation's economy and transportation system. And the ad shows that GA pilots are working to improve national security by taking an active part in programs such as AOPA's Airport Watch.
The ad also directed the reader to visit www.GAservingAmerica.org to learn more about general aviation.
"We all have to face the reality that just about anything—from a box cutter to an inflatable boat to a rental truck—could be used by a terrorist," said Boyer. "But with this ad, we want to get the message out that the nation would lose so much if we were to further restrict GA because of a fear of terrorism."