Answering the criticism from many AOPA members, Time magazine has decided it will no longer run a "house" ad that showed two general aviation aircraft tied down with a nuclear power plant in the background. The caption read, "Remember when only environmentalists would have been alarmed by this photo? Join the conversation."
"There are times when hearing from a large national organization like AOPA is enough," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "And there are other times when hearing from scores of individual members has much more impact. This was one of those times when AOPA members made all the difference."
In an e-mailed response to the many who wrote to her, Time magazine President Eileen Naughton said the ad was never intended to malign general aviation. "The ad was intended to illustrate how dramatically Americans' perceptions have changed since September 2001. Before that date, the juxtaposition of an airport runway and a nuclear facility would not have raised an eyebrow. But since September 11, even the most commonplace images have the power to provoke us to see things differently.
"The ad was not intended to suggest that small aircraft pose a particular danger to our national security, or that a small aircraft could in any way penetrate a nuclear tower," her note continued. " Time regrets any inference to the contrary that may have been taken by general aviation pilots.
"Out of respect for the general aviation industry, Time has removed this ad from its media schedule."
"This episode demonstrates two things about the U.S. media," said Boyer. "Responsible news organizations do want to 'get it right.' And a reasoned response from our many members can influence the media."
[Read some of the comments members e-mailed to Time.]