AOPA's TV ads spreading the good word about general aviation are working. During the first week of the ad campaign on the Weather Channel, the number of visits to the General Aviation Serving America Web site has increased five times.
"It is important that the public understand what general aviation is, how it works, and what it does for all Americans," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "What we convey in these ads and with this Web site is that general aviation is woven into the fabric of American life."
The commercials will air more than 100 times between December 20 and January 2, during the busy holiday travel season when many Americans - not just pilots - are keeping a close eye on the weather for their own travel, whether by personal car, train, bus, or airline.
The commercials address four key themes: GA is the largest segment of aviation; GA flies to all 5,400 public-use airports, not just the handful serviced by airlines; GA is the training ground for the airlines and the military; and GA is a critical part of an entire transportation system born when the Wright brothers figured out how to fly.
The commercials include prominent mention of AOPA's General Aviation Serving America Web site and are expected to reach some 36 million viewers.
GA Serving America is the result of AOPA's General Aviation Restoration Fund, established shortly after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, when general aviation's public image suffered a black eye solely because the non-flying public did not understand "those little planes."
The Web site was funded entirely by voluntary donations from individual AOPA members interested in correcting public misconceptions about GA.
GA Serving America explains the many varied aspects of general aviation: flying for fun or business, law enforcement and medevac, overnight delivery service, and agricultural application (cropdusting). Aimed primarily at the general public and government officials and legislators, the site also has proven useful to pilots as a source for information when trying to explain the allure of flying.
December 30, 2004