The first ads hit the air Thursday morning. And they'll continue through the busy holiday season. AOPA is airing five different commercials on the Weather Channel ( see the schedule) to show the non-flying public the many benefits of general aviation.
The commercials reinforce the messages that general aviation is a vital part of the U.S. lifestyle and does not pose a threat. From assisting with hurricane relief efforts to air ambulance and other types of humanitarian flying, GA is an integral part of American life.
"General aviation is key to so many aspects of American life," said Jeff Myers, AOPA executive vice president of communications. "And our newest commercial demonstrates that there's no reason to be concerned by small planes flying overhead. GA aircraft are no threat."
(You can view the commercials online by visiting AOPA's GA Serving America Web site.)
The commercials are airing through December 31. They will run about 125 times during a crucial time when pilot and nonpilot viewers alike are paying close attention to weather forecasts to get to their destinations.
The TV spots address five 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; GA is a critical part of an entire transportation system; and GA does not represent a terrorist threat.
"The commercial about GA security is new this year and is slated to get more than 30 percent of the play," said Myers. "Its message to the public, media, and politicians is clear, forceful, and unequivocal - the aircraft and pilots of America's GA community represent a powerful - and largely underappreciated - asset to the U.S."
The commercials are expected to reach more than 30 million viewers and direct them to the GA Serving America Web site, www.GAservingAmerica.org.
The site clearly demonstrates the many benefits of GA. A new section also helps explain the many steps GA has taken to keep airports and airplanes safe and secure. The site also highlights the many valuable roles of GA, including shipping packages, protecting crops, and catching criminals. And it provides safety and economic statistics.
December 22, 2005