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AOPA provides facts during media stormAOPA provides facts during media storm

AOPA provides facts during media storm
Boyer appears on CNN, takes CBS flying

Click to see video

There continue to be many questions about Wednesday's tragic accident in New York City that killed Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle and his flight instructor Tyler Stanger - most of the questions coming from the media.

Your AOPA has been at the forefront to make sure the media understand general aviation, and particularly that they understand this was an accident, nothing more sinister than a car accident at 400 feet - and certainly no reason to question GA flight over cities or GA security.

Thursday morning, AOPA President Phil Boyer appeared live on CNN's American Morning to be interviewed by anchor Miles O'Brien, a pilot and AOPA member.

Speaking from AOPA's headquarters in Frederick, Maryland, via the association's TV studio and satellite uplink, Boyer told the TV audience that a car or a truck would be a much more effective terrorist weapon than a small aircraft. "No small plane has been used as a weapon of terror," Boyer said.

Then a few hours later, Boyer took CBS correspondent Bob Orr and camera team flying in Boyer's Cessna 172, to help him understand VFR flight from a nontowered airport, air traffic control airspace such as the Class B surrounding both New York and Washington, D.C., and security airspace like the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone (which encompasses all of the Class B airspace and then some and has an internal "no fly" zone within 15 miles of Washington).

Orr's story should air on the CBS Evening News Thursday evening.

Wednesday evening, Boyer was interviewed by ABC World News via AOPA's satellite uplink. During the interview with ABC's Lisa Stark, Boyer explained general aviation security and reiterated why GA is not a terrorist threat.

Part of Boyer's interview was used in the story airing on World News Tonight with Charles Gibson. Click here to see video of Boyer's complete answers.

The AOPA media team has so far talked to more than two dozen top media outlets from the United States, Japan, France, and more.

The team also authored a response to a USA Today editorial that appeared Thursday morning. The newspaper raised questions about what its editorial writers view as a failure to address general aviation security.

AOPA's response, which appeared below the USA Today editorial, states, "For you to question the need for increased ground security ignores the fact that general aviation pilots know their passengers and cargo. And it ignores the fact that the federal agencies responsible for our security - the Transportation Security Administration and the FAA - have looked hard at GA and said that it does not pose a threat. Mayor Bloomberg himself indicated that this event says 'nothing' about security to New York City.

"Pilots are passionate about the many joys of flying. Our freedom of travel is one of the great liberties we all enjoy in the USA. Challenging that through USA Today's unfounded questions - not honest and informed inquiry - has neither merit nor benefit."

The satellite uplink and TV studio located at AOPA headquarters in Frederick, Maryland, allows the association to provide an immediate response to a crisis.

Updated: October 12, 2006, 3:41 p.m. EDT

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