The message is resonating across the media and the blogosphere. Even some of the news media are getting it.
Enough is enough. Stop picking on general aviation.
"In my humble opinion, it's the best piece I've read anywhere in response to politicians' actions against GA in the 16 years or so that I've been paying attention," e-mailed one member in response to AOPA President Phil Boyer's "Enough is enough" editorial. "I sincerely hope that this editorial gets forwarded to the general media (and that some of them publish it)."
"Daley blames the general aviation lobby for blocking the no-fly zone for the city, suggesting that safety takes a back seat to the influence of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association," said the Chicago Sun-Times in an editorial. "Rubbish. It's hard to fathom the federal government putting safety at risk for a large group of people who like to fly planes."
"Perhaps the real reason we don't have a no-fly zone is that it would do absolutely nothing to protect us," the city's second largest newspaper said.
The online magazine Salon , in its "Ask the Pilot" column, offered a cogent explanation and beauty of VFR flight and the New York corridors. AOPA's Executive Vice President of Communications Jeff Myers briefed author Patrick Smith, who wrote, "Prohibited airspace isn't, by itself, going to protect anybody from anything.... There's a poetic futility in the idea of trying to secure the very air about our heads. But there are those who would try, given the chance."
While USA Today didn't "get it," they certainly "got it" from hundreds of GA defenders. The paper's editorial suggested "heightened scrutiny of unaddressed threats from the air." AOPA had an immediate response, as did many pilots.
To the newspaper's credit, they printed the opposing viewpoints on their Web site. And they gave much more space on their printed page to letters blasting their editorial than they did to one lone letter in support.
"This piece serves as the perfect example that outside of the aviation world, the general public and media are tragically uninformed about flight, the National Airspace System, performance standards, visual flight rules, instrument flight rules, minimums, the FARs (Federal Aviation Regulations), and a host of other TFLAs (Two-to-Four Letter Acronyms) that define our language," wrote one commentator. "We accept this as a matter of course up to a point, but there's a point beyond which the lambasting of an entire form of transportation and the people that participate in it becomes unacceptable."
The comments in support of GA went on for pages before the newspaper closed the entries.
There was plenty of support for AOPA's response, as well. "Mr. Boyer's comments are absolutely correct, but the message is likely to get lost since sensibility does not sell papers; drama does," opined one writer. "Finally, a voice of reason for all of the senseless hysteria that the media is raising for those not familiar with general aviation," said another.
But it was AOPA's response to Mayor Daley that really rallied members.
"Hurray for you and your blistering reply to Crazy Daley's ranting and raving about a permanent ADIZ/TFR/FRZ (or maybe all of the above) in Chicago," wrote a member living inside the Washington, D.C., Air Defense Identification Zone. "I nearly jumped out of my chair with a defiant fist in the air. You normally portray an air of calm and coolness under the most stressful situations. I'm glad you didn't pull any punches with this nut case!!!"
"Bravo, bravo, bravo, Phil. Your 'Enough is enough' is right on target," wrote another. "We are all thinking it; you are just saying it."
Updated: October 23, 2006, 11:31 a.m. EDT