General aviation benefits virtually every single American, whether or not they've ever climbed into a "little plane" or dreamed of learning to fly. That's the message AOPA will convey when it once again sponsors a series of television ads on the Weather Channel promoting the association's educational Web site, General Aviation Serving America. The ads will run throughout the holiday season, beginning on Monday, December 20.
"General aviation is woven so tightly into the fabric of American life that most Americans don't even notice it," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "These ads will give the millions of Weather Channel viewers a brief insight into the value of GA and tell them how to get more information by visiting the General Aviation Serving America Web site."
GAservingAmerica.org is a world-class, award-winning Web site designed to show the general public, including reporters and federal, state, and local government decision makers, all that general aviation does for this country.
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. They 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 are expected to reach some 36 million viewers.
While GAservingAmerica.org is aimed primarily at nonpilots, it's also useful for pilots. It can help them explain general aviation and the critical role it plays, both in the community and in the national economy, to their friends, neighbors, and civic leaders.
"It is important that the public understand what general aviation is, how it works, and its many benefits for all Americans," Boyer said. "What we convey in these ads and with this Web site is that without general aviation, the quality of life in America would be vastly lowered."
GAservingAmerica.org shows that general aviation is not only personal and business transportation. It's air ambulances. It's law enforcement and firefighting. It's traffic reporters. It's overnight delivery, medevac helicopters, and crop-dusters. It's the biggest training ground for tomorrow's airline and military pilots and the biggest "airline" in the country, carrying 145 million passengers annually to all of the nation's 5,400 public-use airports - not just the 30 that handle 70% of all commercial airline traffic.
"Most of the people who see these ads are never going to learn to fly," said Boyer. "But if they come away knowing even a little bit more about general aviation, then everyone benefits."
With more than 400,000 members, representing nearly two thirds of all pilots in the United States, AOPA is the largest, most influential aviation association in the world. AOPA has achieved its prominent position through effective advocacy, enlightened leadership, technical competence, and hard work. Providing member services that range from representation at the federal, state, and local levels to legal services, advice, and other assistance, AOPA has built a service organization that far exceeds any other in the aviation community.
December 17, 2004