ADIZ-Incursion, Public Perception...

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AOPA Reaches Out Via Mass Media

If the wanderings of a Cessna 150 would disrupt the day of thousands of people, and frighten them a bit in the process, could it happen in any worse place than Washington, D.C.? Concerned about the lingering effects of that scare on all those legislators and regulators, AOPA took out full-page ads in yesterday's USA Today and in Roll Call, an influential Capitol Hill newspaper, to spread the good word that GA is not a threat. "Last week one pilot made headlines ... The other 588,656 did not," says AOPA. Chris Dancy, AOPA spokesman, told AVweb, "The ad is intended not to excuse or explain what happened, but to help the non-flying public (and members of Congress) to put the incident into perspective." The ad copy continues: "Seven days ago, one very small airplane created a very large incident that disrupted lives in Washington, D.C., and made millions of people, already on edge, very nervous. It also created unnecessary concern and skepticism about 'those little planes.'" The ad also points out what went right during the incident, which ended without harm to anyone, while explaining that small general aviation airplanes are not a security threat and that most pilots are well-informed. "AOPA will continue our work to educate and inform general aviation pilots and advocate on their behalf," the ad concludes. "Because keeping general aviation pilots, airplanes, and airports safe are important efforts in maintaining our freedom to fly. And keeping the nation secure protects the freedom of all." USA Today is the nation's most-circulated newspaper, selling over 2.2 million copies daily.