With the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks coming up this weekend, aviators around the country are looking back on that day and its aftermath, which in many ways is still with us. The FAA commemorated the 9/11 events this week with a video featuring interviews with air traffic controllers who were on duty that day. The pilot of one of the F-15s that scrambled -- knowing he might be asked to shoot down an airliner full of passengers -- recalls the events in an interview with Boston's WGBH radio. GA pilots also were reminded this week by the TSA to be extra-vigilant as the anniversary date approaches. (Click here for the full TSA advisory, in PDF format.) One of the leaders of the general aviation response, Phil Boyer, who at the time was president of AOPA, recalled those days in a podcast interview with AVweb's Mary Grady.
On the morning of September 11, "we knew we had to go to work right away," Boyer recalls. "As soon as that afternoon, I was in touch with Norm Mineta, who was then secretary of transportation." Mineta had two sons who were pilots, and was very open to discussions about how to mitigate the impact on GA, Boyer says. In the aftermath, Boyer says, one of the things he had to deal with the most was politicians who were unfamiliar with how general aviation works. Many were surprised to learn that airplanes routinely fly around without flight plans or even radio contact, he says. Click here to listen to the rest of Boyer's recollections and his assessment of how GA has fared in the 10 years since 9/11.