Seven Years Ago Today ...

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Photo provided to AVweb courtesy of the CAP Historical Foundation and Major Andrew J. Feldman, NY Wing CAP.
This photo is from the first low-altitude fixed-wing photo recon mission over the World Trade Center wreckage, flown by the Civil Air Patrol on September 12, 2001. (Click for a larger version.)

Seven years later, we still are caught short by the appearance of that date on the calendar -- September 11th -- it brings back all those memories of a day when aviation, and our country, were changed forever. While everyone was affected in one way or another, those of us involved in aviation felt a keen and personal sadness that the technology we admire, that provides us with the amazing ability to fly wherever we wish, was corrupted to such destructive ends. And aviators around the country were affected directly -- stranded by the airspace shutdown, then faced with suspicious scrutiny from local governments and increased regulation of our freedom to fly. Small general aviation airports in the Washington, D.C., area were closed for months, and flight schools around the country saw a drop in student enrollments. Now, seven years later, we almost take for granted those airport fences across what once were open fields. But maybe seven years from now, or seven years after that, or somewhere in the future, those fences will wear away in the wind and weather, and if we're very lucky, nobody will even notice they're gone.