CBS News Finds Homeland Security’s Weak Link


That would be you, the general aviation pilot. Last night’s “Eye on America” report on the CBS Evening News made it clear that a terrifying threat exists — “Packed with explosives, small planes could be devastating bombs” — and that GA pilots just don’t give a damn — “vulnerability [is] the price for general aviation’s freedom.” The report focused on airport communities, where it said, “There are no fences, no gates, no security systems and no federal requirements to have them.” Though not cited as inspiration in the text of the segment, Joe Byrd, president of the board of directors at Lakeway Airpark outside of Austin, Texas, yesterday told AVweb that CBS news anchor Dan Rather (not featured in the report) keeps property roughly one-half mile away from the airport community … “as the crow flies.” The report also neglected to mention that a Skyhawk full of explosives is about equivalent to a Volkswagen in the same condition, but did point out there are some 200,000 “so-called general aviation aircraft” in the country … a number perhaps smaller than that of Volkswagens. It seems the thought of the airborne equivalent plunging into a building is scarier than the sight of the non-winged version parked out front, or in the loading dock, or driving by. AOPA President Phil Boyer was outraged even before the segment ran, issuing a news release yesterday afternoon calling the coverage “irresponsible.” Proof of that, Boyer said, is that it appears CBS made up its mind without benefit of all the facts: “They never interviewed us [at AOPA], the people who know the most about GA.” Boyer suggested that pilots register their concern over CBS’s reporting by e-mailing CBS.