Read the following article which was in the Washington Post and write a thoughtful post to them. Education is the answer, not name calling. There are millions of reasons why GA is good for America. Give them a few.
Clamp Down on General Aviation
By Joseph A. Kinney
Tuesday, September 25, 2001; Page A23 Since Sept. 11 much welcome discussion has been focused on ways to increase commercial airline security, which has often been lacking. But there is another, equally frightening problem: the small, private aircraft that clog our skies and populate small, often remote, countryside airports.
General aviation, which serves business and recreational fliers, encompasses 7,120 jets and about 25,000 multi-engine aircraft flown by about 200,000 pilots who have instrument ratings. Each of these larger planes could easily be transformed into a weapon of mass destruction if it were laden with explosives.
The sheer number of planes tells only part of the story. Anyone who has visited a general aviation facility knows that security is often poor or, more often, nonexistent. Most of these facilities have no aircraft control towers or patroling security officers. Worst of all, there is no requirement at these facilities that aircraft be locked, and many are left open or are protected by locks that can be opened in a matter of seconds. In most cases, starting a plane is easier than igniting the engine of a stolen car.
Before and after takeoff, there are few restrictions upon general aviation. The pilots simply file a flight plan with traffic controllers, often in distant locations, and away they go. Nothing can be done to stop them from entering urban airspace. As any pilot knows, these small aircraft frequently wander into restricted airspace, often jeopardizing commercial or military aircraft.
All aircraft should be locked and secured. Larger general aviation airports should be fenced and have controled entry. Ignition devices should be modified to eliminate the possibility of unauthorized use. Airspace around larger cities should be further restricted to prohibit entry by such aircraft. This may mean curtailing landing rights of such aircraft at commercial airports.
Such measures might make life more difficult for the general aviation industry. But if security experts continue to focus strictly on commercial aviation, we may find ourselves guilty, once again, of fighting the last war only to see ourselves outsmarted by a more creative foe.
– Joseph A. Kinney
is a security consultant in Charlotte, N.C.
Â© 2001 The Washington Post Company
Write them now! This is scary stuff. BillW