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A Letter From Ed Bolen
NBAA President and CEO
February 22, 2010
Dear NBAA Member Representative,
As we know, a suicidal pilot's decision to fly a small general aviation airplane into a Texas office building last week grabbed headlines in newspapers across the country. But as tragic as the event was, it must be understood by Washington decision-makers as an act by a clearly troubled individual intent on committing suicide – not something that should reflect on the general aviation community as a whole.
That's what I told top officials at the Transportation Security Administration and the Federal Aviation Administration when I discussed the situation with them in the hours following the event. All have been very understanding, because they know that NBAA Members have led, not followed, on making security a top priority. NBAA will continue to promote workable, effective policies that enhance security while allowing for the mobility and flexibility that are the cornerstones of business aviation.
In the days since the event, NBAA has also been in contact with officials outside Washington. In Texas, NBAA's Regional Representative Steve Hadley has been working with Association Members to ensure that GA operations and security measures are well understood by local officials. Those efforts will continue in the days and weeks to come.
NBAA has also been responding to inaccurate statements about GA security in the news media. As just one example, a story in the Christian Science Monitor last week made the assumption that there are "few regulations, laws or security procedures" in place for general aviation. NBAA's prompt response to the editors underscored that "a number of federal agencies reviewing America's security since 9/11 have found that GA is not a vulnerability." My letter to the newspaper's editor listed the extensive work done by the GA community to "ensure that airports, aircraft, aircrews and passengers are hardened against terrorist threats." Read a full copy of the letter.
The bottom line is this: General aviation aircraft are relied on every day by tens of thousands of businesses across the country. We will continue actively engaging with media organizations and policymakers to ensure that discussions about general aviation security are based on facts, and on a recognition of the importance of the industry to the nation's economy and transportation system. We will continue working to ensure a full understanding about what the tragedy in Austin does - and does not - represent. And, we know we'll be able to count on your continued vigilance to ensure that security remains a top priority.
President and CEO
National Business Aviation Association