Letters to Media

Bookmark and Share

NBAA Letter to the Editor – Christian Science Monitor

February 19, 2010

Christian Science Monitor
ATTN: Letters Editor
210 Massachusetts Avenue
Boston, MA 02115

To the Editor:

Your story, "Plane crash in Austin points to vulnerabilities from small planes" (Feb. 19), ignores two essential facts: first, a number of federal agencies reviewing America's security since 9/11 have found that general aviation (GA) is not a vulnerability; and second, the people and businesses that rely on small airplanes have nevertheless worked extensively to ensure that airports, aircraft, aircrews and passengers are hardened against terrorist threats.

Most recently, the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security investigated general aviation and found “The current status of [general aviation] operations does not present a serious homeland security vulnerability.”

That assessment is surely the result of a continued emphasis on security by the general aviation community. In the years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a host of measures have been adopted including: an Airport Watch Program, with a toll-free hotline for contacting Transportation Security Administration officials; background checks and tamper-proof licenses for pilots; monitoring of aircraft sales and purchases; and guidelines for passenger manifests and identification. Government officials continue to consider additional security enhancements, and general aviation welcomes this discussion.

This week's incident in Austin was a tragic, but isolated act by a troubled individual intent on committing suicide. We need to remember that small general aviation airplanes help tens of thousands of businesses generate jobs and opportunity, they serve as a lifeline to communities with little or no commercial airline service, they and are a critical link our nation's emergency response efforts. Without the flexibility and mobility provided by these aviation workhorses, our economy and our communities would suffer greatly.

Ed Bolen
President and CEO
National Business Aviation Association