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AOPA's Responce to CBS

Steve Pierce

Graham, TX
Don't want to start any Rant and Raves just pass on Phil Boyer's comments.

Boyer Blasts CBS
"Stinging" Letter Sent To CBS News President

AOPA President Phil
Boyer (shown right, with Former TSA Head Admiral Loy, to his right)
today sent a stinging letter to the president of CBS News,
complaining about the "slanted, incomplete, factually erroneous,
and salaciously inflammatory" story on general aviation airport
security. That story aired Wednesday night on the CBS Evening News
and claimed that there was "no security" at GA airports and that
"nothing had been done" since 9/11.

Boyer took the story apart piece by piece.

"Your irresponsible reporting techniques
included ... failure to mention a wide range of security
initiatives -- developed by AOPA and other organizations in
concert with the FAA and Homeland Security -- that are now in
practice across the country," Boyer wrote the head of CBS News,
Andrew Heyward. Boyer said that the "security expert" in the story
was in fact a PR consultant with grief counseling experience at the
NTSB. The other "expert" was a real estate agent.

"On the basis of the voluminous emails and calls we have
received today, I can confirm that your reporter, Bob Orr, has
badly tarnished his reputation in the aviation community. Had he
-- or anyone -- from CBS simply called, we could have
provided the information that the story was completely lacking,"
wrote Boyer.

He said the story was void of any evidence that GA should be
considered a security threat.

"To suggest otherwise is to be blind to an enormous body of
facts that could never produce the sensationalistic sham that you
deign to call a news story."

Boyer pointed out that
the 5,400 public-use airports in the U.S. have adopted security
measures appropriate to their situation. The Transportation
Security Administration (TSA) has acknowledged that "one size does
not fit all" when it comes to GA airport security. Some, home to
large business aircraft, are fenced with controlled access, for

Most airports have implemented pilot vigilance programs using
AOPA's Airport Watch guidelines. An aviation industry committee
(which included representatives from TSA, the Department of
Defense, Secret Service, and FBI) has compiled "best practices"
guidelines for airport security that the TSA has adopted and will
distribute. The guidelines recognize differing security needs for
the wide range of GA airports.

Boyer again reminded CBS that a typical GA aircraft is incapable
of causing much damage. "The typical general aviation aircraft,
when fully loaded, weighs less than an empty Honda Civic and
carries about the same amount of fuel as a large SUV," he wrote.
"By comparison, an airliner like the ones used on September 11,
2001, can weigh as much as 180 Civics and carry nearly 24 thousand
gallons of fuel. In stark contrast, a general aviation aircraft has
limited ability to cause damage as evidenced by the unfortunate
incident in Tampa. It was an extremely rare act by a lone
individual that, while horrifying to imagine much less see, caused
relatively minor damage.

"Since 9/11 we are all living in a world marked by a heightened
state of fear," Boyer continued. "Many organizations and members
like ours have worked hard to address opportunities to keep those
events from being repeated. By planting deep seeds of fear that are
totally without merit, your report did a major disservice not only
to our members, but to the general public as well.

"We are outraged and you should be ashamed."
FMI: www.aopa.org, ajh@cbs.com (CBS News President Andrew

For the WHOLE story, go to http://www.aero-news.net/news/genav.cfm?ContentBlockID=d4bcaa83-0fba-466e-90b9-215c7d7a07d4
--and for what is is worth, this is from the EAA hotline. Unfortunately the horse is out of the barn and TV watchers are now "informed".



January 15, 2004 - EAA has reacted strongly to the CBS Evening News segment aired Wednesday evening (January 14) regarding the lack of security within general aviation, spotlighting residential airparks in particular.
?We thought that the CBS Evening News had higher integrity and better news judgment than what they aired as their so-called investigative piece, which lacked balance or even basic fact-checking,? said Bob Warner, EAA Executive Vice President, in communications to the network Thursday morning. ?CBS completely ignored the security improvements throughout general aviation over the past 30 months and presented a sensationalistic piece that will do nothing to inform its viewers or solve any issues.?

If any EAA members or other aviation enthusiasts wish to contact CBS about the piece, they may do so at evening@cbsnews.com.

Among the specifics that EAA called to CBS? attention were:

More than a dozen direct security improvements have been recommended for general aviation since September 2001, many of which have been adopted;

EAA has learned that CBS declined an interview with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) that outlined the security improvements in GA since 9/11, despite TSA requests for an interview with their agency, which is directly responsible for aviation security, or with aviation groups such as EAA;

No apparent contact was made with any aviation organization for background. EAA was not contacted prior to airing of the segment;

The only official interviewed was a retired NTSB representative, with no indication to his aviation security knowledge or background;

A complete lack of context as to the extremely low security threat posed by GA aircraft when compared with cars, trucks, boats and other forms of transportation;

A misguided definition of airparks, which are rarely used for flight training.
?Residents of airparks create no more security risk than people who keep cars in garages in residential neighborhoods,? Warner said. ?In fact, the average SUV or small truck has more payload than a typical general-aviation aircraft. To indicate that small aircraft present a potential threat larger than any other type of transportation is not only wrong, it is an irresponsible scare piece.?