Small Airplanes and the Mainstream Media

The bumper sticker below pokes fun at the fear purposely stoked by the media, anti-general aviation groups and the U. S. government. If you don’t understand irony, or happen to be one of those that believes everything the government tells you, don’t bother reading any further.

Recall that the mayor of Chicago illegally dug up Meigs Field with backhoes in the middle of the night, breaking numerous laws in the process. He used fear as justification for destroying a valuable jewel on the city’s lakeshore. Today, what used to be Meigs Field, a busy general aviation airport, is an overgrown eyesore.

Read articles written by the mainstream media about any small plane accident or incident. Reporters routinely use loaded words and phrases designed to evoke negative emotions and fear. Stories are replete with uninformed speculation as to the probable cause, something it normally takes the NTSB a year to determine.

Even sucessful off-airport landings where the pilot walks away unscathed are classified as  “plane crashes”. Inadvertent gear up landings are the “leads” on the local-yokel 6 PM TV news, complete with “live action” reporters and their news vans.

Also in their stories are the obligatory references as to how the plane nearly averted a building full of elementary school children.

Other stories are routinely run about residents who built new homes near an airport, then complain about the noise. Never mind the airport was there first, having been built in 1945, and was surrounded only by corn fields at the time.

Rarely do reporters ever get an aviation story accurate. Articles are poorly written by ill-trained J-school majors, without any regard to the facts or even correct aviation terms. Private pilots are portrayed as spoiled rich kids, recklessly spewing toxic pollutants in their wake, as they fly over an unsuspecting populace.

The TSA views small planes as flying bombs, and pilots as security threats. At my small GA airport, they recently spent many thousands of taxpayer dollars to install an automatic door for access to the ramp, to be unlocked only by the CSR behind the counter.

When I was a kid, people looked towards the sky at airplanes in wonderment and awe. They viewed planes as a vehicle of freedom and a legitimate tool of small business. As children, we watched TV series like Sky King and The Whirlybirds. We sat in amazement as we watched man land on the moon on live TV. We were taught science in school which helped us understand aerodynamics and weather.

Now many people look up and cower in fear because of what they hear and read in the media. Ignorant reporters and TSA leaders have an agenda perpetuating that fear. Is that really any way to live life? 

Annoy the media. Go out and fly your plane today! 😉

But in order to be completely fair to my readers and provide a sense of editorial balance, here is my universal perception of the ever vigilant TSA:

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