Flying: The 9/11 Effect
As we look back 10 years to the attacks of September 11, 2011 we see the events of that day had impacts on every corner of society. Due to the mode of the attacks, aviation has been uniquely affected and each aviation professional, enthusiast, and recreational pilot has a personal story to tell about that day. EAA would like to know how the attacks on 9/11 have affected your flying in the past decade and how the perception of recreational aviation among the non-aviation people around you has changed. We ask you to leave your comments to the questions below in this thread and we’ll publish selected responses in next week’s issue of e-Hotline.
Q: In the 10 years since the 9/11 attacks, how has your flying changed or not changed?
Q: How do non-pilots or non-aviation enthusiasts view recreational flying, homebuilding, and other aviation activities now that 10 years have passed since the 9/11 attacks?
Fareed Guyot, EAA 388642
Manager, Electronic Publications
EAA - The Spirit of Aviation
Last edited by Hal Bryan; 09-01-2011 at 02:06 PM.
It hasn't changed. I also have not had any bad experiences with people reacting to flying other than your occasional "not in my backyard" idiot.
What happened to Meigs Field is my nightmare - what could happen to the entire GA community one day.
Never forget - they used terrorism as an excuse to do what they could not do otherwise.
When 9/11 occured I had 50K annual travel budget, mostly airlines. Slashed it in half then to less than 5K. I now fly my own airplanes 200 to 300% more with a lot less hassell. Since non pilot types like to talk about the 9/11 issues, I use the oportunity to great advantage to promote the use and safety, utility and benefits of general aviation. I am much more active in promotion. The TSA and government seems to have lost all logic when dealing with the problems of security. General aviation will surely grow unless taxed out of existance.
Do Away with the TSA
Since 9/11 my aviation experience has gone down hill. The TSA is a royal pain in the ass. No consistency in their rules, which at times are absurd. More like Gestapo than protectors. I’ve seen them terrorize and stamp over aircraft owner’s rights and access to personally owned aircraft, simply because they could. The system of TFRs and their use for every “Tom – Dick – Harry” event or VIP is to me an abuse of power and nothing more. Why for instants why is there a permanent TFR over Disney World in FL? Like "TFR" means “Temporary Flight Restriction” – no?
The general public in its general ignorance, submits to its abuse, out of propaganda of fear. The same ignorant general public that believes all aircraft are dangerous.
I have stopped flying internationally. Before eAPIS went into effect I had made a couple trips to Canada (Montreal and PEI). Not any more. Due to the SD for airports with scheduled air service, I avoid those airports whenever possible, even if they might be more convenient during cross-country trips.
After 9/11, our financially-pressed municipal airport had to shell out money to install higher fences with electronically controlled gates. The whole exercise was really a farce because the far side of the airport, opposite the access road is bordered by a shallow river and there is no fencing on that side.
A great deal of my time and energy has been taken up working with my congressional rep trying to get him to vote against security excesses. In general, his voting record has been good on these issues but he's out numbered.
The president's vacation TFRs at Martha's Vineyard have restricted my summer flying and no doubt will continue to do so. The general increase in the number of TFRs has been a royal pain.
I don't think the general public's view of GA hasn't changed much. Little airplanes are still incredibly dangerous and corporate jets are only for fat cats. People seem surprised that I actually have to get permission to leave the country if I wanted to fly to Canada. They also seem surprised to know that I don't have to file a flight plan and be in contact with ATC every minute. I just ask them if they need permission every time they want to drive their car or boat and that seems to make them think a little bit.
As a passenger, not a pilot, between Milwaukee and Santa Barbara via a brief stop at Denver, the aircraft size dropped
from 100 seats to 50, with a near doubling in fare cost after 9/11/01. The same airline offered an alternate, from MKY to ORD to LAX to SBA for little more than half that, but the increased paths multiplied the possibilities of delays and cancelled flights. On a tight schedule, I opted for the more direct route, regardless of cost. When my reason for travel
passed away, and I no longer flew there constantly, after 18 months the airline played "Indian Giver" and erased all the
long earned frequent flyer miles. It is now my FORMER airline, along with all their subsidiaries.
It has not affected my flying directly at my dirt strip private airport but they have been using the 911 and security issues to do things that are not rational and have no precedent or statistics to back up their claims of increased security risks.
Attempts at restricting things like airport homes with "Through the fence access", increased regulations for flight training, background checks for student pilots, extra airport security making casual small airport access impossible for prospective interested pilots, etc.
In a free country I am willing to assume a greater security risk (not proven) rather than inhibit and stifle access to interested folks who enjoy photographing, watching and participating in airport and aviation activities.
If it comes down to it I'd rather loose a few lives, even my own, rather than make aviation inaccessible to the masses by having ridiculous measures of security at small airports.
The reaction to 911 was more of a political reaction and posturing rather than addressing appropriate sane security measures. The Feds took full advantage of a situation and used it to installed more bureaucracy.
If someone really wants to blow up things there are an infinite number of ways to do it and no amount of regulation and security
will ever be able to prevent it.
I know a lot of lives were lost in 911, but what of all the military lives we sent after them and thousands of "collateral damage" victims
in the countries we had to try and annihilate our foes in.
I guess they don't keep tabs on lives lost on foreign soil but I have been watching the monthly rates and we are loosing on average 5 brave courageous souls a day.....yes, EACH DAY! It breaks my heart, as these kind of strong Americans are needed at home to rebuild a great America and ensure our strong future.
A bit of a rant but YES 911 has affected the quality and accessibility of aviation for me and those who have yet to discover what they are missing.
Out of necessity, I guess, flying has become more of a chore, less fun, more expensive and more regulated. Inevitable I suppose, but sure is taking the unfettered joy out if just getting in the bird and going flying without a concern for tfr's, adiz airspace and $6 plus avgas. If it weren't for Young Eagles I think I might have hung up my wings by now. What's the answer? Is there one?
Only just this morning, September 3, 2011 on Fox news the commentators were dramatising that even 10 years after 9/11, our security is still inadequate. They revisited the two terrorists who were living in the U.S. and who were able to enough flying lessons to enable them to fly large aircraft into the World Trade Center for example, and tople the building. They gave as a curent example, showing an FBO operator, who affirmed the fact that any licensed pilot can rent an airplane without a security check. This shows how little the non aviation media and much of the general public knows and understands General Aviation. Most pilots fly small aircraft incapable of doing much damage even if packed with explosives, but the media implies any licensed pilot can rent a 747 or other large aircraft without security clearance to repeat 9/11. I hope the EAA and AOPA will appropiately respond to Fox news trying to stir up hysteria and anti sentiment against CA among the general public.