This Independence Day, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association is encouraging everyone who already knows the freedom of the skies to share the experience with someone who doesn’t. “We want you to celebrate your freedom to fly by introducing it to others,” said AOPA President and CEO Craig L. Fuller on June 29.
“Leonardo da Vinci famously said, ‘Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return,’” Fuller continued. “We need more people with their eyes turned skyward, because whether or not they ever return, they will better understand all that general aviation is and can do.”
General aviation pilots in the United States enjoy a freedom that is the envy of their fellow pilots almost everywhere else in the world, Fuller said. The U.S. makes up slightly more than 6% of the world’s land mass, but its airspace is home to three out of every four general aviation flights in the world, he pointed out.
Over the past several months, even as it worked on a number of thorny issues, AOPA has focused a great deal of attention on helping America’s opinion leaders and decision makers and, through them, the public at large, to understand the contributions and the complexities of general aviation and the value it adds to the nation as a whole.
“But talking about it is one thing. Demonstrating it is something else altogether,” Fuller said. “A change in elevation changes your perspective literally and figuratively. By taking friends or family, teachers or local leaders flying, America’s general aviation pilots can directly affect how GA is perceived. And who knows? They might just cause the pilot population to grow, one introductory flight at a time.