AOPA wants you to tell your story.
The association, which had a video camera at its Big Yellow Tent on the Sun ‘n Fun grounds, asked pilots to share their stories about the difference aviation has made in their lives.
It is all part of AOPA’s new initiative, General Aviation Serves America, which kicked off April 20 with ads featuring actor and pilot Harrison Ford.
Those ads have already created quite a stir in Washington, D.C., said Craig Fuller, AOPA president, who told a crowd at the AOPA Pilot Town Meeting during Sun ‘n Fun that one of the publications where the message is running, the “National Journal,” reports that it has never had an ad on its website clicked on as many times as the Harrison Ford ad.
That’s good news, as the campaign is designed to educate the general public – and policy makers and elected officials – of the importance of general aviation to the U.S. That’s especially important this year, as President Obama’s proposed budget includes more than $7 billion in user fees while decreasing the general fund contribution to the FAA.
“Since aviation contributes greatly to the economy and society, that fact that it receives money from the general fund is appropriate,” Fuller said. “To shrink the general fund contribution creates a burden on GA.
“But it’s the philosophy that GA is not entitled to general fund contributions is what troubles me the most,” he continued. “That philosophy is hard to fight if people don’t understand the value of general aviation.”
That’s where the new campaign comes in. Besides Ford, other pilots, such as a doctor who uses his plane to reach remote patients or three generations of a family who use their plane in their family business, tell their stories of how vital aviation is to their lives.
The campaign also is educating the general public about the $150 billion that GA pumps into the economy, as well as the 1 million jobs it creates, Fuller said.
“Once people know the facts, it opens their eyes to the fact that GA is worth protecting,” he said.
You can share your story at GAServesAmerica.com. Click on Act, then Share and tell your story.