Is general aviation a menace?

Recently, writer Jeffrey Goldberg wrote a feature article for the prestigious Atlantic Magazine entitled “Private Plane, Public Menace” with the subheading of:

Wealthy travelers routinely bypass the TSA by flying on private jets. How long until al-Qaeda does the same?

The article also included a picture of an aircraft flying over what is clearly a government building while Charles Spence further noted in a response he wrote for General Aviation Magazine:

The article included comments from his [Jeffrey’s] friend who offered the ride from Teterboro Airport in New Jersey to Washington, D.C. When Mr. Goldberg asked if he had been a terrorist what would stop him from using a general aviation aircraft, his friend replied: “Nothing would stop you. All you need is the money to buy a plane or a charter.”

As you can imagine, Jeffrey’s article has sparked plenty of criticism in the USA’s general aviation community (which had already experienced its share of serious flack and criticism during the height of the financial crisis when executives from the Big Three auto companies flew to Washington in private aircraft). Charles noted that Jeffrey had not bothered to speak with any general aviation organizations nor with the companies that use business aircraft. Rob Mark, the editor of Jetwhine, also took Jeffrey to task in a post entitled Biz Av Takes One on the Chin and he reprinted the letters that both he and the head of National Business Aviation Association wrote to the Atlantic’s editors to voice their displeasure.

Hence, we want to ask you our readers, especially any based in the UK or Europe, what you think of Jeffrey Goldberg’s article. Are his concerns valid – especially for general aviation in the UK or Europe?

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