In the light of today's plane crash in New York, it's probably just a matter of minutes before some MSM outlet runs a breathless story about the potential terrorist threat from general aviation aircraft. You may recall similar hysteria in the wake of 9-11.
Fact is, virtually all small aircraft would be a poor terrorist weapon. For starters, most don't generate enough airspeed or carry a sufficient payload (including fuel) to pose a significant threat to reinforced steel and concrete structures, such as a Manhattan high-rise or a nuclear power plant. Most of the general aviation aircraft in America are the size of a Cessna 172 (or smaller) weighing less than a Honda Civic, and with a top speed of only 130 mph. According to some estimates, it would take 1,000 general aviation aircraft, flying into the same target simultaneously, to equal the destructive power of a single airliner. Terrorist organizations have contemplated the use of private aircraft in the past, but those plans reflected the implementation of post-9-11 security measures in the commercial aviation sector, and reduced chances for future attacks using hijacked passenger jets.
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) offers additional, equally convincing arguments on their website. Obviously, the AOPA has a dog in the fight, but the facts they present are difficult to refute.
Still, that won't stop our friends in the press.