Groups Urge Calm in Wake of Austin Crash

 - February 23, 2010, 10:00 AM

It remains to be seen exactly what impact Thursday’s intentional crash of a single-engine Piper Dakota into an Austin, Texas IRS building will have on any new general aviation security restrictions. However, industry leaders quickly cautioned against overreaction. “It is important in the days ahead that we not overreact to this isolated act of suicide by a deeply troubled person and jeopardize the ability of hundreds of thousands of law-abiding U.S. citizens to fly,” said AOPA president Craig Fuller. “We need to let the accident and law enforcement investigations proceed and not rush to ill-informed judgments or precipitous actions.” Steve Brown, NBAA vice president of operations and administration, said the decision by local law enforcement to close the Georgetown (Texas) Airport, where the flight originated, for seven hours in the wake of the crash was “fairly standard law enforcement procedure, like you would see at any other crime scene.” He said he did not expect the “tragic and unfortunate event” to have an adverse effect on general aviation in the long run, even as the TSA considers new GA security measures. On Friday, the FBI took over control of the investigation from the NTSB since the crash was deemed a criminal act.