Eagle's Nest Operator Says He Was "Grossly Mistreated" By
"I've never been so let
down in my life."
Those words from a bemused John Trissel, manager of the Eagles
Nest flying community outside of Waynesboro (VA) -- the man who was
quoted in the much-ballyhooed CBS story slamming GA security last
Trissel estimates he's received some 200 flaming emails from
pilots and aviation enthusiasts, slamming him for his interview.
They say things like, "With promoters like John Trissel in the
industry, we won't have general aviation in a few years." Or, "It
was an incredibly stupid move. You might want to practice for your
The truth is, John
Trissel is as upset as everyone else about the way the CBS story
treated general aviation. Only he's more upset than most. He says
CBS took his interview out of context.
"They (CBS) knew exactly what they wanted to do to legitimize
their scam," he told ANN Sunday. "They would say things like, 'Do
you do it this way?' and I'd say no, but here's how we handle it.
They only air the part that said what they wanted it to say."
For instance, Trissel says, they asked him about whether pilots
at Eagle's Nest used baggage scanners. "No," he'd answer, "but we
only fly with people we know. If we have any questions about a bag,
it stays on the ground."
In fact, Trissel says
the CBS producer who called from Washington didn't let on what the
story was about. "What happened was they found an ad on a realtor's
site and called us. They called the realtor and said they'd like to
do a story on living with your aircraft. They said, 'We think
that's real unique.' So we put out the pretzels and candy and had
'em down here."
But only when the camera started rolling did the real motive for
the visit become apparent. "They started asking questions that
weren't what we expected. I've given a lot of interviews in my
career," Trissel said." I never had something so bad happen. I
usually get treated fairly by the press."
So what is the rest of the story?
"Of the 54 airplanes parked here at Eagle's Nest, all but about
four are locked up. Those four are transients," Trissel told ANN.
"We live right on the runway. We always know when someone is coming
or going -- even late at night. I always look out and talk with
(whoever is flying). If the voice doesn't match the owner of the
aircraft, I'm on the phone with law enforcement."
That's a relationship Trissel says was completely ignored in the
CBS story. "They wouldn't let me talk about the security measures
we do use or about the relationship we have with law enforcement.
If we have a problem, boom! They're here."
In short, Trissel says, "We felt like we got strung up pretty
Since the day after the interview, Trissel says the flame-on
emails from pilots have subsided. Some have even written back to
apologize, apparently realizing that something was wrong and it
"I got several apologies from folks who flew off the handle and
wanted to say they're sorry."