The Public View Of GA, Via C-SPAN

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When the general public thinks about general aviation, we know what they usually think first -- weekend fliers in dangerous little airplanes, crashing into buildings and making useless noise. But now there is a new icon for GA -- thousands of dangerous little jets, darkening the skies and clogging up already-overloaded airports. Those concerns were lobbed to FAA chief Marion Blakey on C-SPAN's Sunday-morning "Newsmakers" show this week. "Can the system handle 5,000 more planes?" asked Alan Levin of USA Today. Blakey said she hopes that very light jets will make good use of smaller airports that now are underutilized. She also explained that congestion will be relieved by the next-generation air traffic control system now in the works, and argued that her proposed changes in revenue collection are the best way to fund it. After she left, Levin and Associated Press reporter Leslie Miller noted that Blakey is a "lame duck" -- her term is up later this year -- and said with Democrats now in control in Congress, the FAA's funding proposal doesn't stand much of a chance. Levin also noted that Blakey's "terrible relations with the air traffic controllers union" won't help her either in dealing with the Democrats.