Make It Up in Volume! »

GUEST COMMENTARY. "Merger mania" is one of the new buzz phrases in the airline industry these days, along with "runway incursions" and "air traffic control delays," of course. Soon after the proposed acquisition of US Airways by United Airlines was announced, mergers of American with Northwest Airlines and Continental into Delta Air Lines were also floated. These proposals don't exist in the "we never met a merger we didn't like" environment of the 1980s-era Department of Transportation, yet they are accompanied by better-prepared spin doctors and much slicker public-relations efforts. How to make sense of all the hype and "blowing snow"? Airline captain and industry analyst R. Michael Baiada takes on the UAL/US Airways proposal and cuts through the haze. More

Be Careful What You Wish For »

GUEST COMMENTARY. Airline deregulation is its own worst enemy. As the number of airline passengers sets new records, full planes, crowded terminals, delays and poor service have combined to make the experience less than pleasurable. One result in the U.S. is a call for increased airline regulation. As AVweb contributor Ken Cubbin writes, that shouldn't be necessary, as positive changes are already occurring. More

The Envelope, Please »

Working for AVweb has its ups and downs. A lot of the "downs" come twice a week, as deadlines approach. The "ups" are more frequent, thankfully, and often involve doing new things and meeting new people. Recently, AVweb's Executive Editor Jeb Burnside took up a reader on a "dare" of sorts, to take a ride in a hot-air balloon. The sincere offer was made in the aftermath of AVweb's coverage of last year's attempts to circumnavigate the globe in a lighter-than-air craft. Under threat of being forced to help Editor-In-Chief Mike Busch with the next annual inspection of his T310, Jeb recently took that ride. He's back and has mostly recovered here's his report. More

The Boeing Strike: Armistice Day »

GUEST COMMENTARY. The strike by the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) is over, but the fallout continues. In a follow-up to his original piece on the background and beginnings of the strike, Boeing engineer Ron Wanttaja writes of his impressions in the aftermath, the changes he and his co-workers have encountered and, ominously, warns that the recent strike may only be prelude to what will happen when the new contract expires at the end of 2002. More

Fees for Service Look a Lot Different — When You Get Stamped »

So, you think we've got it pretty good here in the good ol' U.S. of A. when it comes to aviation? Existing taxes are too high for what you receive? Can't seem to find the next rung in the aviation-industry employment ladder? Believe it or not, our hermanos south of the border have got it all figured out. That's right; Mexico is light years ahead of the U.S., both in finding ways to levy fees and in finding new jobs in aviation. AVweb's Dave Higdon toured Mexico by air, by stamp and by peso. Here's his report. More

Guest Commentary: Metro High »

A lot of stuff goes on behind the scenes at an FAA radar facility that pilots never see. And that's probably a good thing. Here's a guest commentary submitted by a loyal AVweb reader about a recent system deviation. It's a deviation that didn't really threaten any aircraft nor require abrupt maneuvering. But because of the ATC system's outdated equipment and often-overloaded sectors, it's a deviation that need not have happened. The "deal" was real, but as they used to say, "the names have been changed to protect the innocent." More

Pilot Wins, FAA Loses »

GUEST EDITORIAL. With all the publicity we've given to recent cases in which the FAA prosecuted certificate actions against apparently-innocent airmen, it's refreshing to read this man-bites-dog tale in which an airman took on the FAA and actually won! In this case, the airman was well-known aviation iconoclast Darryl Phillips, and his career wasn't exactly at stake but an important issue was: whether FAA orders and regulations take precedence over public law as formulated by Congress, or vice-versa. The story of how Darryl singlehandedly prevailed over the FAA's bureaucratic absurdity (without a lawyer, by the way) makes fascinating reading and just might offer some valuable lessons about dealing with the feds. More

The Boeing Strike: A Report from the Trenches »

GUEST COMMENTARY. The ongoing strike by the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA) against Boeing took a lot of people by surprise, not least of which apparently was Boeing. Since February 9, the strike's first day, the white-collar union has seen more and more of its bargaining unit walk off the job even though many workers are not SPEEA members as well as growing support from blue-collar unions like the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and the Teamsters. Some presidential candidates have even visited the picket lines. What's going on here? Boeing employee and striking engineer Ron Wanttaja gives his view in this guest editorial originally written February 23, 2000. More