AVmail: Feb 14, 2005
Reader mail this week about the FSS contract, the GA anthrax scare and more.
FAA mismanagement and union "whining" put the final coffin nails in a government-run FSS program (NewsWire, Feb. 7). I am pleased to see that the FSS Union/Harris Corp. proposal was not accepted. Harris was the main contractor in OASIS (the government replacement for Model 1). "New blood" is needed and hopefully Lockheed Martin can provide it.
The present system of 61 AFSSs is terribly management-top-heavy and inefficient at all levels from FAA HQ to the facilities, with no accountability at any level. And training is virtually non-existent.
"AOPA President Phil Boyer said pilots can soon look forward to phone calls being answered by a live briefer within 20 seconds, radio calls answered within five seconds and the requested information supplied within 15 seconds. Flight plans will take no more than three minutes to file."
This is easy for Phil to say. It's hard to know without looking at the contract itself. The FSS Handbook 7110.10 Flight Services and the antiquated equipment and procedures have certainly hamstrung efficiency. Will the new entity have to comply with the same outdated procedures, e.g., VFR-not-recommended statement; offering adverse conditions whether the pilot wants them or not; requesting PIREPs and telling pilots to contact Flight Watch on every preflight briefing and in-fight contact?
I don't see any reason for changes in the products that NWS provides. AWC/NCAR and others have been working on graphic and other advanced products, which when they prove more effective will be incorporated in the material made available to users.
Oakland FSS (Retired)
Challenger 600 Crash
I'm sorry, but don't basic checklists state, "Check flight controls -- Free and clear"? (NewsWire, Feb. 7) Maybe this simply doesn't apply in a fancy jet, but in all the singles I fly it does. Something's fishy here.
GA Anthrax Scare
Our present administration has the whole country running scared, claiming terrorists are around every corner (NewsWire, Feb. 7). This is as bad or worse as during the McCarthy era when everyone was a communist. As long as the current administration can keep the population uninformed and terrified with imaginary threats from small airplanes, it serves its agenda and GA does not stand a chance. We don't have citizens who want the truth, but instead we have the Mrs. Cravitz' of the world (remember "Bewitched"?) peaking from behind the curtains only seeing what the gov't has told them was there.
Name withheld by request