AVmail: Feb 21, 2005
Reader mail this week about the FSS contract, armed and disgruntled airline pilots, the Lycoming lawsuit and much more.
I am in agreement with the AFSS controller from AOO AFSS (AVmail, Feb. 14). Mr. Boyer of AOPA says the performance parameters are guaranteed. By whom? If they aren't met, who are you going to complain to? If you're not satisfied with the response to your complaint, what's your recourse? AFSS won't be a gov't function anymore. Oh well, can't go back to being a gov't function. If Lockheed loses money on this contract, either expect user fees or for flight service to disappear. Most AFSSs equaled or exceeded the guaranteed parameters. If they weren't met, it was by factors outside of their control. The AFSS controllers did a heck of a job while being constantly "hamstrung" by the FAA.
Cessna Mockup Not in Chicago
Please note that your article about the Cessna mockup beginning its tour "in Meigsless Chicago" is about 24 miles from the truth (NewsWire, Feb. 14). DuPage Airport (in West Chicago) is that far West of the Chicago city limits.
I realize you took that info from Cessna's press release and it's a "minor" item, but all of us pilots in the Chicago area still feel the pain inflicted by King Richard II.
Military Training Bases in New Mexico
A possible solution to mid-airs between military jets and small civilian planes like C172s (NewsWire, Feb. 14) is that the military abandon their land-based stations and practice over the ocean. Small civilian aircraft do not normally fly over oceans.
Armed Airline Pilots
It appears that the airline pilot community is concerned about their status as Federal Law Enforcement Officers. One of the concerns is that U.S. intelligence agencies are not keeping them in the loop on aviation intelligence. The other most recent hint of discontent is the reluctance of the U.S. government to properly remunerate them for their sacrifices of being Federal Law Enforcement Officers.
First, there is absolutely no reason to compromise any intelligence by giving this information to the airline pilot community. Although over 400 pilots have attended the extremely short course to become a part-time Federal Flight Deck Officer, this training by no means puts them on par with a fully trained and full-time Federal Law Enforcement Officer. The decision to allow the pilots to tote their six shooters was not a popular one and only passed legislation because of pressure exerted on Congress by pilot unions and hysteria. To consider compromising our intelligence community by distributing information to individual pilots is inviting catastrophic repercussions.
Secondly, it was predicated at the very beginning of the quest by pilots to carry guns that their ulterior motive was to be compensated for this privilege. So we now hear cries of, "The government is cheap, or getting our services for nothing ... Why should we do this for nothing?" etc. Hey, folks, you politicked for this and made hysterical public cries that all airplanes would be hijacked unless you were allowed to hold gun fights in the cockpits.
Grow up. Be mature, responsible and start acting professional.
Jack A. Milavic
In reference to the article, "Building up to Knock Down Usable Runway," (NewsWire, Feb. 17):
Seems that some folks are very naive to developer's schemes. What better an area to developed and build homes on can there be than an old, closed airport? "Lets take a loss for a while in the sales of homes that are adjacent to or in alignment with runways [violation of Part 77?] until such time as the airport goes away. Then we can more than make up for any losses when we developed the whole darned thing." Lots of municipalities are failing to renew or acquire the needed "Avigation" easements as are required to keep trees trimmed and antennas away from approaches, which further fits the real-estate developers "Master Plan."
Lycoming Engine Lawsuit
If the jury made the decision based on the compound of the metal, as you state in the article (NewsWire, Feb. 17), then this compound can be duplicated, using Lycoming's formula, and the metal tested to see if it will hold up. Presuming Lycoming gave the Navasota company figures to use to produce the crankshafts, then it's moot. Using the input figures, the outcome will always be the same.
I am very concerned about the jury decision against Lycoming. I fly a Comanche 250 with a Lycoming O-540. It is a solid, dependable engine. I KNOW that Lycoming engineers know how to design and build a crankshaft. I believe the problem is the same as I see in my multi-national technical company. Financial Bean Counters are driving our businesses to make 'The Number'. Lycoming saved a few nickels in their crankshaft design and now it may cost them the company. The Bean Counter has already been compensated for his saving of the nickel. The Lycoming engineering management needs to take the company back...in my company to!
Lycoming and Continental engines were designed in the 1930s. These two companies have such a strong lobby in Washington that they have effectively blocked any new engine manufacturer from getting a new engine certified in this country. If auto engines were as reliable as aircraft engines, nobody would buy a car with that engine in it. If I had to have my car engine overhauled after 1400 hours of running, I would never spend $30,000 to $35,000. I would junk the car and buy another, which they would like for us to do (sell more engines, or boat anchors, which ever you prefer).
GAMA Production Figures
Why doesn't GAMA count helicopters in their annual aircraft manufacturer reports (NewsWire, Feb. 17)? Robinson Helicopter Company alone would bring the numbers of aircraft up at good rate. Last year they produced over 600 helicopters, worth millions of dollars. GAMA for some reason doesn't count helicopters as aircraft. They should wake up.
Rules at the DC3 Airports
The relaxing rules for the DC3 is some more window dressing (NewsWire, Feb. 14). You have to go to National Airport to get fingerprinted? As I understand, GA is prohibited from flying into that airport.
If they really will let pilots to fly into the DC3 they ought to have other sites where a pilot can fly and go thru the security screening to qualify. This would be especially beneficial for persons that fly into the area for business.
I suspect the procedures will get tweaked somewhat as TSA gets feedback on its "interim final rule," as happened with the flight-training rule (see the rule for info on posting comments). The procedures as they have evolved are helpful for local pilots, but still not convenient for folks from outside the area who want to use the airports.
That's not to say the procedures will end up as GA would like. But maybe a little less complex than they seem to be at the moment.
It seems to me that the TSA has successfully made the Socialism that Franklin Roosevelt envisioned to America a reality. Each time I fly I know it may be the last with the current mindset of fear and paranoia still prevalent in this country making General Aviation the 'evil entity' it certainly is not. Fly, fly, fly!
Make them irritable as the dickens at us!
Robert J. Cravey
FBO Property Taxes
We operate a small FBO in Macon County, N.C., (1A5) in Franklin, N.C. The local County Tax Assessor office has found a state statute that allows the County to assess a property tax against our airport lease. This tax has never been levied at this airport in the 30+ years in existence, nor can we find any FBO in our state where this tax has been applied. The County has placed an annual value on our lease that is double the amount of our annual gross sales. We have been contacting FBOs throughout our state warning them of the implications of this tax. This is not a tax on real property. It is a tax levied on their assessment of the value of your lease. Naturally we are contesting this tax through the legal channels, but beware -- it is an expensive undertaking. FBOs can be strongly impacted and/or put out of business.