AVmail: June 28, 2010
Letter of the Week: Federal Miscommunication Commission
Regarding the FCC's proposal to ban 121.5 MHz ELTs: What a classic case of lack of coordination with other agencies like state highway patrols.
In February, our EAA Chapter 1445 at Casa Grande, AZ had as our guest speaker the chief of the Arizona highway patrol aviation section. The thrust of his talk was on their contribution to aviation search-and-rescue. I quote what he said, and it makes a lot of sense: "Due to budget constraints, we at the Arizona Highway Patrol will not be upgrading our aircraft to the new standards in the near future. Therefore, we will continue to use the 121.5 frequencies."
He didn't have a list but said many other states have the same problems, and he recommended pilots continue to use 121.5.
So now the FCC comes up with this new rule, obviously having not coordinated with other agencies like state highway patrol aviation sections which, in most cases, next to the Civil Air Patrol, do the lion's share of search and rescue. Unbelievable.
Any Frequency in an Emergency
FCC regulations allow the use of any transmitter, licensed or unlicensed, to be used on any frequency in the time of an emergency. Unless the FAA goes along with the FCC ban, the 121.5 ELTs can quietly sit in our airplanes until needed for an emergency.
Blessing, Cleverly Disguised
I think the FCC's bizarre intention to declare 121.5 ELTs unlawful by August may be a blessing in disguise.
I was, of course, disappointed when we lost the advantage of satellite tracking of the old 121.5 signal. The search-and-rescue personnel that we depend on will, no doubt, have a harder time finding us if we crash.
Luckily, their ranks will now swell, presumably with legions of FCC employees searching for our illegal 121.5 signals.
Your survey really needs one other choice: "No, I am not going to get one, and don't care what the FCC thinks or does." Other doesn't cover that option very well.
You forgot to have an answer stating that the responder already has a 406 MHz ELT.
G.I. Bill Incentives Available
The quote attributed to Cessna CEO Jack Pelton in regard to G.I. bill-type pilot training incentives being unavailable is misleading. He makes no specific mention of the Yellow Ribbon G.I. Education Enhancement Program, which is in fact a post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act that allows higher learning institutions in the U.S. to enter into an agreement with the VA to fund tuition expenses that exceed the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition rate. The institution can contribute up to 50 percent of those expenses, and the VA will match the same amount as the institution.
I work in the College of Aviation at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. We have seen a dramatic increase of military veteran enrollments utilizing this government-sponsored opportunity.
Cessna CEO Jack Pelton's statement on the lack of G.I. Bill incentives is very misleading. A VA education beneficiary who converts from Chapter 30 (Montgomery G.I. Bill) or Chapter 1606 (Reserve G.I. Bill) to Chapter 33 (Post-9/11 G.I. Bill) will receive benefits for flight training under Chapter 33 at the Chapter 30 or 1606 rates, which is 60% of the cost of flight training.
Dept. of Veterans Affairs
California Center for Education Services
Education Compliance Survey Specialist, Flight
How to Attract New Pilots
The answer to Cessna CEO Jack Pelton's concern of a "looming" pilot shortage is simple. Improve the pay, benefits, and working conditions of the professional pilot, especially within the airlines.
Having been a professional pilot for over thirty years, I have witnessed (and experienced) the continued decline of this once "dream job." Without question, my most rewarding positions have been within the corporate world, and if I were given the opportunity again, I would have stayed there.
In my opinion, the conditions within the industry, especially the airlines, are no longer worth time and expense required for the young man or woman looking for a rewarding career.