AVmail: February 28, 2011
Letter of the Week: Success Without Incentives
I have been reading all of the AVweb coverage recently about Embraer and the Melbourne area.
I wanted to reach out to you about an aspect of Southeast Aerospace's presence in the Melbourne area. We are excited too about having Embraer as neighbors; however, they are not the only thing that has been happening at the Melbourne airport.
Although we are a small business, we have thrived and grown into the world leader of avionics sales and service. We came to Melbourne in 1997 with one employee and now employ more than 100. We have never received government subsidies or airport incentives to move or remain at the Melbourne airport (unlike many others in the past and Embraer and AAR recently). We have continued to solicit employment opportunities (just as we are now), have hired, and have attracted many skilled personnel from out of state as well. Additionally, we have hired many local unskilled people and have trained them in this industry.
Currently, our revenues are generated from over 60 percent international sales, so we are bringing tens of millions of dollars back into the U.S. economy and the Melbourne area, not just by generating local jobs. We are a family-owned and operated company with very low employee turnover and continued growth as we expand into different markets (air transport, engineering, special missions, etc.). It is our intention to continue to justifiably grow, expand, and remain in Melbourne.
I know I am perhaps being boastful; however, I am proud of our growth, our employees, and the commitment we have made to the Melbourne area over the past 15 years. I realize that there may not be a great deal of juicy newsworthy content in this. However, as we continue to read how companies like Embraer and AAR are seemingly "saving" the Central Florida aerospace market and the Melbourne airport in particular, we would like for people to know that our company has been thriving on its own without incentives and government aid.
I can't recall any CEOs approaching me for ideas, but the decision by Embraer to locate their assembly plant in Melbourne, FL seems a disjointed one. Embraer's factory-approved pilot training center is CAE-SimuFlite in Dallas-Ft. Worth, where airports too numerous to mention have long been connected to aircraft manufacturing, and a ready, willing, already-trained work force is well-established.
Furthermore, Texas has no income tax and is well-equipped with harbors and ports of entry as well as rail and highway infrastructure. Texas has some of the world's most famous flight training weather. DFW is also well away from hurricane-prone coastal areas.
I wonder what enticed Embraer to Florida?
What's the big deal about Embraer being in Florida? They have been in Nashville for a few years. I worked there and enjoyed the experience.
You better hope that they don't pull a China back door move and get all built up and move to Mexico, like several American companies have done or are planning to do.
Robert J. Cravey
Regarding the Question of the Week: It doesn't make any difference if the production is on our soil. If the bank account of the manufacturer is outside the U.S., then it is a net drain of dollars, and we are so dumb as to have to buy those dollars back by paying interest on the money we borrow from the foreigners.
The largest export of the U.S. is debt. Time to wake up and stop buying foreign products.
What does it mean to be American-made? Apply the 51 percent rule used to establish amateur-built aircraft. Seems fair to me.
In Defense of Inhofe ...
Having seen several "rants" against Sen. Jim Inhofe, I felt is was time to explain that he is one of the best voices we have as a general aviation group. He flies an RV-8 and understands how we at the grass roots feel about being overly scrutinized and beaten with the "letter of the law."
A friend of mine with an aircraft induction company was in a heinous battle with a major aircraft powerhouse. They were unrelenting and totally out of bounds with respect to general aviation and aircraft repair shops. Senator Inhofe took up the cause, and the matter was "fixed," which in the long run will save private pilots and repair shops their businesses and money.
We here in Oklahoma are proud of the representation that Senator Inhofe has given us. So please save the partisan rhetoric for something worthwhile. If you have never flown into a mistake, please cast the first stone. There are those who have and those who will.
... And Not
Senator Inhofe regularly attends AirVenture. He is given the microphone and allowed to wax political over the main PA. A pretty poor representative of aviation, I think.
Regarding the Sen. Inhofe debacle, how about I add some more fuel to the fire? What FAR did the Senator violate when he took off on a taxiway without the airport manager's or FAA's permission?
Who's Watching the Watchers?
There appears to be significant concern regarding possible interference with GPS from the new 4G network.
It appears that two federal agencies deserve close scrutiny. First, the FCC appears to have permitted this without adequate testing, which is ridiculous. Second, why has the FAA remained silent on the issue (equally ridiculous)?
Millions of dollars have been spent by the FAA creating GPS, and their accuracy may now be in jeopardy. The professional competence of both agencies should be reviewed.