AVmail: Nov. 5, 2007
No More FSSs in the Northeastern U.S.
Come this Sunday (11/4), the last remaining Flight Service Station (ISP) north of Virginia, east of Michigan will close for good. This means that when you're flying in New England, New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, the Flight Service person you're talking to on the radio most likely will not be familiar with the local weather phenomena. Only a handful of people from eight (MIV, IPT, AOO, BUF, BTV, BGR, BDR, ISP) closing stations have moved to the DC Hub.
Lockheed Martin decided to put the hub in one of the most expensive places to live in the U.S. Even if people wanted to transfer, they couldn't afford it. So now — during critical autumn, winter, and spring flying weather — you Northeast pilots are on your own. This is a dangerous situation created in the name of saving money. So next time you call on the radio and the person answering (if you get an answer) is clueless about the weather in your area, call Phil Boyer, the FAA, and Lockheed, and thank them for putting your and your family's lives in danger.
NASA Survey Painting a Target on Participants?
The survey (NASA Will Release "Secret" Pilot Safety Survey - Oct. 31, 2007) was not done scientifically — and was done with a promise of confidentiality (as is the case of almost all NASA safety input). If NASA is forced to release all the survey data, it will be the end of the input of safety data from pilots. Who will want to be called before a Senate committee to lambaste the FAA — or have the data used against them? The only input NASA will then receive is from pilots who think they may have committed a violation — just self-serving!
Reactions to the Nomination of Bobby Sturgell
One week after testifying before the House Aviation Subcomittee on how upset his members were for his support of the privatization debacle of what was once a great Flight Service System, AOPA President Phil Boyer endorses the nomination of Bobby Sturgell to Administrator of the FAA. (Groups Avoid "U" Word in Sturgell Reaction - Oct. 24, 2007) Sturgell was completely behind the user fee scam and testified last week that a change is needed in the funding system for the air traffic system. That is code for user fees, folks. The fact that James May of ATA is gleefully endorsing Sturgell should be a warning signal. AOPA members should be outraged. Please write Mr. Boyer if you agree.
In its coverage of the President's recent nomination of Bobby Sturgell to serve as FAA Administrator (Business Groups Laud Sturgell's Experience - Oct. 23, 2007), AVweb mischaracterized NBAA's statement as "terse" — that's certainly not how the statement was intended. Rather, we had hoped to underscore Bobby's experience as both a pilot and a government official, and to say that we look forward to working with him.
Vice President, Communications
National Business Aviation Association
Regarding your news item about airport security and crew members (Norwegian Pilot Quits, Citing "Security Madness" - Oct. 23, 2007):
I have been flying for airlines since 1973 and now fly for a Cargo company. I too am fed up with the security at airports when in uniform. Our company also does military contracts, and we are cleared to operate out of military bases. This has made it necessary for us to have extra background checks besides the 10-year background and fingerprint checks the TSA/Homeland Security require. Yet I've had to remove my belt, shoes, and had to put up with secondary screening. At PHL recently, they subjected me to secondary screening and even went to the trouble of running the detector around the inside of my uniform hat. This, with all the other checks they carried out (i.e., emptying my fight bag, etc.), took 20 minutes. The only consolation [of] being in uniform is that you can jump the long lines at the check points.
I have had a small screwdriver, for my glasses, taken off me — yet when I get to the aircraft we carry two big fire axes! It is about time that air crew were issued with bio-metric ID cards. We already have in place the CASS system for jumpseating, where you can be identified as a bonafide crew member. After going through security checks so many times during a duty period (week-in, week-out) and being subjected often to the petty whim of some TSA so-called "Federal Agent," the whole procedure becomes a joke.
In response to Rae Willis (AVmail - Oct. 22, 2007):
Despite Cirrus' attempt to bid for [Columbia], I think they'd do a far better job at keeping up with the technology and incredible aerodynamic wonders that [Columbia] has produced over the years. Cessna has never produced such an advanced aircraft, and I don't believe they would put it to good use. [Columbia] and Cirrus are light years ahead of Cessna despite being younger companies. I would much rather see [Columbia] in the hands of Cirrus than in Cessna's. It's a shame they have to sell their company in the first place. [Columbia]'s acquisition will be a great loss to the aviation community, regardless of who takes it over.
I'm not sure how I started receiving AVweb, but I am glad I do. I just wanted to say thanks for the great articles and pictures. AVweb is very informative, and I look forward to reading it each time. Keep up the good work.