Top Letters And Comments, January 25, 2019
Drones Cause Newark Ground Stop
For what it's worth, I am a retired air traffic controller, non-current (as of three years ago) private pilot, and very active drone operator.
I find it ironic that when a human being is accused of being a mass murderer, the press gives them the benefit of the doubt by calling them the "alleged murderer." It seems we should at least give same benefit of the doubt to the drones in this case. A much better headline would've been "Drones allegedly cause...."
Sunset on Monday in Teterboro was at 5 PM. It also was one of the coldest days of the year. For anyone to open flying drones at all, never mind at 3500 feet, in such weather requires a stretch of credibility to start with. That a pilot could actually identify a drone as the sun is going down over the horizon adds to that lack of credibility. (yes, at 3500 feet since it may have been just a few minutes later.)
Can we please stop jumping on the "drones are going to kill us" bandwagon so quickly in the future please?
Is TSA Necessary?
I thought more about the TSA and its impact on travel with this one article today than I have on any previous TSA oriented submittal, possibly combined. Bravo for a clear and concise submission. I travel frequently on the aluminum tubes for business, often internationally. I think it was spot on.
An interesting discussion, though the initial question was something of a straw man. Given the treaties in force, not to mention the power of insurance companies, going back is very unlikely.
Still, I do think a lot of what goes on is theater. The security-industrial complex, by its very nature is profit driven and will always one step behind (anything a person can think up another can get around), hence there is no end to its growth whether this makes sense or not. After all, this is the gang that thinks 1 person with 1 liter of water is a threat, but 10 friends traveling together each with 1/10th of a liter are not. And body scanners--as an American I am utterly ashamed that people will put up with this crap, but they came in after Obama went to India with the president of the company that makes them and somehow found stimulus money for their construction in Malaysia (campaign contributions, anyone?)
Or the matter of demanding IDs. Why should Americans show any sort of internal passport within our own country? Well, as explained to me by a person who helped set the system up (after Clinton used the phony excuse of Flight 800's crash to justify doing something) it lets the airlines control black marketed tickets. It certainly is worthless except to keep tabs on where citizens are traveling. Yet once again people accept such crap in the name of fear.
The biggest danger of the system is that Americans become used to being checked. So now baseball stadiums, more and more corporations, some theaters are doing such things...land of the free and home of the brave? A joke. And as I said there is no end to it. Senator Byrd wanted to make every little FBO a fortress--ridiculous, but who is to say that won't happen down the road?
I could go on, but you get the idea. While some protection may be necessary, demanding that citizens be passive objects of mistrust is not the answer. Sadly, we may be beyond rational public discussion on the subject. Like the "war on drugs," or pointless foreign wars based on lies (great for making enemies which in turn justifies more measures), there are big profits to be made here. And that, and the simultaneous power to control the public, are all that are needed.
Landing On Roads
I loved Paul's video on road landings - it was both humorous and instructive. One quick correction - the aircraft that landed on the NJ highway was a Cessna 205 or P206 (note the fixed gear and the smaller utility door on the left side, versus the double door on the right side of a U206), not a 210.
Tipping Flight Attendants
I just retired after 39 years on the flight deck. I am opposed to tipping of flight attendants. I don't want them giving "extra attention" to a generous passenger during an emergency, such as moving them closer to an exit etc. More importantly, I don't want them "bending" the security rules such as preventing them from congregating near the forward nav or moving through separate cabin classes. No one has considered the dynamics that can come from this such as dissension among the passengers and jealously among the flight attendants, which already occurs and will only be aggravated by tipping. It is a terrible idea.
I think of myself as a good tipper but it has never occurred to me tip a flight attendant. Their responsibilities are passenger safety and comfort, and the ultimate service they deliver is getting you off the airplane safely in an emergency. They are professionals who should be treated respectfully by passengers and compensated fairly by the airlines that employ them. By contrast, most waiters and waitresses earn a so-called tipped minimum wage, meaning their hourly compensation is likely to be less than the prevailing wage, with the expectation that tips will [more] than make up the difference. We can be forgiven for speculating about Frontier's long-range compensation plan for FAs. What will the airline do for the cockpit crew? Pass the hat?
Several years ago I read one of those frequent articles on tipping protocol. It explained in fair detail who and how much to tip among the various service providers we encounter every day. I was surprised when I came across the part about tipping flight attendants, as I had never considered doing so. It explained that, while most people rarely think it appropriate, flight attendants are related to the stewards aboard ships, and they routinely receive a gratuity from passengers. However, the guide suggested that, as with waiters in restaurants, the tip be given at the end of the trip rather than at the beginning or during. That way, it was to reward good service rather than appearing to curry favor in advance. I admit that Frontier's approach seems in poor taste, and could cause issues with service during the trip as well as becoming a bargaining chip at contract time. My personal opinion is that tips are a reward for good service and should not be considered as a routine part of any transaction.
Would Controllers and TSA Workers Be Justified In Staging a Work Action Because of No Pay?
All Federal workers should expect to undergo these temporary politically caused paycheck delays. A savings of 3 months expenses is the beginning of a sound emergency plan and an indicator of good judgement. Allowing employees to vent their disagreement with the delays to their congressional representative is already legal and the only action that can effect a change. Other demonstrations of political disagreement that affect the public's right to travel should be discouraged through their union education channels. Having the public lose empathy will cause a degradation of their value to society. If someone must re-employ temporarily for their own financial situation (e.g. new hires with less than 2 years), they should be rehired ASAP and without workplace penalty.