Last week, I was asked what I thought of the idea of a small airshow event going forward at the end of the July, about in the same time frame when AirVenture would have occurred. It’s to be a small outdoor-only event. The organizer asked me if I thought it would draw? Was it a good idea? Such that I have the first clue about this stuff, I answered yes to the first and conditionally yes to the second.
I suspect something like this wouldn’t attract as many attendees as it would have a year ago, because many people are not yet comfortable with some of the COVID-19 lockdowns now being lifted. But I also sense compliance fatigue is setting in and many of us, including those of us in aviation, are ready to relax and at least gain a glimpse of the new normal. And why shouldn’t we?
Nothing I’ve seen or read suggests anything other than this: SARS-CoV-2 is going to be with us for quite some time, even if a vaccine appears sooner rather than later. The degree of economic disruption we’ve already endured is simply not sustainable. So, the next task is to figure out how to live with this contagion until more effective strategies emerge and part of that might very well mean adhering to physical distance at shows, habitually disciplined hand hygiene and even masks. I suggested that the show organizer make this a serious condition of the event and not just give it winky lip service. It’s a chance to take a small step toward the kind of discipline we might have to muster for a year or two if we want to play with airplanes in large social settings.
To me, it’s a reasonable step between hard lockdowns and the serial cancellations nobody really wants. The only way to find out if these strategies will work is to try them on a measured scale. There will be infections, but maybe a tolerable number. We can’t hide our way out of this indefinitely.
EAA, of course, confronted this very question on a vastly larger scale, as explained in my interview with Jack Pelton last week. A crowd of a few hundred—or even a few thousand—is one thing, a half-million quite another, especially if it has a large indoor component, as AirVenture does. COVID-19 has been subject to unprecedented scientific investigation that, thus far, implies distancing works. Hand washing is a given. Masks, maybe. But if AirVenture went ahead, it’s unrealistic to think there wouldn’t have been transmissions and cases. Five? Fifty? Five hundred? And what’s an acceptable number? And what’s the damage to EAA’s reputation, not to mention the liability, if a major outbreak occurred? These are unanswerable questions for now. But a smaller event will have to consider them, too.
Everyone here in Florida is nervously watching major parks like Disney, Universal and SeaWorld for some kind of signal that they’ve figured it out. They haven’t. Disney World is tentatively opening some of its park this week. They’re not sugarcoating it: “An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death. By visiting Walt Disney World Resort, you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19,” Disney said in a statement.
The airlines face a different and much less flexible calculus, in my view. Passengers aren’t flying, I surmise, because they can’t calculate their exposure risk. Nor can the airlines, the government nor airport authorities offer much more assurance than a video of a hazmat-suited crew squirting disinfectant around the cabin. It didn’t help that a United passenger snapped a picture of a coast-to-coast flight packed full of masked passengers, after being assured that at least the center seats would be blocked. They weren’t. It further didn’t help that the photographer was a doctor returning home to California after a volunteer stint in New York’s COVID-19 wards.
Would you have flown on that airplane? It’s not clear to me what the airlines can do about this, but my idea is to promise the center seats will be empty and deliver on that promise. Adjust that strategy later as the data and results warrant. IATA counters that this approach will prevent airlines from even breaking even, but for the next six months to a year, these companies are in survival mode. There’s some anecdotal evidence that load factors are recovering, but return to profitability is probably many months away. Step one is to get more revenue flowing in.
IATA further claims the likelihood of virus transmission on commercial airliners is low. Whether that’s true or not—I think it might be true—it misses the point. The airlines have to convince would-be passengers that it is true so they’re comfortable and confident walking into the cabin. I’m sure they’re trying to figure out ways to do this and none of us should be surprised to see, as this crisis ages, some significant airline restructuring, downsizing and creative efforts to reassure passengers and get them back into the seats.
I think it has a direct corollary to what small aviation shows might have to do and, eventually, bigger ones. Make decisions on the best, accurate data you can find, independent of ideological bias, and combine that with a layered strategy composed of things that work to reduce risk. Or at least give them the confidence to come out from under the bed.
Whether we like it or not, this summer will be an experiment of sorts; for general aviation flying, for shows and for the airlines. And no one can say what the results will be.
From a purely Covid-19 battle-plan perspective, I believe aggressive testing has got to be in place, affordable, readily available, and accurate to figure out any cohesive, intelligent, and effective strategy of doing anything regardless if its business or recreation pursuits. Without massive testing, it is pure unadulterated speculation to get any reasonable accurate infection numbers. The evidence is clear, those areas (nationally or globally) that have been the most thoroughly tested, have had lowest overall death rates. Plus, the earliest opportunity for careful, targeted opening of the local economies.
Testing at an autopsy has scientific value, but little planning value for economic business recovery protocols.
Testing seems to be presented as some sort of option reserved for those who might have symptoms, or given when they enter the emergency room. It will take some time for a vaccine. However, if you know who is infected, was infected, traced the infected movements, you could begin laying out a strategy for doing, in this case, an airshow. That strategy would be based on practical evidence vs estimates generated by computer models, or trying to sort out science through political arguments/debates which seems to dominate most Covid-19 information being presented by most mainstream media.
The new political football is whether the death numbers are accurate. Geez…90k+ dead in a matter of weeks and we are debating if one died of Covid-19 directly, or died of Covid-19 related complications as an argument for making decisions to loosen or tighten local, state, county, or national policies to, at the very least, have some sort of control over infection rates?
In the past, when fighting anything that threatened the US economy, safety of its citizens, and our daily lifestyle such as 9/11, which killed three thousand in one day, we did not debate a recovery strategy by first assigning an acceptable death rate because 12-61K die of the flu each year, depend on a bunch of computer models to determine the likelihood of another attack in other cities, and make future plans without finding out who the bad guys are, where they are currently at, and how we were going to determine the terrorist infection of the US population. We are losing 1500-2500 people a day now for weeks and still have very little idea who is, was, and not currently infected.
We can mobilize to build masks and ventilators, working feverishly towards a vaccine, but we are still struggling to even test 1% of the population going into the fourth month of this pandemic. And the largest portion tested have either died, were admitted to the hospital with complications, or those who have had some sort of symptoms. Sort of like going only to an AA meeting to find out who, in the greater population, might be an alcoholic.
I would be happy to contemplate attending an airshow if I knew I was not infected, knew that I already contracted it and pose no threat to others, and knew that other attendees either already had it and are no threat, not infected, with those who are infected and contagious not allowed to attend. Massive, purposeful, available testing would provide that kind of useful information to me as a potential spectator or an exhibitor, plus the airshow sponsors including those performing. That is how we supply the US and global population the confidence needed to make a good decision. This also provides the confidence to look at our political and corporate leadership and evaluate their decision-making capabilities in light of evidence vs speculation.
Until then, everything we do, who we see, and where we go is simply a guess. That’s no way to live…suspecting everybody, but not really knowing if we got it, they got it, we are not infected, they are not infected, or we already had it, or find out after we are admitted to the hospital.
Testing offers no reliable assurances.
You can test negative this morning, then contract the disease this afternoon – without having a clue that you’re infected.
And numerous persons have exhibited the disease more than once. Again, no reliable assurances.
Hiding in a hole MAY protect you from exposure. Is destroying the world’s economy a price that is prudent to pay?
There seems to be (or at least, I had heard, before I got fed up with all of the “news” and information and misinformation and stopped listening) some question as to the number of false-positive and false-negative test results, at least for some of the tests. The problem is, there are apparently multiple types of tests.
And as you point out, you could test negative now, but positive later. It’s not a one-and-done event. But testing on it’s own isn’t what’s needed; it’s testing PLUS contact tracing, and isolating all who have been exposed to whoever tested positive (and of course testing them too).
There does seem to be a lot of guesswork around this virus, though, and that to me is the most concerning thing.
I would be interested on any info you might have on how drop zones are handling this since you skydive also. All Ohio drop zones are closed but some have announced plans to open right after Memorial Day. Some have put out some rules involving mask usage that I believe is impractical or down right dangerous. Skydivers have a track record of not following rules so it will be interesting to see how that will work.
This is a difficult issue, I’m afraid. My DZ opened two weekends ago. We have a number of nurses in the community–including one on my four-way-team–who had made some recommendations. These included mask use in the airplane as much as practical, cleaning the airplane and loading area between loads and encouraging distancing. I haven’t jumped since February and I’m on the fence going into June. I’m told that these minimal risk mitigations aren’t necessarily being followed.
Over the weekend, a photo appeared of skydivers jammed into the cafe for–of all things–a safety day presentation. One mask in use. It boggles the mind. People in general can be stupid about basic steps and mitigation to limit spread. Some skydivers take that stupidity to the next level.
As far as testing is concerned, how do you use the data? Do you isolate those who possibly test positive but show no symptoms? You look at the lawsuits now, it would turn into a complete armed insurrection if you did that. We’re not talking the military here. And what about HIPPA privacy rules. If isolation becomes the “solution” no one in their right mind would waive those rights nor should they.
My company is doing everything it can to avoid positioning crews via airlines. Not looking forward to any airlining myself and will volunteer to drive even 8 hours if it works with the schedule. Fortunately business is really picking up for us especially the pt135 charters. I think those persons with the means to pay the higher cost are going to turn more and more to charter operators to avoid the increasing airline hassle. Others will just drive if the hassle going through the airline process gets longer.
Right now at KCLE passengers are being instructed via the local media to show up four hours before departure time for a whole myriad of testing, poking and prodding before being ushered onto a flight through extensive social distancing procedures. Sounds like fun to me. Transportation preference is and will continue to evolve in ways only possible through this lovely pandemic.
Matt W…Okay, continue limited and sporadic testing. At least it gives people the illusion we are doing something. Lets keep on guessing staying with a one size fits all temporary solution. Gee, didn’t we just try that? I am not happy with those results. How about you? 90K+ are even less happy.
Yes, of course you isolate those who test positive. Isn’t that what hospitals do in pandemics? Isn’t that what you do when you have an infectious disease? Aren’t you glad there was isolation procedures in place in NYC when they finally understood how infectious and deadly Covid-19 is? Are you happy when sick, flu infected people, some of those potential crew members, those with colds, pneumonia, get on your airplane? Or do your prefer they stay home?
I did not hear any civil rights backlash then. Nor I did I hear any civil rights backlash when ebola, SARS, MERS cases were isolated. You would have had a slew of lawsuits if those infected were not isolated/quarantined. There was considerable testing of those infectious diseases. And that data was used quite effectively.
What has changed since ebola/SARS/MERS with Covid-19, in my opinion …this disease has and is affecting everyone, at the same time, globally. That is something, we as a country, and most of the developed world has never had to deal with. Since that is an inconvenient truth, lets ignore the limited but good data, or not bother to seriously collect it at all so we don’t have to deal with potential lawsuits because freedom is freedom and does not demand any responsibility?
We are free to simply continue to do what is really not solving the problem, in many cases adding to the dilemma because we don’t know who is sick. Our present and past attempts provided by a one-size-fits-all approach was attempting to buy a little more precious time, to get possibly get a vaccine…maybe…hopefully before mid-2021. No data, no use of that data means we either keep on guessing or simply throw in the towel, and let nature takes its course.
So far 90K+ dead and will pass 100K, I am sure, by the end of the month. But, we can take comfort that we still are free to do as we please adding to the infection rate, corresponding death rate followed with the inevitable, re-introduced, one-size-fits-all legislation that is sure to result determined by two political parties who cannot agree on anything. If we don’t get this right this time, kiss economic recovery bye bye with airshows only a memory to be seen on YouTube.
And what are you going to do when you get infected? With Part 135 flight time going up, you will be flying more often carrying more passengers. And be clueless to who is or is not infected, including yourself. What a way to fly. Yes, Covid-19…the gift that keeps on giving.
Hmm! Stir the AirVenture or Mini AirVenture pot?
We are in the mist of a global pandemic. To date, 90,000 individuals have died in the US, in 85 days. That’s more than 1,000 daily fatalities due to the COVID-19, with no end or cure in sight. Adding to the mess, the virus is not alone as the players include, scientific ignorance, political greed, disinformation, misinformation, malinformation, governmental disorganizations, learning curve, all fueling the highly infectious disease.
The malady continues to spread affecting the very young, young, not so young and old-guys like me. The more the COVID spreads, the more carriers, the more cases, the more deaths. There is a whole lotta uncertainty here.
So, until the potion is found, it looks to me like what’s needed is patience. Patience from the EAAers and others to allow for accelerated R&D solutions and for manufacturing of a vaccine, pills or for mojos to satisfy the anti-vaxxers. Hopefully, the remedy will be found by early 2001, as I see it from a layman’s stance.
So we adapt. I’d recommend emphasizing on EAA online informational and distance learning programs, like on how to build an experimental aircraft or on how to use shop tools, welding, riveting, composites, AutoCAD, machining and so much more. Yes, like an online aviation trade school.
In the meantime, lets cooperate by isolating, distancing, masking, if possible. Promoting mass gatherings is promoting the spread. Oh, Sharing is Not Caring!
No, I wouldn’t fly on a crowded airliner now. I’m in a couple vulnerable categories for this virus. And we don’t really know much of anything about it, so, trying to act like a big boy, I’m finding a few ways to give and help others that are having a harder time than me. Raf had some good suggestions and thank you Jim for your usual insightful perspective.
And, at least to me, what is this need for airshows with people grouping together during a worldwide pandemic? I’ve lived 840+ months doing what I can to stay alive and healthy and I can’t creatively adjust for a handful of months to protect myself, my loved ones and others from a virus that can unpredictably kill? I love aviation but airshows don’t even register on any thought stream whatsoever.
My state hasn’t even neared the top of the wave yet – cases and deaths increasing daily. The Navajo nation has 4000 cases with no end in sight, and many deaths. Airshows??? Why?
Santa Fe county here. I sense your pain.
Until the appropriate testing is acquired and in place, until we have a vaccine, let nature take it’s course. You cannot shut down an entire economy and sacrifice the majority of the population to save the minority. To do that is just immoral, self centered and just plain beyond comprehension. Better than 75% of deaths reported from the virus are people over the age of 65. People are smart. They will take the precautions necessary and weigh them against the risks. Get over it. Time to move on.
Which people are you coming into contact with that are smart? There seems to be a mix of people who think it’s all overblown and just the flu (maybe, maybe not, but it’s definitely more contagious) and are ignoring all social-distancing guidelines, to others who think wearing a mask protects them so they can go about their normal routine if they’re wearing one, to people who actually are hand washing and social-distancing. Further, I am definitely noticing “lockdown fatigue” with more and more people starting to go back to their usual business as if things were back to normal.
Yes, exactly. People will take risk based upon knowledge at the time of decision including knowing that you don’t know everything. Once you decide, you take on the consequences what ever they may be. No different than any other health care decisions made by all.
Most seem to be making decisions based more on “feeling” than actual facts and science, though…
Much better to infect a hundred via ten smaller events than to infect a thousand in one single event.
Liability was mentioned in the comments as a factor inhibiting the willingness to open events. It is outrageous that lawyers now hover over us, wanting to sue anyone they can blame for getting infected. As if the source of a particular infection is provable. Of course it doesn’t matter if they can prove it. The defense and plaintiff lawyers will get their $500/billable hour either way. Note that a certain party refuses to grant immunity from such suits. Thus a new avenue of lawsuits is opening up, sure to cripple businesses who now have to deal with yet another form of liability. GA itself has been crippled for decades by liability suits.
As Paul B noted…”People in general can be stupid about basic steps and mitigation to limit spread.”
As YAR’s has noted…”Testing offers no reliable assurances. You can test negative this morning, then contract the disease this afternoon – without having a clue that you’re infected. And numerous persons have exhibited the disease more than once. Again, no reliable assurances.”
As Gary B has noted…”Further, I am definitely noticing “lockdown fatigue” with more and more people starting to go back to their usual business as if things were back to normal.”
As Tom C noted…”Until the appropriate testing is acquired and in place, until we have a vaccine, let nature take it’s course. You cannot shut down an entire economy and sacrifice the majority of the population to save the minority. To do that is just immoral, self centered and just plain beyond comprehension. Better than 75% of deaths reported from the virus are people over the age of 65. People are smart. They will take the precautions necessary and weigh them against the risks. Get over it. Time to move on.”
These comments reflect a high percentage of the attitudes of the US citizenry. Based on a lot of personal research, carefully examining ever-increasing, evidence based science that is coming to light daily, aggressive testing will be the backbone of effective strategies that will greatly speed up opening up the economy safely.
Aggressive testing means not just one test as YAR’s correctly notes would be relatively useless, but sustained multiple testing. Why? As noted by Paul B and Gary B…the average US citizen has little stamina or desire to do minimally what has proven to, at the very least, slow down the spread of Covid-19.
Considering those accurate observations, aggressive testing would help form rapid, targeted strategies precisely because of “lockdown fatigue” and “People in general can be stupid about basic steps and mitigation to limit spread.” Why? As Tom C has noted…”Until the appropriate testing is acquired and in place, until we have a vaccine, let nature take it’s course. You cannot shut down an entire economy and sacrifice the majority of the population to save the minority.”
I am a strong proponent of aggressive, multiple, long term, sustained testing because it seems all lot of US citizens feel as he does. Maybe I am a bit more sensitive because I fall into the category of the largest percentage of Covid-19 deaths so far. Seems to be an acceptable demographic, an acceptable price for a lot of folks to justify getting herd immunity by culling out the 65 and older through simple Covid-19 attrition letting ” nature take its course”.
Not to me, however. Nor is this an acceptable price to pay from my wife’s, kids, grand-kids, and close friend’s perspectives. Even the EAA, AOPA, and ABS aviation groups I belong to do not want to see the 65 and up folks go away by “letting nature take its course”. My demographic group spends a significant amount of money throughout GA and represents a lot of active pilots, owning and flying a fair amount of GA airplanes. Cirrus sells a significant amount of SR22’s to us seemingly disposable 65+ year old’s who have been suffering the bulk of Covid-19 deaths up to now.
But Covid-19 has only infected only about 10%-20% of the US population based on recent numbers gleaned thru NYC, Boston, Chicago, and LA’s Covid-19 experiences thus far. Once again, aggressive testing would have provided better evidence. But we use what we got up to this point. With 90K+ dead and rising on an average of 1,000+ per day with “lockdown fatigue” setting in providing more opportunity for “People in general can be stupid about basic steps and mitigation to limit spread.”…can you imagine the death toll numbers throughout all age groups when we hit 50-60-70% infection rate thru ” let nature take its course”?
What kind of nation, economy, and quality of life will be left after that culling? Pretty hard for me to be smart, if I don’t know if I am infected, who is infected, who is not, and who has already been other than quit working, stay at home, isolate myself, and hope to not die because I went to the store to buy groceries as we “let nature take its course”.
As published by the CDC, adults between 65 and 84 who have been confirmed to have COVID 19,
between 31% and 59% have been hospitalized, between 11% and 31% have been admitted to intensive care, between 4% and 11% have died.
My wife and I are both over 65 with no pre-existing conditions, or, at least none that we are aware of.
Until and after a vaccine is found, we choose to let nature take its course. I am not going to jeopardize my children’s, or, grandchildren’s future to burden them with saving my ass, or, anybody else’s for that matter regardless of age. We will be prudent in making decisions with regard to our health just as we have every year with all of the other viruses that are floating around out there. I am not going to place the burden of my health on society. I will take care of myself, wife and family the way I have, we have for years.
To Paul’s original question, yes, many smaller events would definitely be a smart move. AOPA has been successful doing the same with their “Fly Inns” strategically held throughout the country. Be safe out there.
Yikes! “Let nature take its course.” And “My rights are are being violated.” Sounds to me like the Darwinian approach to a once in a century pandemic.
And I had hoped to see a 21st century response.
I seem to remember at age 19 giving up all my rights to protect American values and safety. That included consecutive 26 months of deployment. Today’s generation of hovering parents and grandparents are dependent on a dwindling resource of young folk able and willing to protect the way life they had.
Hopefully people running around the industry feeling entitled to categorize specific demographics as expendable is a mere annoyance and not a new risk to be considered for staging aviation events. If not, we have larger questions to ponder than the mere size and manageability of smaller than AirVenture aviation events.Thank you Jim H for addressing the issue in your own very cogent way.
Truth be told, I attended a fly-in last weekend. It was great. Lots of aircraft to look at, good people to talk to and a couple of pilots did mini airshows but nothing that would require waivers and or anything like that. The people at the fly-in didn’t seem to be overly concerned although people did keep distance there was no coughing of sneezing. Not a mask insight. There was even some handshaking but I didn’t participate in that. Will we find out someone has corona virus in 22 days? Maybe. Will anybody die from it? According to the data, active pilots have more probability of being killed in an aircraft accident. Spread of the virus is essentially a random event. As Paul continually states about flying, it’s all about risk management.
Cure the people and the wellness of the economy will follow. BTW: The mere suggestion of allowing a person to die without medical or other intervention as a remedy to a healthy economy is inhuman.
‘Will we find out someone has corona virus in 22 days? Maybe. Will anybody die from it? ‘
You meant to say ‘one of us’ instead of ‘someone’ and ‘anybody’, right?…
And if you die or a loved one dies or you gave the virus to one of the ‘great unmasked’ at the event and they die…or suffer greatly for the rest of your or their life with one of the devastating effects of this deadly disease…or you or they transmit the virus to a child and they suffer a heart condition for the rest of their lives…
but no worries, right, all were participants in sustained, aggressive testing for the virus all the days surrounding the event and day of. And the sustained, multiple testing was reliable.
THEN you have properly considered risk management (because you or someone still could have been asymptomatic) and the airshow ‘fun!’ during a pandemic without a vaccine was well worth it.
That’s right Dave. Now you’re on board. It’s about time someone saw the light.
Well, Tom, thank you, I appreciate the welcome. Not wanting to sound ungrateful, but I need you to do me a solid and have me expelled, because that light looks a lot like an oncoming train to me. Please hurry 🙂
🤦♂️ ok Dave. I understand…☹️
In my logical and rational opinion, the absolutely most unfortunate thing about this whole COVID-19 fiasco is that the incredible losses in our country and others, both in human life and insurmountable (and probably unrecoverable) financial damage, never needed to happen AT ALL. As usual, the responses of our government entities, and those of other countries, were extremely ineffective and mostly just plain wrong. The “cure”, which has not been proven to be a cure at all, has been far worse than the disease.
We have known, virtually from the very beginning, that those primarily at the greatest risk were the very young, very old, those who already had respiratory problems, and those with compromised immune systems. What SHOULD have happened was to STRONGLY recommend, and even legally mandate, quarantine and isolation of those people who were in these highest-risk categories.
If this had been done, those most at risk would have been much more protected from possible infection, and a large percentage of the resultant deaths prevented. Further, there would have been no need to virtually shut down and destroy our entire economy, creating unfathomable damage to innumerable businesses, our workforce, our children’s education, and to our country as a whole, from which we may never recover.
As usual, the “powers that be”, in this case our elected officials, handled this crisis just about as poorly as could possibly have been imagined in our worst nightmares. Will this terrible dynamic ever change???
Michael I don’t dispute some of what you say, but there is as yet no cure for this virus which invalidates your contention that the “cure has been far worse than the disease”. You are referring no doubt to prevention measures which were to lower the number of infected people and the infection rate curves so that among other things adequate amounts of hospital equipment would be available for those who need them. The medical profession was and remains agreed on the effectiveness of those protective measure which have been taken.
We don’t trust our non-professional aviator passengers to fly our airplanes, why should we trust non-professional “medical expert” opinion? What our elected officials did and continue in many cases to do wrong is to not trust the medical profession and to not take the virus and its unknowns seriously beginning in January with the first intelligent agencies’ briefings. Politicians taking this virus seriously early on would have produced a different economic outcome.
Here’s another take.
1. Of the 1.55 million cases how many are pilots?
2. How many pilots have recovered?
3. Then, out of the recovered, how many have scarred lungs limiting their flying privileges?
4. How many pilots have died because of the covid.
5. Will the FAA disqualify pilots from flight duties.
6. Will the FAA require COVID studies.
7. Will the FAA grant waivers or special issuance.
8. Will the FAA Guide for Aviation Medical Examiners, establish that any degree of the COVID is disqualifying for all classes of medical certification?
Sadly, this COVID is a serious, extensive and complicated medical condition. It will open a can of worms.
So 1,169,107 people (U.S.) still have the disease? That comprises 75% of the entire case history. Doesn’t sound right…
“Confirmed cases” include persons with laboratory confirmation of COVID-19 infection.
“Recovered cases” are those who were hospitalized due to a severe COVID-19 infection.
The rest, 1.2 million, may be “mild cases” in the healing process or recovered. Documentation here appears to be deficient as many recovered cases go unreported due to the lack of requirements for healthcare providers to report.
I’d be VERY surprised if the FAA took any action against the medical certificates of recovered COVID-19 airmen or ATC specialists. Many endemic diseases in the US can cause serious, lasting lung damage including Valley Fever, Brucellosis and a host of others. The FAA has never included any of these in its medical questionnaire. If it did, the form would be pages long and the agency would need to provide respondents with a medical dictionary.
If, on the other hand, a significant number of recovered certificate holders suffer organ damage that legitimately compromises their ability to safely exercise their privileges, then you are right and the FAA will take action. I don’t believe either will happen but I’m not going to say you are wrong at this point.
Kim, my first flight was out of an airport in Chula Vista CA, I was 9 years old then. It was in an Aeronca Champ and the 20 minute flight stuck. I wanted to be a pilot. Then Viet Nam came along where I was in airmobile ops as an infantryman. Loved it. I started flight school as soon as I returned stateside. That was 54 years ago. My passion for aviation flourished over the years. I enjoy and wish to share this passion like forever, or at least for a few more years. My life has been good in this wonderful world of aviation. But, if I’m going to die, it better not be because someone coughed on me. Therefore, I’ll remain on guard against the COVID, avoid crowded places, not go to mass gatherings, and stay about 6 feet from others. That said, I will not attend, nor will I recommend attending mini AirVentures, I’ll wait for healthier times. It’s bad enough going to the store.
On the FAA and the COVID – Que Sera Sera!
It seems we are about the same age and we’ve had very similar life experiences (I lucked out and served in Germany). For what it’s worth, I agree 100% we should be following CDC guidelines – for ourselves, our families and for the welfare of everyone we come in contact with.
AVweb’s poll “Would You Attend a Small Airshow” is instructive. I’m blessed with the gift of being able to enjoy a hobby airplane and flying in solitude.
In the US…1,629,176 confirmed Covid-19 cases
481,036 confirmed closed cases…meaning the Covid-19 patient either recovered and/or discharged from the hospital or died…
384,269 recovered/discharged (80%)
96,767 died (20%)
1,148,140 confirmed open Covid-19 cases as of 5/21/2020
Total tests performed…13,636,063
Tests performed per 1 million of the population…41,196 4.1% of the population tested
Highest test rate per 1 million population is Rhode Island with 120,015 tests. Total cases…13,736 Active cases 12,073 Closed cases 1,663 Deaths 579 (35% of all closed cases resulting in death) Percentage of population tested 12%
Lowest test rate per 1 million population is Idaho with 22,026. Total cases …2,534 Active cases 1,078
Closed cases…1,453…deaths 77 (5.3% of all closed cases resulting in death) Percentage of population tested 2.2%
New York…Total cases 366,357 Active cases …274,341 Closed cases…92,016 Deaths…28,885
( 31.2% of all closed cases resulting in death) Percentage of the population tested 8.5%
Alaska…Total cases 402 Active cases…36 Closed cases…366 Deaths…10 (2.7% of all closed cases resulting in death) Percentage of population tested 5.5%
The vast amount of Covid-19 cases have yet to be closed. So far, of the closed cases 20% have died. Since we have only tested 4.1% of the population with already 97,000 deaths due to Covid-19 and 1,148,140 cases still active, with 20K+ new cases added per day, is it wise to open up the country based on constitutional decisions rather than the evidence the numbers are providing?
I would like to see the country open it’s economy as soon as possible. However, with only 4.1% tested, with virtually all 4.1% tested being administered to symptomatic patients, how do you effectively open the economy?
Without knowing the infection rate through consistent, aggressive, multiple testing, including those who had or have the virus yet asymptomatic ( but highly contagious), I don’t see an efficient, economical, and safe way of setting logical parameters of opening areas least effected by Covid-19 while taking considerably different measures for other areas devastated by this pandemic. Seems like this country is simply gonna open up because of sheer frustration of an essential initial lockdown, adding needlessly to the death rate with deadly consequences extending for a long time as a result. Hindsight, which always sees with 20/20 vision, will not be kind to those who are making these decisions being made on emotional frustration, political and peer pressure rather, than evidence based on known numbers. And by the end of May, over 100,000 less voters to voice their opinions in this continuing catastrophe.
Based on all of the lawsuits and the businesses and livelihoods shutdown, and those who are defying those orders, the next election cycle where state and local officials are elected (or possibly re-elected) should be interesting.
In my opinion, these are easy questions.
#1: Stop thinking in terms of some humans telling other humans what they can and cannot do, and what they must and must not do. That is explicit slavery. No human has any legitimate basis to tell others what to do or not do.
#2: If you want to hold an event … then hold the event. It is up to you and you alone to decide whether to hold the event, and what kind of event, and what measures and situations will exist at the event.
#3: If any individual wants to come to the event or not … that is their decision and their decision alone. If they don’t want to take the risk, then stay home. If they want to take the risk, then consider going.
Simple as that. Everyone can research, discuss, argue, yell, scream, holler at each other all they want. But when it comes to what you want to do, and what others want to do …
STOP THINKING IN TERMS OF YOU OR ANYONE TELLING OTHERS WHAT TO DO.
The notion that answers like these should be conducted as arguments about what should EVERYONE be forced to do … is inherently totalitarian and inherently disgusting. There is a great deal of totalitarianism and disgusting going around these days.
Bottom line: Do whatever you wish, and leave others free to do whatever they wish. Simple as that.
My uncle Johnny has been dead for many years.
So I can’t ask him how he, and all the other boys in his small Indiana town, reacted when they were ordered to report to the selective service office in 1942. If they felt the War Department was “inherently totalitarian” and had no “legitimate basis” for drafting them, they kept it to themselves. He spent much of the next two years in a B-17 over Europe where personal freedom and the economy were the least of his concerns.
My uncle would have been livid over having to comply with the CDC guidelines if he was with us today. But he would have done it.
Here are some interesting statistics. This is the very first information I looked up when the COVID19 issue came to my attention in a significant way:
8,000,000,000 == # of humans on planet earth.
70,000,000 == # of humans who die each year.
16,000,000 == # of humans who die each year from contagious diseases.
500,000 == # of humans who die each year from the normal seasonal flu.
250,000 == # of humans who may die this year from COVID19.
As it turns out, that estimate of 250,000 looks like it will be reasonably correct. Some claim the number will be more like 500,000 or so, but that is because they accept the utterly dishonest practice of counting all sorts of non-COVID19 deaths as being COVID19 deaths.
But … differences of a factor of two or so are insignificant when it comes to drawing reasonable conclusions from these numbers. If 16,000,000 people die each year from contagious diseases, and to shut down the world economy to attempt to save many of those 16,000,000 lives was not worthwhile … then any claim the world economy needs to be shut down to save some portion of 250,000 (or 500,000) lives is a clear and obvious LIE, SCAM, FRAUD, ABSURDITY … even before anyone even begins to estimate how many humans will be killed and/or destroyed as a consequence of the shut downs.
Nearly the entire human race appears to be dumber than rocks. If the world economy must be shut down to attempt to save some of those who will die from COVID19, then the world economy must be PERMANENTLY shut down and destroyed to attempt to save some of the 500,000 who die of normal seasonal flu … even if hundreds of millions or billions will die from the consequences of shutting down the world economy. This is how stupid modern humans are. Disgusting!
PS: That 16,000,000 number is higher than appropriate for this specific analysis, partly because some contagious diseases cannot be transmitted by contact, touch, breath or similar. So cut that 16,000,000 to 8,000,000 to be more realistic (and very conservative). As you can see though, this does not change the thought process or the obvious conclusions. After all, just the 500,000 who die from seasonal flu is being considered enough to justify shutting down the world economy and killing hundreds of millions or billions of humans as a consequence.
‘Everyone can research, discuss, argue, yell, scream, holler at each other all they want. But when it comes to what you want to do, and what others want to do …
STOP THINKING IN TERMS OF YOU OR ANYONE TELLING OTHERS WHAT TO DO.’
Good one! Clever use of irony there, pal. And here I was trying to take you seriously…
I don’t know why people always seem to be taken aback that something like 1.3% of the population of the world die for one reason or another every year.
If we have a vaccine or a treatment that nearly eliminates the fatal outcome of COVID-19, I will go out of my way to attend Airventure next year to do my part to support the aviation economy. On the other hand, if we are still in the situation we are in today, I will do my part by staying home even though I don’t feel particularly at risk myself.
Your math…or it appears, someone else’s math does not take in account that the human race has no immunity to Covid-19. Since January…less than 5 months, there are already 340,000 deaths and counting. There are as of 5/21/2020 5,303,393 known Covid-19 cases officially diagnosed which makes up less than 1% of the global population based on 7 billion. Can you imagine the numbers once the planet gets 20-30-40% infected thru the pandemic rather than a controlled vaccine program or immunity gained thru plasma exchanges with those known to have had the virus but have recovered. Of course, you would have to know, by testing who had had Covid-19 and recovered to do the plasma exchange.
I would agree with your conclusion about making your own decision regarding attending any kind of event if in fact your decision did not affect me, or my wife, kids, grand-kids, my neighbor and the strangers around the rest of the block. I wished that your decision about your participation, knowingly or unknowingly, only affected you. Unfortunately, that is not the case. A very nice couple in South Korea unknowingly infected 17,000 people all across the globe. I would not want that kind of responsibility and I am sure you do not want it likewise.
Adding a completely unknown( so far) yearly total of deaths via Covid-19 to your global total that has occurred as a yearly death box score we have come to accept as “normal’ or expected, makes no sense in trying to equate what is the acceptable additional number to die to maintain a global economy status quo. If you have a global pandemic affecting all of humanity, now or very soon, that alone without any other influence will cause a major global financial collapse taking with it the US economy. You need warm, alive, healthy bodies to have and maintain a workforce capable of sustaining a decent economy. Have a large percentage die or become sick, in a very short time frame, there is little to no productivity, therefore no economy. Right now, the US meat industry is cripple enough to send meat prices very high, and the meat department in the average grocery store has daily inventories that is either very low or non-existent.
Experiencing a global economy collapse thru an uncontrolled pandemic makes no sense and certainly does not offer any hope of some sort of control or long term solution. There would be no economic recovery, just a new normal born out of chaos.
At least with what rudimentary lockdowns many countries have instituted has at the very least bought some precious time to get our collective acts in gear for a workable, controllable, predictable, and sustainable solution vs a global economic and human health crisis waged with a “every man for himself” attitude. No one comes out on top in global economic society where every country has their hands in each other’s pocket yet trying to cohabitate with only the strongest survive mentality.
Freedom? Kiss that good-bye after a global economic collapse in tandem with a global health crisis. Forget about an airshow or flying a personal airplane. Just surviving, socially, economically and health-wise will be a full time endeavor for both the US citizens and what’s left of American leadership when protests turn into riots. It will make Watts look like an afternoon picnic.
This whole pandemic response has become incredibly emotional. I found myself swayed first one way then the other by the comments. Thank you (and Raf S, Dan V, and Dave M) for taking the time to post clear responses to the many pilots who tried to knock your arguments down. Please continue.
Would You Attend A Small Airshow? Not now. Maybe in a few months.
Maybe the question should be:
“Would you prohibit others from attending a small airshow?”
Let the justifications/rationalizations flow.
Maybe the question should be:
“Would you attend a small airshow knowing that 44% of poll respondents who are willing to attend small airshows now do not care about physical distancing?”
Maybe in a few months.
It’s a fair question.
At our local VA, Frank, identifiable as surly but burdened with a big heart, will throw you out far enough to enjoy the cool pines of the Mogollon rim if you try and visit someone in the Phoenix building. Visitors at nursing homes across America have to accept a dreamlike visit between glass, no matter their condition or their loved ones and if infected by Covid or not.
Major league sports is coming online without fans in the stands. You will be arrested if you sneak in and request a dog and a beer from a box seat. But apparently from a large segment of the populace you will be looked upon as a freedom fighter, a true Patriot, a hero.
So, other than all directives during a deadly pandemic to come from the health care segment, and everyone else – everyone- taking their cues from this enlightened group, I don’t have a good answer. What would be yours, Yars?