Poetic Justice: The Results of AVweb's Poetry Contest

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Back in November 1999, two press releases from the Department of Transportation caught our eye. One trumpeted Transportation Secretary Rodney Slater's announcement of a final rule revising inspection and maintenance standards for steam locomotives that's right, steam locomotives. The other invited

To unions, our young Mr. Slater
refused to bow down or cater
"I'm using my brains
on steam powered trains
and I'll deal with ATC later!"

AVweb's own Bob Kaputa

It could be that dear Rodney,
Is on the right path,
in asking for childlike tome.

As we all know, it's the controller who blow
the airlines schedule to havoc.

But with juvenile eyes, the airport size
would no longer be a factor.

We could stack all the planes
like toy boats
pokemons, and tractors.

For as we know, for all their audacity,
the children know more, for sure,
about toy box capacity.


I wonder what Mr. Slater will report
when there are no more GA airports?
Save the Airports! Is that his motive?
No! He's still working on the locomotive!

John Webb

A VIP secretary named Slater
Preferred acting much later
As he covered his chin
He spoke with chagrin
"I'm responsible for many a crater."


A politico by the name of Mr. Slater
While known as quite a debater
Preferred making acting much later
His delayed actions, of course
Looked like the back of a horse
And he finished his life in a crater


A political hack named Slater
Viewed himself much greater
But when he was dead
He was buried instead
In a self-made very deep crater


Clinton's political sidekick named Slater
Was deemed as an aviation group hater
While he juggled with engines of steam
He lost the country's esteem
And ended up quite a self-hater

Walter Henry Wade

There once was a man from D.C.
Who made the following decree
"The children shall write,
about the beauty of flight"
While our planes plunge into the sea


Hickory-Dickory, Doc!
There's traffic at twelve o'clock.
If you're studying poetry
While ignoring ATC ...
BRACE YOURSELF for the shock!

Larry Bruce

T'was the week before Thanksgiving
And all through the nation
All the citizens were watching
Their television stations.

The sky is falling,
Or so it seems
The public was in panic
Over a few terrible scenes.

Two 767s had went down in flames
All the DOT would comment on
Was inspecting old trains

Poems, they wanted
About transportation
From the children through eighth grade
Who really don't care.

Poems, they're getting
Like it or not
From the pilots they're avoiding
In this really big plot.

Steam locomotives may be real important,
But explosions rest easy not in our minds.
Wake up, and rise off your laurels
Go out and cure this big quarrel.

There are those who want answers
And those who want justice
Please find out what is wrong
With the planes we fly
And help us to fix them
Before many more die.

Jeremy King

There once was a man name of Slater,
And action he always pushed later,
"The accident rate
is low at this date.
We'll wait for a much bigger crater!"


Ms. Garvey desires a truce
But Boyer has set the dogs loose
She can't take the ribs
By all of us FLIBS
Nor the calls for a well-fitted noose!


Sec Slater of the D.O.T
Has, once again, shocked you and me!
The system may crash
O'er the New Years Eve bash
But he'll have some nice kid poetry!

Larry Bloom

ATC can bite the dust,
In engines of steam we will trust,
A poem to ride shall save the day,
While safety slowly slips away

Pat Lowers

Rodney Slater and his group in D.C.,
Says write a poem to try and explain.
How to make today's traveling safer,
And be at less risk on a steam-powered train.

Never mind those big jets and small planes,
Dashing 'round in these dangerous skies.
We shall all just accept lack of vision,
As prerequisite for government eyes.

Curt W. Helling

Our tower needs more hours from controllers
To handle the jets of high-rollers
Who fly to Nantucket
With bucks by the bucket
But Slater thinks more of old coalers

Dick Mercer

There once was a Secretary named Slater,
who put off FAA matters until later,
He couldn't be rushed,
to listen to the fuss,
of those suffering the slow regulator.

Seems his office is likely too busy,
with regs for steam trains making dizzy,
To make enough time,
to address the whine,
from planes stacked overhead in a tizzy.

Scott Newman

I think that I'll never see,
transportation as lovely as steam.
WAAS is a mess,
ATC is in unrest.
And we can forget about Y2K.
Because at the end of the day,
Rodney Slater's steam regs will pave the way,
for exciting transportation opportunities in the good ol' USA!


To the Honorable DOT's Slater,
there's nothing that could be much greater
than trains with steam boilers,
coal shov'lers, and oilers
(unless maybe traveling by freighter?)

Perhaps in the ensuing millennium,
he'll finish the steam train compendium
and begin to unravel
problematic air travel
and policies we don't comprehendium

Dave Leonard

While ATC Wilts
New Century Steam Engines
This is Pathetic


Airplanes Are Complex.
Steam Engines I Understand.
Forward to the Past!


ATC Gridlock
Fly Circles Around Airport
Please Fix This Problem

Don Carter

And the winner of AVweb's Poetry Contest ...

"Slater to the Rescue"

One November morn in the cool still air
The skies were buzzing, above a thick cloud layer
The pilots were many and controllers were few
Aircraft were calling but could not get through

The radar screens were cluttered with a mass of flights
As the controller's panel gleamed with emergency lights
The computers were old and had failed once again
No one had thought of a contingency plan

Just when a solution could come no later
There he stood, Mr. Secretary Slater
"I have a plan, your worries are in vain"
I've revised the procedures to inspect our steam trains

A sigh of relief spread across the skies
As Slater's plan brought tears to our eyes
Our troubles are over, we can all go home
And our children can celebrate by writing a cute poem