AVmail: May 19, 2003

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Reader mail this week about flight schools in trouble, Camp David TFR, and more.

Flight Schools

I'm happy for those companies that have made through these tough times, but all in all, general aviation, flight schools, and A&P schools have suffered a 50 to 60% decrease in business. The small mom & pop operations continue to suffer and are closing at an alarming rate. The media tends to ignore these operations and focus on the bigger picture. I have not seen business this bad since 1978. Despite an aggressive ad campaign, business continues to fall off. My congressman/woman and senators assured me they were aware of our problems and vowed to help. The help has never come. Senator Lincoln told me to contact the Small Business Administration (SBA) for assistance; SBA basically told me, "No way." Insurance, fuel, and maintenance costs have gone out of sight. Dealing with city-owned airport property and their manager has also added to the frustration. I think general aviation will recover, but many young people will be left out of the equation because of the cost. Not too many years ago I rented a Cessna 150 for $33/hr.; today our average is $60 to $65. No wonder starts are down.

Bill High

Camp David TFRs

Another weekend, another Camp David TFR. This time it's 10, count 'em, TEN miles in radius. Out of all the complaints that I've heard about these TFRs, I've not heard anyone state the obvious question: Why does the U.S. government need Camp David at all? We already give the President a subsidized house at taxpayers expense in Washington. Most of our presidents are of independent means and don't need another presidential palace 60 miles or so from the big white one in D.C. Why pay for the extra security, too? We should stop complaining about the expanding TFRs and start complaining about wasting our tax money on some "Camp Feel Good" in the Catoctin mountains. Just sell the place. If he wants to get away, he can go home or stay at a Motel 6. He might even get free muffins for breakfast.

James Freal

Editor's Note

Many observant AVweb readers noted that the runner-up Picture of the Week, titled "Right Bank," looks suspiciously like an aircraft in a left bank. We agree, but the photographer chose the title and didn't explain it.

Arturo Weiss
POTW Editor