AVmail: Sep. 3, 2007

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Carbon Offset Program Geared for GA

I think AVweb is a great source of information. However, I was disappointed to see your inclusion of the Carbon Offset Program in your newsletter (AVwebFlash, Aug. 26). These programs are nothing more than a modern-day pyramid scheme. I followed the link to learn about this service and found no specific information as to what is being done with my money. The only thing that was definitively stated was that I would be charged $100 per year for the privilege of being billed for the use of my airplane. If you look at the link for companies that are currently using the service, you will see that it is empty. That should tell you something about the authenticity of this service. There are certainly valid organizations that are working to help the environment, but this carbon footprint thing is only a scam. I expect more from AVweb than to shill for these scams. If your readers want to part with $100 each year, please place an article giving my address. I will use the money to keep my airplane in the sky and promote general aviation. Jeff Case
Well, well, well. It was only a matter of time before the carbon-offset snake-oil sales ... er ... "industry" focused its lonely eyes on GA. Jeff Witward of Carbon Neutral Planes relates to us how he is "concerned about the public image of aviation." Really? I wonder why, because I don't seem to find his name anywhere on the FAA database of registered pilots. We also find that "he wanted to provide a way to mitigate criticism about its environmental impact." What criticism would that be? As far as the environmental impact of GA, is he citing a study? If so, where can I find the scientific data backing up such a study? I think we all would be wise to remember that contributing to carbon-offset programs does nothing to actually reduce emissions, just gives us a sticker to make us feel good about ourselves. I'm tired of the political rhetoric of global warming, regardless of what side anyone is on. I just want someone to show me some cold, hard facts that the Earth is doing something that it hasn't been doing for the last 10,000 years. Bob Frazer

Airlines vs. GA

First, let me compliment you on a great job of covering aviation. I've been a professional pilot for over 50 years. I was also an FAA Ops Inspector in Honolulu for about a year. I still live in HNL, but I work on the mainland. Recently, I did one of my many round trips on Hawaiian Airlines (LAX-HNL-LAX). I was surprised and annoyed to see a propaganda cartoon that showed a small jet (audio said the occupants were late for their tee time) cutting ahead of all the airliners (more audio regarding how the small jet was not paying their share of the cost of the airway system and causing the airline pax to bear the cost while causing delays). I thought that someone at your site or at the AOPA would have noticed and had some public comment about it. Or did I miss the response? Thanks for doing such a good job. Duke Morton

New England AFSS Closures

Attention all New England pilots! Lockheed-Martin's Bridgeport AFSS (BDR AFSS) closes its doors Sep. 24, 2007. Islip AFSS (ISP AFSS) chains the door this November. Burlington AFSS (BTV AFSS) and Bangor AFSS (BGR AFSS) are now part of history. Your nearest Flight Service station will be Lansing AFSS (LAN AFSS), Michigan, or the Washington HUB, Ashburn, Va. Goodbye local area knowledge and taxpayer dollars and hello Lockheed-Martin shareholder revenues! AOPAs 413,000 members should be outraged and Phil Boyer should be ashamed of himself. He has been "Washingtonized." Name withheld by request

Summer Flight Question of the Week

Your poll did not allow elucidation (QOTW, Aug. 30)! My wife Patricia and I flew our 1974 Bellanca Viking from our home north of Tampa to Cancun, Mexico, in June this year. Flight planned a direct across the Gulf of Mexico, but was waylaid by Lockheed-Martin. First, they did not tell me that the Warning areas were hot, then they lost the flight plan! We air filed while in Tampa airspace and getting vectors. Finally we were cleared via Key West to Cancun. All in all, though, a great trip with absolutely zero problems with aircraft or customs. Folks in Cancun were wonderful ... oh, except for the incessant time-share salespeople! Mike Hoover

Cessna Conquest

I'm not sure AVweb (and many other publications) are 100% correct in their coverage of the life-limit issue of the Cessna Conquest (AVwebFlash, Aug. 28). The subject merits further investigation. The way I read the FARs, Cessna can't do what you're reporting it's done, which is unilaterally impose a life-limit or otherwise modify the contents of the Conquest's Type Certificate Data Sheet without the specific approval of the FAA. In other words, Cessna alone doesn't not have the legal authority to unilaterally impose a life limit on the Conquest. It can recommend one or ask the FAA to impose one (by issuing an Airworthiness Directive). I suppose it could also ask the FAA for permission to amend the TCDS (Type Certificate Data Sheet). When one thinks about it, prohibiting unilateral action by the manufacturer to change the design, structure, or operating limits of a certificated aircraft makes sense. While one would think any post-certification change made by the manufacturer would improve safety, keeping the FAA in the loop helps insure this. After all, the FAA was closely involved with the aircraft's initial certification, and most likely it made the manufacturer modify the design or operating limits before it would issue a TC for the model. There's also the matter of protecting the consumer's interests. Without a requirement for FAA concurrence, manufacturers, perhaps in an effort to reduce their legal liability, could impose unreasonably strict or expensive maintenance or modification requirements on in-service aircraft. I'm not at all familiar with Australia's regulations. Perhaps in that country a manufacturer's service bulletins carry the weight of law and do not need CASA approval. While this issue may seem to be a nuance of regulatory interpretation, I think it's extremely important to aircraft owners and operators. Aircraft manufacturers ultimately have only their own interests at heart, and the profit motive drives all their decisions. (It's OK; I'm a capitalist, too.) Keeping the FAA in the loop helps protect the interests of aircraft owners of all stripes. I don't care if you publish this or not. But I hope you'll look into this issue a bit more deeply and tell your readers what you discover. Mike Truffer

Privatized FAA and User Fees

A few reasons as to why the air traffic control system [shouldn't be privatized] here are as follows: We have enough graft in our own government without farming it out to private contractors. A private company has one major goal: increasing profits on the bottom line. If they are covered by a "cost plus" contract, they will only find a way to not provide needed services and still charge for them. Every Tom, Dick and cousin-in-law will be given a job whether or not he's qualified, just to please some friend or family member. The last is private companies not doing a complete screening. We know private companies hire illegal aliens now ... what's to stop them from doing it as traffic controllers? A good alternative is to put the military in charge of the system. Art Schefler
I sent the following to my Congressman:
"Can your general aviation supporters count on you to do the right thing? It is simply the government's job to maintain our roads on the ground and in the sky. User fees are a private sector model that will capture a vital and critical industry into a bureaucratic juggernaut. Aviation relies on well-thought-out systems. Failure is fatal. The people need you to apply your careful attention to helping the airlines and general aviation. Setting up a user-fee production line designed by the airlines will leave the people holding the baggage of unfriendly, unsafe skies. Will the people packed in the MD80 holding on the ramp for six hours enjoying their port-a-potty prison think of you? Or do you really think they're swallowing the airlines story that it's "chitty-chitty-bang-bang" that can't learn to just stay in the right lane? The people do see the "Wizard of Oz" behind the FAA proposal. We're relying on you to adopt the bipartisan Transportation and Infrastructure Committee recommendations for renewing and modifying the aviation taxes supporting the Aviation Trust Fund. Keep your oversight!"
The podcast interview (Aug. 27) references the Post Office and Amtrak as a model of success? AOPA using scare tactics? That guy is getting paid by you know who, you know how. Todd Connell
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