AVmail: May 5, 2008

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This [MOA] controversy is stirring up the controllers. While using VFR flight-following on a clear day on my 14-hour Sun 'n Fun trip home from Florida to New Hampshire, I was about to enter an MOA in South Carolina when the controller indicated it was now hot (no warning, no schedule -- he had just found out about it) and I should divert 45-degrees eastward more in to the headwind. I contemplated the issue and decided, discretion being the better part of valor, to comply. As I went along and just cleared the space, it became cold again in 15 minutes, just as I had passed it. The extra fuel and time cost me about $20 and made my planned fuel stop less safe. Looking back, I think next time I'll cancel the flight following and stay the course -- perhaps to "educate" them on multi-use airspace. Drew Gillett

Fuel Tax / User Fees

AVwebBiz (Apr. 29) notes a proposed fuel-tax increase of $0.142 per gallon of Jet-A (from $0.218 to $0.36 per gallon) versus a $25 per leg user fee for turbine, non-commercial aircraft. Do the math and you'll see that the break-even is 176 gallons (increase of $0.142 x 176 = $25). Take a look at the average legs and fuel burn for turbine aircraft and most might be a lot better off with a $25 per leg fee. The government will also retain more implementing a fuel tax because the collection mechanism is already in place. If anything, this is going to cost GA more and also net the government more money than $25 per leg. Many states also tax fuel and do so as a percent of the bill (instead of a set amount per gallon), so as price per gallon increases, their tax increases. Be careful for what you wish for. Richard Clark

Florida Use-Tax Scare

The scare over Florida's use tax was, as we saw again, unwarranted (AVwebFlash, Apr. 30. Sun 'n Fun was targeted specifically; no one had concerns about the tax's possible effects on other venues, such as HAI, NBAA, ALEA, and AOPA events. The bad effect on Sun 'n Fun, on attendance, on vendors, and on the organization itself was an example of how a single, angry-man's crusade can hurt our entire industry. The good that came of it was a clarification of law and a revision that makes arbitrariness less essential. Tim Kern

Duct-Taped Drunk

Re: Drunken passenger duct-taped to his seat (On the Fly, Apr. 27) It seems to me that air carriers do little to check the condition of passengers before a flight. I have been on several flights where intoxicated passengers have created incidents. In one case, I stopped two intoxicated passengers from boarding a flight because I was sure they were headed for trouble. The gate agent and the crew seemed happy to allow the two intoxicated passengers to board until I mentioned that it would be a bad idea if the local FAA Flight Standards District Office found out. Now frightened by the specter of enforcement, they called the Captain out of the cockpit and you could just tell he said, "Hell no! Why are you even asking?" and had them immediately kicked off the plane. You should tell your readers that the carriers are all about the money and, as far as they're concerned, a roll of duct tape costs less than a ticket and the passengers will do most of the taping. I say stand up for a clean, safe, quiet flight. Make your crew do their jobs. Keep the drunks off your flight! Fill Cee

Electric Aircraft Engines

Re: Question of the Week, May 1 On the face of it, it would seem sensible to have an electric engine up front (low wind-profile, light weight, no noise, no vibration, few moving parts, instant response to power changes, no power loss at altitude) driven by a lightweight, auxiliary generator mounted in the fuselage. Nicholas Budd

A Pilot's History: Chap. 8 -- Call To Duty

Carl, thank you for sharing your experiences (Skywritings, May 1). Not only is your story entertaining, it provides insight into a time which folks of my generation can only glimpse through narratives such as yours. I look forward to each new chapter! Ken C. Foote
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