WASHINGTON, D.C. — Santa always has a special bag of goodies that he brings to the busy aviation folk here in the nation’s capital. Information about the contents of this year’s bag, like every other secret in this city, was leaked to the press. Fortunately, Santa considers General Aviation News a top news source, so the leaked information came to me. Like every other reporter here, I refuse to reveal the source of my information other than to say it was not “”Deep Throat,”" who leaked information about the Watergate break-in that brought the downfall of President Nixon.
I have from a reliable source the following people will wake up Christmas day to find these items under their tree:
- The entire staff of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA): A new recorded message for their telephone answering machines — “”If you are our new president, leave a message who you are and I’ll call you back.”"
- Ed Bolen, the former president of GAMA and now president of the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA): A pencil with an extra large eraser to keep a record of staff changes up to date.
- Marion Blakey, FAA administrator: A recording of the popular tune by Jerome Kern, “”They Didn’t Believe Me”" with new lyrics — “”And when I tell them no user fees there will be, they didn’t believe me, they didn’t believe me.”"
- Transportation Security Administration chief Rear Admiral David M. Stone: A white hat so his image can begin to change more to what it really is — one of the good guys.
- For the security people who insist on TFRs whenever the President leaves the White House: A scale model of the city of Washington with a remote-controlled Toyota whose trunk explodes if it is guided onto certain streets. Batteries included.
- Phil Boyer, president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA): A notebook computer that displays Power Point presentations with only rosy hues as the association shows a membership gain while the pilot population declined by more than 6,000 between 2002 and 2003.
- Jim Coyne, president of the National Aviation Transportation Association (NATA): A suit with each sleeve and pant leg of different lengths that he can wear when trying to explain to regulators that on demand is different from scheduled and “”one size does not fit all.”"
- This writer of Capital Comments: Two lumps of coal in the Christmas stocking for not mentioning in the most recent column two other fine communications persons who have left their positions: Cliff Stroud, who is gone from NATA, and Cassandra Bosco, who departed NBAA earlier this year. As with the other wordsmiths mentioned two weeks ago, these talented professionals know the difference between publicity and public relations, something not always recognized by many persons in this community known as The Puzzle Palace on the Potomac.
Charles Spence is GAN’s Washington, D.C., correspondent