A sigh of relief

Soon, it passes. I don’t refer to the move from summer’s heat to the cold days of winter, but rather to the merciful end to the political season that cannot come too soon for many aviators. Of course, we worry about how various moves by the government may influence our flying, both in costs and in privileges. Yet, the onslaught of ads and constant yammering of the political class tends to distract us from what we really love — flying our airplanes above this beautiful country in relative freedom.

Regretfully it won’t end on election day. That’s because another, even larger battle looms soon afterward. I now refer to sequestration, a fancy word for a budget cut, or at least that’s how many in the FAA regard it. A point of interest is that FAA officials have, for some months, been under travel restrictions, so watching expenses and not being able to do everything is already a part of the culture.

Working to remain within its budget and to use human and other resources carefully takes good stewardship, even if the annual budget is more than $15 billion and the employee count hovers around 50,000. It may be hard for those of us down here in the trenches of aviation to comprehend such volumes of money and personnel, but FAA’s supersized budget demands management oversight.

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