User fees: The devil in disguise

GUEST EDITORIAL By MICHAEL MAGNELL

As a worldwide international ferry pilot, I have a lot of experience dealing with user fees. Most countries have them to varying degrees and they can only be described as pernicious. They are not good for pilots and are horrible for general aviation.

Our president wants to initiate a humble $100 user fee on some GA jet flights only. That sounds innocuous enough, but with government’s insatiable appetite for money, that $100 user fee will soon spread to all GA aircraft and increase to hundreds of dollars. The fees will leech the blood right out of GA with no benefit to GA whatsoever.

In fact, there may be no benefit at all, once the government hires thousands of new employees to administer the user fees. After taking the salaries and benefits of these new employees into consideration, it is dubious to think that the government will even make money on such fees. Our current form of paying an added tax on jet fuel and avgas is by far the best and most efficient way to fund GA.

When flying in foreign countries I always try to limit my landings as much as possible to cut down on the hassles and expense of dealing with user fees. A landing in a foreign country can mean aggravated delays caused by having to deal with several government employees to pay fees. I would rather concentrate on the essential things — checking weather, getting fuel, and filing a flight plan.

Many countries, such as Australia, charge more for IFR flight plans than for VFR. That sets up the perfect storm to where pilots try to get around filing IFR to save money.

You get virtually no help from ATC if you are flying on a VFR flight plan in Australia. One time I was in a Cessna 210 descending VFR into the Sydney area when suddenly a Metroliner flying “VFR” dropped screaming out of the “clouds” and whisked right in front of me like a streaking meteor. Trust me that was scary enough, but can you imagine planes flying around in the clouds without an IFR clearance in an area with dense air traffic like Los Angeles?

Over the last five years, I’ve ferried 46 planes to Brazil, so I will use it as an example of how user fees work in other parts of the world. I have used many entrance points in Brazil, but during my most recent ferry I entered through Boa Vista, so I will use that experience to show how a simple landing fee can grow and spread into a monster.

Let’s take a look at what it cost me to go into Boa Vista in May in a Cessna 185:

  • Landing fee with one person onboard $54
  • Parking for one night $4
  • Air navigation aids charge $72
  • Communication with approach control $30
  • Communication with tower $50
  • Ataero (An airport tariff ) $20
  • Total $230 USD

These fees have almost doubled since my first time into Boa Vista five years ago. On this arrival I came in day VFR with good weather using nothing but my GPS for navigation (so why was I charged $72 for nav aids?). If I had to shoot an ILS that would have been an extra charge.

MagnellAll night landings are charged extra for runway lights. Nothing is provided in the parking area. You must bring your own chocks and ropes if you want to secure your plane since the weather there can get extremely rowdy during monsoon season.

In reality you are getting charged a lot for very little. I was charged for things I never used and charged for things I never got. And a landing fee of $54 for a little 3,350-pound single engine plane?

These charges are purely a money grab tactic by government. Make no mistake, this will happen here if we allow just one simple user fee to get established.

I don’t know about you, but I enjoy what I call my last great freedom, and that is being able to go out to my hangar anytime 24/7 and fly my Cessna 180 anywhere in this large beautiful country. If it is night, no problem, I can land at just about any GA airport by simply clicking my mic on the CTAF and then pulling up to the self serve fuel pump and pulling out my credit card to fill my plane with avgas.

I can do this here in the United States without any intrusive fees or counter-productive delays in dealing with such fees and I don’t even have to file a flight plan. And guess what? VFR radar flight following is always there for me, too. All of this is simply not possible in any other country in the world.

My wife and I have enjoyed this great freedom for years, but user fees would be a great way to government to curtail this freedom.

Flying in Brazil can only be described as Third World at best. Forget about flying at night. Many GA airports have no lights and even if they do it can be a major hassle to get someone to turn them on for you when you arrive. Fuel is not available late at night. Trying to talk to ATC is impossible in many areas of Brazil unless you are above 20,000 feet. Radar does not exist in many areas of Brazil as well and there is no VFR radar flight following, period. WAAS does not exist.

It always strikes me as sad that Brazil — with all of its intrusive/expensive fees — does not have near the aviation system that we have.

And that, my friends, is pretty much the situation all over the world. User fees are not helping GA in any of these countries — they are only hurting it. Let’s not become another sad victim of this horrible track record with user fees.

What can you do to prevent this destructive government behavior from happening here? First and foremost, join the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. It is the largest, and pretty much the only, GA lobbying force in Washington, D.C., and it is very effective.

Write to your elected representatives on your own. Many in Congress have already gone on record opposing user fees, but the more they hear from the GA community, the stronger our case will be.

Lastly, get your fellow pilots involved. In this instance, especially, the GA community needs to stick together.

When it comes to user fees, it’s like Elvis used to croon years ago in one of his songs: “You’re the devil in disguise.”

 

Michael Magnell is a seasoned ferry pilot who travels around the world. Find out more at TransOceanicFerry.com.

Comments

  1. Maynard McKillen says:

    It took me a while to stop laughing after reading all the postings from the hyperventilating “government bureaucracy” quack-quackers. Decades ago I worked briefly for the U.S. Government, and it was, at that time, about the wackiest job experience I’d had. Then I took a job with a corporation. That was worse! The place was rampant with nepotism, narcissism, racism, gossip and had more than a few certifiable sociopaths in positions of power. I had seen how absurd government bureaucracy could be at times, but it paled in comparison to how malevolent corporate culture was. And inefficient. And wasteful. And corporate culture is far more dehumanizing than our federal bureaucracy can ever be. The latter can be stupid and clumsy, but the former is soul-less, predatory, bi-polar and paranoid. Did I leave out money-fixated? Sorry.

    I have no doubt the author’s experiences flying in other countries has made him fearful that the graft he faced out there will become standard here. It’s a legitimate concern. And we’ve all followed the baffling stories of late about domestic flights made by aviators in small private aircraft who get subjected, without cause, to heavy-handed treatment from “Law-enforcement’” agencies that don’t have to justify their Gestapo tactics, or apologize when it is revealed they have royally screwed up.

    But some respondents have simply resorted to espousing pet conspiracy theories, or are projecting things onto the current administration in a rather ridiculous fashion.

    While the author is eager to warn us about user fees, which have not been implemented, he is blind to an actual, current problem that has long flown under the radar. Corporate America is flying on the taxpayer’s dime. Corporate jets using controlled airspace pass along the expense of flight routing services to the public!

    As far back in time as April, 2007, the Bush Administration proposed user fees to end the state of unearned entitlement enjoyed by corporate jets flying in controlled airspace. At that time, the FAA, with a Bush appointee at the helm, released Fact Sheet – Impact of the Administration Financing Proposal on General Aviation.

    Here are a few inconvenient facts from that document:

    “The allocation found that GA drives approximately 16 percent of the costs of air traffic services. Nearly 10 percent is related to high performance GA aircraft such as corporate jets, while 6 percent is related to piston GA aircraft. These figures do not include flight service stations, which largely serve the GA community.”

    “In contrast, GA currently contributes just over 3 percent of the taxes that flow into the Airport and Airway Trust Fund.”

    “The bottom line is that under the current system, the family of four taking a budget vacation (i.e., traveling by commercial air flight) is subsidizing the CEOs flying on a corporate jet.”

    “The (user fee) proposal would reduce the tax burden on airlines and the passengers who fly them. This is less a tax break for the airlines than the elimination of a subsidy to general aviation.”

    “Our proposal addresses this inequity in a way that will allow GA to continue to thrive, while coming much closer to covering the costs they drive in the aviation system.”

    “Each cost item is allocated between the two principal users: 1) High performance / turbine, and 2) Piston/Helicopter. In virtually all cases (except for the smallest towers), piston users are considered marginal and therefore are not assigned the fixed costs of the system.”

    “The Administration’s proposal does not include any user fees for GA to fly through Class B or any other type of airspace. User fees would only apply to GA when landing at or taking off from one of the 30 large hub airports. These are the busiest, most congested airports in the system. They are in major metropolitan areas with other airports at which GA would not be subject to user fees. The fee would be based in part on the weight of the aircraft. As a result, FAA estimates that the typical piston aircraft would pay a fee between $4 and $10 to land at a large hub airport — less than the cost to park a car for a day at one of these airports. And the fee would be completely avoidable if the airplane chooses to fly to another nearby airport.”

    Corporate jets flying in controlled airspace are not paying their fair share of the costs for the flight routing services they incur.

    So while AOPA, Fuller, and other shameless advocates of this unjust, unsustainable status quo whip their members into a frenzy about a user fee for corporate jet flights in controlled airspace, never bothering to mention that piston-engined aircraft flying outside controlled airspace are exempt, and only too content to let members misunderstand the scope and reason for the user fee, Fuller and his corporate jet clubbers continue to suck blood from the taxpayers.

    Another argument floating around is that collecting user fees will require an expanded new bureaucracy that will actually itself end up absorbing most of the fees collected. Another excerpt from the Fact Sheet dispels this notion:

    “Myth: Administering the new user fee system will require a large new bureaucracy and billions of dollars in costs.
    Facts:
    FAA is confident that we can collect fees at minimal administrative cost to the FAA and the users of the system. The FAA has a good track record in this area; the administrative billing and collection processes for overflight fees have gone extremely smoothly.
    Based on best practices from the U.S. and around the world, the administrative cost would be significantly less than 1 percent of the anticipated revenue.
    GA pilots will see no air traffic user fee bills if they do not use the 30 large hub airports.”

    Aviation lovers, order your congressmen to either institute a user fee on corporate jet flights in controlled airspace, or raise the fuel tax on the jet fuel pumped into the fuel tanks of those corporate jets. Let the corporate execs scream, whine, stomp their feet and hold their breath, let the trust fund babies cry as their entitlements shrivel away, these are merely the temper tantrums of the indulged. Time for them to grow up and conduct themselves as responsible citizens.

    Joining AOPA is not a solution. Fuller and his cronies are part of the problem! Let that organization’s falling membership and large employee turnover be your guide. Those ex-members will tell you that AOPA has been hi-jacked by right-wing true believers in supply-side economic ideology. These imitation human beings put money first, money second, money third, politics fourth, and it’ll be a while until I get to aviation, and an even longer while until I get to members…

    • Kimberly Bush says:

      I, too, have worked more than one time for the Federal government. As a total aside, I found it fascinating that Lambert has not only an Airport Authority, but also a County station inside. It seems that the Federal government will allow for the electronic submission of fingerprints, which pretty much does NOT explain all those other times I had to get my tips blackened.
      My experience with the Federal government taught me an important lesson: motivation through moving targets.
      I don’t live in Maryland. I STILL live in Illinois, where last year, the State DOT was proposing a STATE user fee as a way to collect matching funds for grant purposes. This method of highway holdup has been extremely successful (and appears to be a well about to be revisited) in the provision of personal driver’s licensing, including vehicular. The numbers show that there are enough drivers in IL or passing through for tourist activities that we can ‘zap’ their pocketbooks and they won’t even feel it until they are on their way home in another state. For residents, most of our rural areas don’t have public transportation and who wants to walk nowadays. Some idiot in a car might run you down.
      In an attempt to see how a user fee idea ‘might fly’, one of the airports nearby implemented a fee. Some called it a parking fee, others a tie-down fee, most called it a user fee. It was rumored to be $5-10, payable at the FBO.
      (I don’t own a plane, btw, much less a corporate jet)
      I drove to the airport on a Sunday afternoon to ask. It was about a 100 mile round trip ground (obviously cost more to get the answer than to pay the fee) because I wanted to have a perfect argument for those who like to throw money at places that they never thought would need any beyond the initial investment. According to the Smithsonian, that date would have been 1957 for airports in Illinois.
      I am a Republican voter of course, but not because I am great personal friends with anyone who own a corporate jet.
      Where I come from, most of the Republican voters drive pickup trucks and tractors. Most of the ones in business are SMALL business people.
      Oh, and those times I worked for the Feds? Had to take tests to take training to take tests to get the job.

  2. Kimberly Bush says:

    Regarding privatization of ATC, I would once again invite you to check out Illinois. This time you will want to look at IDOC’s budget. Hot Rod jumped right on that privatization wagon. And, Econ class will teach you that this is how it is supposed to work: government tries new ideas, and once a profit can be realized, a business takes over continuing the service/production.
    Initial bids are lower, but still paid by taxes. Then, a year or two down the line the industry is defining itself as ‘vital to the national security’ and holding us up for increase revenues. Alternatively, we are switching providers every contract period, and needing to retrain a whole new group of people, with loss of institutional memory. Not good.
    And, Fritz, my friend, in case you haven’t watched ANY news coverage, the sky falls pretty regularly. We call it RAIN where I live. It has seldom been gentle lately.

  3. Kimberly Bush says:

    I live in Illinois. Many years ago, we were underfunded (a chronic disease here) and there was a slight income tax increase (from 2.5% to 3%) that had a 7 year sunset clause. In case you don’t follow us on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Illinois in 2012 enacted ANOTHER income tax increase, using the argument that ‘we have the lowest income tax in the area’ (WI has long been 6% and MO is 5.5%), again with a sunset clause. When that first increase’s sunset was approaching, our General Assembly (that other GA) decided “Well, no one has complained about it recently, so we can make it permanent without any danger to our re-elections.” I have no hope whatsoever that the next sunset will be an actually end to the current ‘temporary increase’. This term is somewhat like the phrase ‘fuel surcharge’ (I came to aviation from the trucking industry) which is just a nice way to say: Yousa gonna pay. We will withhold it from you so that it is not your decision.
    There needs to be some sort of increase. A gallon of milk is no longer $1.19. However, it needs to be a NEGOTIATED increase that is fair to all aspects of aviation, not merely targeting 4 seater owners.

  4. Fritz Katz says:

    Foxy Magnelli:
    This is the Voice of Doom speaking! Special bulletin! Flash! The sky is falling! A piece of it just hit you on the head with the $100 turbine surcharge! Panic! Run for your life!

    Little Craigy Fullofit:
    Listen to me, everybody! I’m your new leader! I’m gonna save your lives! I’m gonna tell you what to do!

    Fritzy Katzy:
    Don’t listen to that former/future RNC-paid liar. The sky isn’t falling. The $100 is an overdue reflection of recip vs turbine reality. And as for the AV ATC billing, gallonage taxes only cover routine incremental enroute flying costs like weather and flight following and flight plans and emergency response when needed… not massive commercially-sponsored, admission-charged “World’s Largest” special events.

    Little Craigy Fullofit:
    I tell ya it is too falling!

    Fritzy Katzy:
    And I tell you it isn’t.

    Little Craigy Fullofit:
    Is too!

    Fritzy Katzy:
    All right, if the sky is falling why doesn’t it hit me in the head?

    [Big Dick hits Fritzy Katzy with a piece of wood]

    Mr Rogers:
    Little Craigy Fullofit is right! What do we do? Oh, Craigy, you’ve got to help us!

    Little Craigy Fullofit:
    Well first you have to send me LOTS more money so I can warn more chickens the sky is falling.

  5. Mike: Remember, we already pay fees to support the Airport and Airways Trust Fund through our fuel taxes, and the ‘industry’ agreed to raise those taxes just a few years ago, largely as an alternative to paying user fees.
    Then along comes an overzealous president who decides that aviation is’ easy pickings’ and wants to slap us with yet another fee.
    The only recourse is to elect someone else – but if Hillary gets in (which is likely) then she won’t be any better.

    Pat

    • Ah, yes. The best option is always to elect Republicans…

      After the GOP sells off the National Airspace System to a corporate buddy, I am sure they wouldn’t impose user fees. That has only happened in every other country in the world that regards their ATC system as a “profit center” and let’s the “free market” decide what to charge to talk to a controller in order to be safe. It will never happen here.

      What was that your boy Jindahl said about being the part of stupid?

  6. Well said Michael
    In New Zealand we have user fees and you are absolutely right that they just go on creeping up. The biggest part of running AOPA NZ is keeping on top of these charges. For instance we have just had a new VFR charge of 3.00 dollars introduced for talking to a controller at a tower just to cross his control Zone. Our medical system which is similar to FAA with independent medical examiners has just introduced a fee of $300.00 (yes 3 hundred) for getting the form to be able to go the the ME. We still have to pay the ME.

    Be vigilant my friends.
    Ian Andrews
    President AOPA NZ

  7. Doug Haughton says:

    User fees, if allowed in any increment, no matter how small, will most certainly be the poison dart for General Aviation. Why would we think that our system can withstand this bureaucratic greed when it has been a dismal failure in every other country?

  8. Dear Mr. Magnelli;

    Having lived in a country where darn near everything is taxed (Canada) most of my life, I can tell you that what will — not might, but will — happen is that you will wind up with both fuel taxes and user fees. That is what has happened here. Governments, by their very nature, are parasitic. The more you feed them, the more they want. Introducing any kind of new tax is, therefore, disastrous since the old ones rarely, if ever, go away.

    Here in Canada, we are paying $1.90/litre for 100LL. That is about $7.18/US Gallon. Of that, about 40% is tax. Guess what? We also pay near criminal user fees. We also get hammered with various “stealth” taxes, like eco-fees and Lord knows what else. Oh and yes… we also get to pay 5% GST on any service of any kind. Here in BC, we also get to pay 7% Provincial Sales Tax on any goods that are bought save for a few things deemed to be essentials like bulk quantities of food.

    NEVER EVER EVER suggest adding a new tax! Before long you will not be able to afford even to go near an aircraft.

    Get government out of the equation any way you can. It is inherently bad. Why? Because it leads to bureaucracy. Bureaucracies grow. They never shrink by any appreciable amount. Money is their life blood.

    You think you are paying too much in user fees? Just wait until fuel taxes are added in — on top of those self-same user fees. That is what you will achieve.

  9. Jim Wright says:

    Mr. Obama’s intent is not to fund aviation, Mr. Obama’s intent is to kill General Aviation.

    • Richard Nichols says:

      Ya that makes a lot of sense if you follow FOX mews. I thought you guys were all for pay your own way.

  10. I have never understood user fees as anything but an agenda. The experience from other countries makes clear empirically that user fees decimate general aviation. How does anyone expect to develop enough revenue from a customer base that is only 10% of what it was prior to fee initiation? It’s not possible. The only conclusion one can draw is that user fee proponents are stupid, don’t believe the empirical data, or have an agenda. My vote is “Yup, all three of those options.”

  11. I am also a seasoned ferry pilot, having flown everywhere in the world (except for Antarctica). I am so happy to see this article by Mike. I’ve been screaming at the top of my lungs that America’s aviation system is doomed to the same fate as EVERY SINGLE country in the world! Each and every stop I make outside of North America is delayed by burdensome bureaucracies, greedy government employees, and even the necessity to bribe officials to reduce the delays and continue my mission. The one thing I’ve noticed in all these countries is a very obvious LACK of general aviation. Not as many people own or fly private aircraft in other parts of the world because the user fee system has made it prohibitive to nurture and grow a booming general aviation industry. America’s general aviation industry, along with the millions of jobs it creates, is under attack by ANY organization or administration that wishes to capitalize on user fees or privatization.

    • Richard Nichols says:

      General aviation was shot down by the price of fuel and wont recover any time soon.Not nearly as many people in this country can take the financial burden of flying.
      User fees wont do anymore damage than that which has already been done.

  12. Wayne Taylor says:

    Much as I hate the idea of more taxes, GA pilots would be better off proposing (and supporting) an increase in the taxes paid on Aviation fuel than allowing the implementation of user fees. When the rental rate for a typical single-engine aircraft is around $100/hour, the thought of having to pay $100+ user fees will be nothing short of the end of GA flying as we know it. Of course, it won’t be immediate, but will cause the many non-professional pilots to avoid flight following, towered fields etc. You want your IFR rating to stay current, forget about it…

    When that envelope comes from AOPA – PAC asking for support, you’d better pay now or you’ll be paying a lot more later…

  13. The obama administration wants to kill general aviation because airplanes use that nasty fossil fuel that they would like to have people believe is destroying our world. Besides, a majority of people who are smart enough to make enough money to fly planes probably won’t vote Democratic like those who live on welfare or other gov’t programs. BTW it’s OK for Obama and his families to fly around the world at taxpayer expense in his 747 and ride in Limos, but they would like the rest of us to drive little electric cars. They know that user fees would destroy GA , but since class warfare worked to get him elected twice, why not use it again against the ” fat cats and their corporate jets ? User fees would be like the 10% tax that Clinton passed to punish the people buying luxury items, including boats, furs, cars that cost over $30K, and many other things. When people quit spending on those items, the losers were the people who lost their jobs because of it. The tax was ultimately repealed. GA is already paying it’s fair share in fuel taxes and other fees charged by local and state agencies.

    • Richard Nichols says:

      Quote1 “a majority of people who are smart enough to make enough money to fly planes probably won’t vote Democratic like those who live on welfare or other gov’t programs.”
      You must be a Romney one of the worthy few in your own mind.
      Quote2″The obama administration wants to kill general aviation because airplanes use that nasty fossil fuel that they would like to have people believe is destroying our world.”
      Is science is only a tool used by the Democrats to destroy the bubble you live in?Fox news has that effect on some
      Quote3 ” class warfare worked to get him elected twice”
      “There’s class warfare, all right Mr. Buffett said, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”
      So if you are winning why don’t you stop wining?

  14. Fritz Katz says:

    And now comes the censorship by GAN of my pointing out in a comment to this “sky is falling” editorial that they and their emperor Craig “RNC” Fuller have no clothes.

    Congratulations.

    Certainly not the honest, ethical, responsible GA or GAN I once knew.

  15. Henry Kelly says:

    Thank you Mt. Magnell! If anyone doubts that GA in the USA is under attack and where this is all going, read this….I hope AOPA picks up this story. Our freedom to fly is at stake. Every pilot should be an activist for opposing these fees. The tax on Avgas should be enough. I happen to feel that there is an outright intent to try to eliminate GA, except for charter and corporate, in this country.

  16. Mike and the rest of the pilots posting to ‘Speak Your Mind.’ Get over it guys. User fees are here to stay. This is what governments and business opportunists do.

    • Here to stay??? I do not think so. First off they are not “here” at the moment so they sure as hell do not to stay. If we continuously fight this tyranny, we will win. Most R’s and D’s enjoy the benefit and the economic incentives of GA so it is unlikely that the user fee will ever be enacted. Perhaps if the govt would stop spending so much on themselves and quit padding the employee benefit plan we would not need to “raise more money”. It is a shame when government largess encroaches on the rights of the individual. I would feel better if the AOPA took over the duties of the FAA. At least then you would have a parent company that cares for the people it serves, and not be a govt agency that feels we are there to serve them

      • Richard Nichols says:

        The government could also stop the accelerated deprecation of corporate aircraft.How many aircraft are registered as corporate that function only as need for business?Yes I understand that is necessary business when you fly your jet to Oshkosh even when you business is not aviation oriented. Its about time you start to pay your own way.

  17. AOPA has been advocating for privatized ATC. Read the congressional transcripts online. Privatized ATC, (AKA private/public partnerships, or “non-profit” ATC corporations), have led to user fees in most countries of the world. AOPA is not working for GA, but the GOP. Privatization of government infrastructure is a bad thing for GA.

    • John Navratil says:

      Privatization of ATC and user fees are two separate issues. Im not making an argument for privatization, merely noting that it is perfectly possible to fund a private ATC from fuel taxes, just as it is perfectly possible to fund the FAA through user fees.

      Don’t get me wrong, I like the system we have. It can be improved, no doubt. But these two issues should remain separate.

    • Depends on HOW it is privatized. If the AOPA itself ran the organization and could collect the fee instead of the tyrannical govt agency, that wastes so much of what it collects, maybe we would have a system that not only worked better, but worked smarter as well. The FAA could still be around, but with a minimum presence.

      To think that America somehow will not become like Brazil is just burying your head in the sand. Look what has happened to our Liberties in the past 50 years. Thanks to the communist pukes that have infested and infected our Universities and Govt posts (both side if the aisle BTW) we have lost much of whatso many dies to save .. Liberty

      • Fritz Katz says:

        Wow….

      • John Navratil says:

        Colin,

        In a discussion with a controller, he suggested that privatization would reduce safety. I asked how differently he would behave if a corporation signed his checks instead of the government. His reply was that, as he was a professional, there would be absolutely no impact to his performance. This issue borders on religious. That said, consider the following:

        (1) A corporation can be sued for errors, the government cannot. What is the motivation for a corporation to cut corners on safety? Tell me about snoozy controllers, LaHoods fatuous comments about not paying controllers to sleep, and how a corporation might address the problem especially if it were “on the hook” for negligence errors.

        (2) Do you think a private ATC would have shut down during a sequester?

        (3) There is no need for airspaces, regulations or fees to change were the system privatized. We would still need an FAA to set the regs. The only thing I know of being considered for privatization is the operation of the system.

        • Kimberly Bush says:

          Hellooooooo? “(2) Do you think a private ATC would have shut down during a sequester?”
          Sir, have you been enduring your winter hibernation recently? Who do you think IS getting shut down?
          “(1) A corporation can be sued for errors, the government cannot. What is the motivation for a corporation to cut corners on safety? Tell me about snoozy controllers, LaHoods fatuous comments about not paying controllers to sleep, and how a corporation might address the problem especially if it were “on the hook” for negligence errors.”
          Common misconception. “Deny, deny, deny, fake a seizure if you have to” is the government stance, but they too can be sued for negligence, if you can prove that they were aware of a dangerous situation and didn’t address it in a timely fashion. Good luck on that one, btw.
          “(3) There is no need for airspaces, regulations or fees to change were the system privatized. We would still need an FAA to set the regs. The only thing I know of being considered for privatization is the operation of the system.”
          Sweetie, have you ever visited the mountains in Illinois? If not, I have some desert property here that a friend of mine can sell you.

          I am going to refer you back to my IDOC commentary here: The Illinois Dept of Corrections decided several years ago that certain non-essential services, such as healthcare and inmate phone services could be privatized. This puts the contract worker not only in the position of NOT being a State worker, thus under Union work rules, but also unfireable under State AD’s. They do NOT “really apply to those who don’t work for Illinois”.
          You damn sure better be aware of them and follow them to the best of your ability or NOBODY is willing to cover your back, but it is a GREY area.
          Don’t we have enough grey skies?

  18. Linda S. Berl says:

    I rented a homebuilt airplane in Italy and was profusely warned not to announce ANYTHING on the radio. The government keeps records of your radio usage, and charges accordingly for everything (like when you announce that you are entering downwind,base and final plus a landing fee and a tie-down fee.
    The Italian pilots of course circumvent the bulk of the fees by simply NOT announcing where are or what they are doing.
    This is not what I want for America!

    • Richard Nichols says:

      I used to fly into an airport that discouraged the use of radio.They didn’t like the constant chatter.It was dangerous and ignored by any aircraft not based there.Do you seriously think it would come to what you describe in the us.I also flew foe a FBO that discouraged the use of radio “Don’t want them to wear the dam things out”Could that guy have moved to Italy? Do you have any fact on the cost to transmit in Italy.Do they really charge for position calls? If so how much //

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