What do we want?

There’s a great scene in the movie, “Field of Dreams,” that sticks in my head. Kevin Costner’s character has taken the character played by James Earl Jones to a baseball game. Kevin plays an innocent who has an unlikely story to tell and a major favor to ask. Jones, on the other hand ,plays a legendary writer who no longer publishes and has become something of a recluse. Their relationship is tenuous at best, showing signs of strain from their very first meeting. It remains tense throughout their early interactions.

As Costner and Jones stand in the main passageway of the stadium before the start of the game, Costner’s character asks of his guest, “What do you want?”

This simple question, posed at just the right time, causes Jones’ character to go off on a tirade about social injustice, personal privacy, and a litany of issues that are of deep concern to him. When he finishes we see the pair from a different angle and realize they’re standing in front of a concession stand.

Coster repeats himself using nearly the same words, but now it’s funny rather than deeply probing because we see the exchange from an entirely different perspective. “No, I mean, what do you want?” Costner asks, gesturing toward the concession stand.

Costner’s character wasn’t asking about political or social priorities. He was asking, “Hey, do you want a hot dog?” Jones’ character misunderstood. And therein lies the comedy, and the pathos, and the strain that makes the story move along so fluidly.

Real life is somewhat less entertaining, but the theme of the exchange is every bit as valid.

It’s important to keep in mind that what we say may not be perceived by the listener in the same context it was intended. As with Costner and Jones, playing Ray Kinsella and Terence Mann, even the simplest question can be misinterpreted if not presented in unambiguous terms.

Similarly, even the most straightforward statement can be misconstrued when foreign terms creep into the conversation.

So I ask you: What do we want? This general aviation crowd — what’s our end game? What are we asking of others? Do we want all airports to remain open forever? Do we want cheap fuel? Are we demanding more affordable hangar rental rates, a new high-tech trainer, a new low-tech trainer, a lighter category of aircraft, a heavier category of aircraft with expanded privileges for pilots, more regulation, less regulation? What?!

It’s confusing. More than that, it’s infuriating. Not for us, perhaps. But for someone. When you look at our industry and tally up all the initiatives, all the calls for action, all the desperate pleas for salvation, what you end up with is a long list of diverse issues, almost all of which are a complete mystery to the people we’re asking to support us.

In this sense at least, we have a lot in common with the anti-war movement of the late 1960s. The long-haired kids in the street were perceived as dirty, lazy, drug-addled, spoiled, entitled, cowardly, and maybe even un-American. They were all those things, too — at least to some degree.

They were also largely correct. The government was corrupt, the war was a lost cause, the perpetuation of the war offered no potential advantage, yet it promised significant disruption and mayhem. And still, the mainstream dismissed the protesters for far too long.

Why? Because they were discussing the same issue, but from different perspectives. They weren’t on the same page. They didn’t have a common point of reference. In essence, they were speaking different languages.

That’s a problem for general aviation today, too. The average insurance agent on Main Street has no idea what a TFR is or why he or she should care about it.

Our schools are filled with teachers who haven’t got the slightest clue why they should have an opinion on the discussion about private pilots exercising their privileges without the need for a medical certificate.

Even the people living around the perimeter of Santa Monica Airport have minimal interest in the future of the field. And why should they? We haven’t given them a compelling reason to care about these issues in a language that makes sense to them. Instead we expend more and more energy to tell them why these things matter to us – in terms they neither understand or care about.

The solution to our problems rests in a method of communication we have not yet mastered. We general aviation enthusiasts need to start expressing ourselves and telling our story in terms that matter to the listener.

After all, it is the action or inaction of the listener that matters. It is that massive population of disinterested citizens, those millions of voters we have to impress with the validity of our message, that really matters.

Our success will be realized when we begin speaking to our audience in terms they understand, rather than in terms we’re comfortable with. When we show them recognizable examples of positive returns, then we’ll make real progress.

So take this time to brush up on your language skills, polish your ability to articulate our story, and build a coalition of disparate individuals who can spread the word with you.

What do we want? When we can answer that question directly, accurately, and in a way the listener finds accessible – we’ll see a whole new world open up to general aviation. Yes, we will.

Comments

  1. SuperMom says:

    Sorry, I know it seems that I am going off on tangents when I compare ground transportation with aviation, but here was my point (and one I raised with FAA rep Giselle at Oshkosh when they ‘rolled out’ NextGen): if the FAA wants GA to participate in the upgrade of the infrastructure of the ATC system in the US (which we all can at least agree needs to occur), why not offer a trade for our participation?
    In this case, a tax credit for the upgrade to some form of ADB-S out avionics?
    She assured me that it might happen for commercial, but almost certainly NOT for GA.
    Why not? Make it a one-time, specified credit, like installing energy efficient windows and doors on the house.
    (Other than that, I have NO opinion. Have a GREAT day!)

  2. Hi, guys. I don’t have any answers today, just lots and lots of questions.
    -When is the last time in recent memory that you called up someone who has never flown before and said, ‘I’m taking my plane out this afternoon. Would you like to go with me?”
    -Have you written to your Congressman lately? His staffers get lonely, you know. They like things like Thank You notes for doing something positive for GA. Just a simple store-bought card with your signature suffices. Your Voter ID registration number serves as a gentle reminder that you helped to get them hired.
    -Have you bussed tables at your local fly-in lately? Does your airport host a local fly-in? It’s a great way to remind the general population how humble AND community-minded the aviation organizations are.
    -What about inviting your legislative reps to that fly-in to “press the flesh” in a non-official matter at this event?

    As an aside, I often liken aviation to golf. Both can be done as thrifty or as expensive as one chooses. In this morning’s newspaper, I read that the governing group for THEM is considering lowering standards for golfers in the hopes of increasing participation. Since the resurgence of interest in that sport was the success of Tiger Woods (thereby proving Anyone can do it), no one seems to want to discuss the negative PR caused by his cheating on his beautiful wife.

    Another thought to chew on: (I have a small portfolio that is exclusively American/Airways stock) Dougie Parker reports that they have no intent to sell off American Eagle in spite of unsuccessful contract negotiations with those pilots. Seems the old saw about “Offer them something bright and shiny to distract them from paycuts” didn’t work out as well as it has in the past.

    Jamie, sorry to have missed you at Sun N Fun. Maybe I can meet you at Indy? I just know they are going to make me park cars. LOL

    • ManyDecadesGA says:

      You can write to every Congressman in the House, …and write to every Senator in the Senate, …and fly every teenager in the neighborhood, …and even if fuel fell to $.10 a gallon, it wouldn’t save GA from crushing retraction at this point.
      To the first order, all you need to do is divide $16B (FAA’s budget/year) by 200,000 airplanes in the system (the $16B of which is mostly ATC and infrastructure cost), and any competent grade school student can see why the math is fatal for low end GA (and small low velocity UAVs) at this point.
      The ONE AND ONLY ANSWER FOR GA and small low cost UAVs remains:
      1. To get Fully Allocated “Cost per unit separation service” and nav infrastructure access, for an ASEL aircraft and mission, down to a level that totals < $10.00 per flight.
      2. Get Fully allocated airport user costs < 10.00 per flight.
      3. So as to assure AFFORDABLE assured shared access to global airspace, except for immediate TFR disaster coordination, national security SCATANA, or conflict with direct military or security operations.
      4. Based on having an avionics suite for ASEL GA aircraft to do CNS and ALL the above, that costs less than about $10,000 to install, and costs << less than $100/year to operate.
      This is all entirely possible, on the basis of Physics and economics. In fact it is absolutely necessary, if UAVs are to ever reach their full potential globally, and if GA as we know it is to survive.This is all possible with proper application of RNP, GNSS, GBAS, a suitable data set of data links, AND an automated conflict probe and resolution process.
      Aspiring to anything else for GA at this point remains either fatally flawed, useless fluff, wishful thinking, or violating the laws of either physics or economics, or combinations of these options.

      • SuperMom says:

        Dear Man-
        I can’t disagree with any of what you are saying.
        Mostly because, like most of the general population, I have absolutely not a single clue regarding most of what you are referring to.
        You have just sold me a Concord after I asked about a Piper. Thx so much. I just viewed one of those yesterday at the Smithsonian. Not only was it a pretty bird, (so sleek and long), it was also no longer anything more than a static display. (Just in case you haven’t been there) It’s not far from the Enola Gay.
        Later, (most likely later this week) I will post pictures on my Facebook page of the entire Honor Flight Day in DC that I enjoyed (instead of immediately replying to you).
        I did actually shake hands with my Congressman, Rodney Davis of Taylorville, IL on my way into the WWII Memorial (the main reason for the trip). The day before, I dropped tickets off at my two Senators offices for our local fly-in. I had to mail them to my Congressman, because one can no longer (in good conscience) afford to keep all three of his District offices open full time and Rodney is located in communities a minimum of 30 miles away. Rodney asked me if we had had a good flight in. I replied, “Of course it was perfect. Because I was on board.”
        Before we returned, I insisted our flight crew pose for a picture in the airport. The Captain was so busy he had to get on down to the airplane. The FO stepped right into the photo.
        I have been accused (not always wrongly) of being a rather vengeful woman. Although I am nearly certain that the Captain was in a hurry to do the walk-around because the FO was actually flying us back, I still patted the Captain on the shoulder when I was deplaning and said, “About that landing. I have had better.”
        Sir, I am on YOUR side. I have spent numerous hours (mostly by myself) educating myself about the myriad of issues facing aviation. My pilots at Air Wis kept explaining to me how “special” they were.
        To the majority of the general population (which is the target audience of all of these discussions) special has a very different meaning.
        Have a GREAT day!

        • ManyDecadesGA says:

          @ SuperMom. Thank you for caring. Learn of these issues as best as you can, and help educate others in GA. It is our only hope, to be able to articulate these fundamental issues in a way that saves our collective GA future, in time to make a difference. Otherwise, on the path FAA’s currently on, we will not be able to afford the FAA’s vision of our future, and it won’t work anyway. Just as with the lack of FAA’s full use and credit for present excellent airline RNP, GLS, and D/L avionics, combined with key features absent in recent GA oriented avionics, together with ill-advised authority 2020 mandates, and their progression toward the still fundamentally flawed NextGen (PastGen) and SESAR conceptual designs, both the laws of physics and economics will likely relegate most of us (low end GA) to the dust bin of history.

          • John Wesley says:

            Go to some of the non large metropolitan area airports, look at the MT hangars, MT offices, parking lots and taxiways grown up with weeds, we are already relegated to the trash heap of HX.

          • SuperMom says:

            Many-
            You’re welcome.
            My point is that I do not agree that we need to ‘educate those in GA’. The policymakers are the ones we need to (at least on the surface) befriend and educate.
            Understand that none of these people get invited to my pool parties, son. I didn’t expect them to show up for my granddaughter’s baptism last year. They won’t be invited to my next wedding either.
            That being said, I haven’t met a single one of them with horns growing out of their foreheads.
            I told some of those guys yesterday the ancient joke about how copper wire was invented (two pilots fighting over a penny). I thought EVERYONE in the world had heard that one by now. I was mistaken.
            MY CFI told me the other day that trying to get pilots to agree on what they are fighting FOR is like herding cats. I don’t LIKE felines.
            I have done a bunch of ‘fighting City Hall’. I have been interviewed on the news and quoted in the newspaper. Nearly every time, I won. Mostly because it only took ONE PERSON in a community of 4200 to speak out as a public meeting and say (basically) “What a dumbass IDEA!” Not “Who is the dumbass that thought that up?”
            I don’t like NextGen. I wanted to like NextGen. Not because it is the latest bright and shiny toy to play with, but because I had a lot of respect for some of the persons who are promoting it. And that respect is not all-encompassing or adoring. So, I checked into it. With ATC tower people. With pilots. With avionics people. With aircraft owners. And some of the above are also FAA employees.
            The agency hasn’t fully ‘sold’ this concept to their own people.
            And they thought they could mandate this to others.
            Perhaps they should have first asked a teacher how they feel about No Child Left Behind, hmmmm?

          • ManyDecadesGA says:

            @SuperMom. You make many good points, but we need to educate BOTH GA participants and the policy makers (policy makers outside FAA – Note: Educating FAA at this point is thought by many to be nearly hopeless). Without a well informed GA constituency, GA won’t ask for the right things (e.g., GA pilots falsely thinking things like retaining all our present FSSs, and keeping low volume towers, and WAAS, LPV, and EVS are part of the solution, when instead they are complete unnecessary waste for GA, that will not solve a thing). So the only hope I see is formation of a well informed “Presidential Level Commission” (as Eisenhower used – and well out of FAA’s control) working AFTER the next election, to spur a complete reset, perhaps led by someone like Bill Ayer. That’s what it took after the Grand Canyon accident, to be able to get to what we have today in the NAS, as well as to set the technical, regulatory, and economic foundation. There was no way the CAA could have done it then, or led it then, and there is no way FAA can do it today. It requires technical skills, the right kinds of operational experience (not FAA’s type of experience), knowledge, leadership, and a political will that FAA (at nearly all executive levels), simply does not today have.

          • SuperMom says:

            Again, I don’t disagree with you, but would provide a short cautionary tale:
            The State of Illinois has recognized for many years that it is falling short in the area of public education. Standards were tied to appropriations (as they often are) and a Blue-Ribbon panel of those in the Education Industry was formed prior to the turn of the century. A Foundation Amount (minimum to be spent per average student per school year) was established and all forward movement was tied to passing that definition of the minimum amount to be spent (additional money was allocated for special needs students). It is not working out as hoped. Throwing additional money at a problem seldom does solve problems without the commitment on the part of those most nearly affected by the expenditures.

            We (both general population and aviation population) take flight for granted. I wanted a flight the other day, called my local flight school, and up I go the very next day. WE don’t question things when they are viewed as working very well, only when there is a problem (in this case problem=well-publicized crash). Every so often, I post on my FB page that “I have seen ANOTHER 5 planes land safely today!” This is a gentle reminder to my audience that THIS is the norm.
            But then I have several photo albums online in which all sorts of aircraft are prominent subjects. My family think I have lost my mind. My friends say I haven’t changed one bit.

        • ManyDecadesGA says:

          @ SuperMom. I strongly agree with you that throwing money at the problem is not the answer. In fact, we’re likely ALREADY spending considerably more than we need to. The problem is that FAA is doing many of the WRONG things, for the wrong reasons. It just isn’t going to work, in 10 years, or ever. At the end of the FAA’s present plan in year 2020 to 2025, it is just going to largely turn out to be a $40+B waste, that no one can afford, and will still deny key airspace access to GA (and UAVs). Further, it will not solve the airline’s cost, efficiency, or capacity issues, and will not help DoD’s legitimate need for additional flexible airspace use. Worst of all, unsuspecting GA pilots and owners will blow countless tens of thousands of $ on avionics that will be completely ineffective to solve the real ATS cost containment and access issues (e.g., unnecessary WAAS fueled ADS, and UAT, and ADS-R, …when much less expensive simple ADS would work just fine, as is already being used in other parts of the world). That’s why this all has to be taken out of the hands of the FAA before to is too late. And rules like the 2020 ADS mandate rescinded and later revised, to match a more realistic and affordable ATS/NAS infrastructure concept. The Administration’s proposed $100/flight fees are just a distant symptom of this FAA spurred descending irrational destructive ATS system evolution and GA spiral.

          • While I agree with much of what you post, at least the parts I understand, how do you propose to take any of this out of the hands of the FAA.
            How do we lower the costs?
            What will happen in 2020, other than the FAA will discover they still need land based radar systems, which makes ADS-B a half baked idea?

          • SuperMom says:

            Jeff-
            2020 is the current ever moving target date for full implementation of NextGen. It was originally either 2015 or 2016.

          • SuperMom says:

            And now we have flown the patch: (completed the square, finished our circle; you pick your cliché)
            While everyone understands simple economic principle of supply fuels demand and demand creates supply, where do we start?
            We start with “The oughta be a LAW!” One is created, either by Congress (because they are not presented with any contradictory information) or with the FAA (and sometimes pushed for by the NTSB) because of a single incident or a lobbyist who keeps pushing a ‘really GOOD idea’ for economic, ecological, and ergonomic reasons. In this case, NextGen is going to save fuel, time, delays, pollution, sleep deprivation….You name it, this program is going to make it ALL better and silence critics of all aviation-related activities in one fell swoop.
            Washington was neither created nor exists in a vacuum. (I was just there on Tuesday, remember) The standard excuse for mistakes is “I had NO IDEA!” mostly because it doesn’t personally affect those who control the legislative process.
            I came to aviation from the truck-driving industry. The man I later married was an owner/operator when we met. I became his office manager. He ran interstate, so I got to learn all kinds of things about IDOT and interstate business that I had no intention of knowing prior to our meeting. But, these things began to get into the house’s pocket book. So I learned. Mostly by making numerous phone calls to government agencies and hoping the person on the other end was qualified to answer more than the phone.
            One of the ‘neat ideas’ that someone came up with was the Investment Credit. If we invested in a new piece of equipment, we got a tax CREDIT (as opposed to a business deduction) not to exceed our total federal income tax for that year. The Act that allowed this also allowed for a carryover (if you didn’t use the max available for one year, because your taxes were less, it could carry over to the next year). This credit was not available to be applied to self-employment taxes, only income tax. Thus, we could have zero INCOME tax and still have to borrow money from the bank annually to pay taxes.
            We also had to pay highway use tax. In one year, it jumped from $210 annually to $550. In Illinois, you had to produce your paid receipt in order to get reciprocal license plates. Trucks have to pay fuel taxes in every state where they travel, or pay them anyway for NOT buying fuel there.
            Several years ago, there was a federal mandate that created the Commercial Driver’s License program, which was supposed to get the ‘fly-by-nighters’ (less than legal) companies off the road and drivers out of business. Sounds like a great plan, right? Federal fuel taxes were disbursed based on participation in this federal program. Texas laughed and said, “Keep ‘em”. A lot of OTD started discussing sharing PO Boxes in TX to establish residency.
            I could go on and on. The main similarity here is this: truckdrivers, like most of the pilots I run into, don’t have time mid-week to attend those meetings where these laws are on the agenda. Sometimes discussions (hearings) are scheduled, then cancelled or postponed at the last minute.
            Write something besides your discussion here on these boards. A letter to the editor. A poem about how you feel when you are flying. Send it somewhere, to someone. Remind them that magic still exists.
            In flying.

  3. Joe Gutierrez says:

    Lets start with the biggest but kicker we have today, Lets lower the price of fuel to where it should be !! All this B.S. about it takes all this money to refine av-gas is a lot of nonesence to say the least. Remember when leaded fuel started to rise in price, we were told it was because they needed to add lead and lead was expensive , then we went to lead free gas and now they told us the reason for the elevated price of gas is because they need to take the lead out of the gas..Now you tell me, what kind of crap is this, and we side by and obsurb all this crap, and let these jerks get away with all this cause we don’t do any thing about it cause no one wants to be bothered in doing or saying anything about it.. The price of avgas is only a few cents higher than car gas. Back when I was a teenager Chevron gas stations had three kinds of gas available, it was regular at 91 octane they had ethel at 94 octane and what they called at that time the white pump whitch was 100 octane leaded gas, for $.39 a gallon…This is the gas we would all use when we raced at the local dragstrip. My point is that the making of 100 octane fuel leaded or not is still whithin a few cents of each other. All this crap about shafting people at over $6.00 a gallon is a hugh rippp and nothing more. I will bet any amount of money that if eveyone was to get an stc for auto fuel and not purchase avgas, the price of auto fuel would follow suit with the price of avgas today..I say lets go with CNG ( compressed natural gas) at only $.39 a gallon and 138 octane..We need to stand up and be counted, instead of just excersizing our fingers and making idle comments on these PC,s….thanks

  4. Thomas Paddon says:

    As long as the GA market is represented solely by a sliver of the population that has both the desire and finances to keep flying, it will continue to decline.

    Alternatively, if GA can solve a problem for the entire population, we will have re-birthed an industry. For example, if we develop electric powered air taxis (e.g., AirVan powered by Tesla batteries and motor), we would be providing a very compelling “green” alternative to clogged freeways. And the Santa Monica city council might suddenly have an about face and realize what a tremendous asset they have with KSMO.

  5. Doyle Frost says:

    Mr. Beckett has it right: we need to unify, (means join with each other,) our goals, and shorten it so Mr. and Mrs. J. Q. Public can understand what is going on, and how our aims can actually help them in their lives.

  6. Greg Young says:

    Wow, I thought Jamie was talking about expressing ourselves to the general public and lawmakers. Some examples would have helped.

    I tend to use analogies when talking to non-aviation folks. I equate recreational aviation to recreational boating. Per flight user fees become boat ramp fees or toll roads. Airlines are commercial shipping, trucks, tankers, etc. I fly vintage airplanes so I equate them to classic cars. I find I can get my point across and it’s well received.

  7. Thomas Boyle says:

    The post is at once right on, and silly.

    “What do you want” doesn’t have a single answer. It has many, many answers. His own anecdote demonstrates that. It is simply silly to expect GA to have a simple, easily communicated, single answer to “what do you want?”

    On the other hand, the point about figuring out what you want from each audience – and how to communicate it in terms that audience understands – is right on.

    Also, I think there is a need to distinguish between “wants” and “wishes”. Wishes require suspension of physics/economics, and include things like cheap avgas, free/cheap airplanes, free airports, and free regulation. Wants, on the other hand, are things other people can reasonably be expected to provide, if asked in terms they care about. I’d suggest that, quite often, the primary thing we want is for people to stop attacking us.

  8. The post was about getting our message our, concisely and clearly. Despite actually agreeing with much that is written by the follow up posts, they did exactly what Jamie was rallying against. Getting the message out simply, clearly and to garner support.

  9. Len Assante says:

    I think many of the comments here prove the author’s point. If we can’t even understand each other, how in the heck will we ever get a message across to the non-flying public?

  10. ManyDecadesGA says:

    While Bill Dominguez says: …keep it simple, cheap avgas, less than $5 per gallon. Cheaper tie down at my local airports, less than 50 for tie down or less than 400 for a hangar. That will do it for me….

    That completely neglects the fact that it is already costing us $16B+ per year to feed FAA alone (much of that going to ATS functions) out of our, and our neighbors pockets, just to keep this antiquated airspace and airport system going. There is NO FREE LUNCH any more, WWII is over. That infrastructure is dwindling, those 10s of thousands of post WWII built GA airplanes are being forced out of the system by corrosion, MX costs, STC policies, FBO closures, airport closures, real-estate prices, hangar rent, insurance costs, CFIs throwing in the towel due to ridiculous renewal requirements, or high fuel cost. This is all going to come home to roost to GA, very soon, in either the form of fees and further cost increases, or severe airspace access restrictions, or both. We can’t afford the present Jurassic FAA system any more. Others are paying for 50+ years of neglect, and it is full of waste, from WAAS to already obsolete ERAM, to STARS, to towers at airports with fewer movements than needed to even keep a Maytag repairman awake. The only hope for low end GA, and I’m one of them with a low cost 50+ year old airplane too, is to massively get the cost of both separation service, and infrastructure under control, down to the point where we can again afford it in GA. If not, even flying Cubs and A75s in a Kansas wheat field will soon take a cost and fee hit so big, that will eventually be crippling to GA.

    • Bill Dominguez says:

      I though the point of the article is what we want, the bottom line explained in simple and straightforward terms that can be understood by outsiders, let alone fit their attention span. With your explanations, most of them will be sleeping by the time you have warmed up the point.

      • ManyDecadesGA says:

        Sorry Bill and Lee, but life is complicated. We are where we are (in deep trouble in GA) specifically because much of GA has been “asleep” for the past 20 years, letting FAA, AOPA, and outfits like a few of the key GA avionics manufacturers seriously screw this up, while the foundation for all this mess was being poured and playing out. Time to come out of the back of the hangar, understand the complexity of the issues, advocate what will work and what will not, and advocate for what is affordable for GA, and then speak up, before it is too late.

        • Bill Dominguez says:

          I agree that life is complicated and full of nuances, unfortunately we live surrounded by people with short attention span, if you depend on convincing others in order to solve any problem, the message need to be concise because your message will be competing among many other unrelated messages, for the attention of your subjects. Maybe low end GA need to find a strategy that does not involve convincing outsiders.

          • Doyle Frost says:

            Gentlemen, we do have a problem with G.A. being recognized. (Locally, I’m known as the GA nut, as I write letters to the local paper about once a month.) Something about our local paper, only allowed 300 words to get one’s point across. Perhaps we all need to get our wants, desires, and sometimes needs, down to a similar size. Don’t think the public would get too lost with something that short and concise.
            We do need to get our local and national officials involved at the grass roots levels, as they are masters of manipulation of public opinion. Too often, they have no stake in this game, therefore, could care less. At present, they are a major part of our problem.

    • John Wesley says:

      The local IMC club that I belong to is putting on a program by Dr David Strahle, I spent all of last weekend going to all of the GA airports in a 50 mile arc to the east, going to do the west this weekend. Believe me when I tell you, IT IS ALREADY TOO LATE.

      • ManyDecadesGA says:

        John Wesley, …I fear you’re absolutely correct. It make me very very sad.

        Reality isn’t going to set in for many in the low end GA crowd, until they’re faced with a deadline like a lockout of airspace in 2020, with the prospect of blowing perhaps $10s of thousands on more marginally useful avionics, that still is NOT going to solve the airspace access or cost issue. The present NextGen plan propagates an obsolete 5 decade old “hand carried vector duplex voice paradigm” into a iPad iPhone world. The airlines knew it long ago, and dumped useless features like WAAS and LPV, because they knew it wasn’t needed (with nearly a hundred GNSS SVs to be up there now), and that there are other far better less expensive solutions (they don’t even need useless WAAS for their ADS-B). They also well know that NextGen isn’t going to solve the “Cost per unit separation service” issue, the “Capacity per unit time, per acre, per $ issue”, and the avionics really needed to start getting benefits are already largely already installed on much of the air carrier fleet (but NOT on “placebo glass eye-candy” GA fleets). All this as authorities and ANSPs increasingly will hit with user fees, that will eventually break the bank… then FAA will simply say… “but you all agreed to this.” Hence I fear “Iacta alea est”.

  11. Bill Dominguez says:

    I’ll keep it simple, cheap avgas, less than $5 per gallon. Cheaper tie down at my local airports, less than 50 for tie down or less than 400 for a hangar. That will do it for me.

  12. ManyDecadesGA says:

    Mr. John Wesley speaks with wisdom and truth. If AOPA, EAA, SSA, and similar organizations do not soon wake up, and speak out, I fear for GA’s future in this country, and worldwide. We’ve (low end GA) been captured by corporations that have little interest in anything but next quarter’s ROI and maximizing profit, while encouraged and even forced by flawed regulatory authority policy and rule nonsense down a path to oblivion, much to the exclusion of any long term vision, that would actually be healthy and hopeful for aviation. This all is now particularly threatening to low end GA, especially a seriously flawed FAA concept of NextGen (much better termed PastGen or Avionicsvendor$Gen).

  13. ManyDecadesGA says:

    The “Answer” you’ve requested…
    1. Fully Allocated “Cost per unit separation service” and nav infrastructure access, for an ASEL aircraft and mission, that totals < $10.00 per flight.
    2. Fully allocated airport user costs < 10.00 per flight.
    3. Assured shared access to global airspace, except for immediate TFR disaster coordination, national security SCATANA, or conflict with direct military or security operations.
    4. An avionics suite for ASEL GA aircraft to do CNS and ALL the above, that costs less than $10,000 to install, and costs << less than $100/year to operate.

    This is all entirely possible, on the basis of Physics and economics. In fact it is absolutely necessary, if UAVs are to ever reach their full potential globally, and if GA as we know it is to survive.

    This is all possible with proper application of RNP, GNSS, GBAS, a suitable data set of data links, AND an automated conflict probe and resolution process.

    But it is NOT going to happen with present already obsolete 1:1 radar vector based NextGen fueled concepts, with conceptually flawed ADS-B "radar substitute" paradigm.

    It is time for an FAA "Reset", …if even an FAA "Control-Alt-Delete".

    • John Wesley says:

      And here we see just what Jamie speaks about, what was said, was accurate, i understood every word of it, the public does not.

      We have done this to ourselves, for years we have made aviation an almost mystical endeavor that only a select and privileged few are able to support and participate in, today it is no different and i do not see any signs of change coming done the road. that light that some people are seeing at the end of the tunnel, is a runaway freight train, heading straight for us.

      • I agree with your assessment of “manydecadesGA”s post. I however do not understand much of his acronym laden post, despite myself having been in G.A. for many decades myself. The statements of ten dollars per flight and 100 per year and added equipment at $10,000 show my difference with this poster. Those costs would cause me to stop flying. The thought that those added cost would be acceptable and implying that it is needed to keep the system working, demonstrates the concept that this is a rich man’s game. Until those who want more technology and those, like myself, that fly antiques with a compass and paper chart can get along, G.A. will indeed be slowly eliminated. It may not even be that slow if owners like me are required to add $10,000 dollars of equipment to our $20,000 dollar aircraft.

        • ManyDecadesGA says:

          To Mr. Greg W. I understand your valid cost concern, but please note – Those costs which I cited are the FULLY ALLOCATED costs. You (we) already pay MUCH MUCH more than that, completely UNNECESSARILY, in the combination of fuel taxes, IRS taxes from the general fund sent to FAA, Hangar Rent, FBO stopover fees, tiedown fees, and countless other charges, …including for poorly designed dysfunctional avionics, that can’t even do a fraction of what’s needed for efficient ATS separation service, and C-N-S infrastructure support. John Wesley is most correct in his inference that few in GA really understand either the issues, true costs, or the consequences. If we had to pay the FULLY ALLOCATED COST of FAA’s utter obsolete waste, of the many unneeded towers, FSSs, TRACONS, ARTCCs, RMLs, RCOs, let alone flight inspection and siting costs for ILSs, all to 1:1 hand carrying aircraft via SAGE era vectors, evolved into 1950s architecture implemented in NAS Stage A and ARTS III, NONE OF US COULD AFFORD TO FLY in GA in anything less costly than a GIII, or alternately ride as a passenger on UAL/DL/AA/SWA. As for the avionics suite, you already have much of what you need installed in the form of VG DGs (which at its core is just low cost inertial). So the incremental cost for an ASEL airplane (or a UAV), either VFR, IFR, or in the future EFR, should be (and could be) less that about $3000 for a good RNP capable FMS navigator fueled by GNSS, and low cost Kalman filtered inertial, that can hook to a suitable data link, and about $2000 for a data link that can exchange the state vector, including the RNP based 3D or 4D past-next-and next+1 WP trajectory. WAAS is a $4B total waste of money, LPV (Laterally Polluting Vermin) is just a horrendous waste of airspace, vastly inferior to RNP, and ADS-B is nothing short of an obsolete limited capability TEMPORARY Mode S based data link. UAT and ADS-R are simply a joke, if not even economic fraud.

          • Lee Ensminger says:

            So, Greg W told you he didn’t understand your acronym-laden post, and you responded with an even longer, MORE acronym-laden rant. I don’t think that will clear things up for him. I know that I didn’t understand where you are headed with many of your points…

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