Aviation tax reform…indeed

Jeff Smisek is the CEO of United Airlines. His CEO Letter in the November issue of Hemispheres Magazine was titled, “Aviation Tax Reform,” which caught my eye.

“The taxation system across transportation modes is broken, and airlines and our customers are paying the price for this irrational structure,” laments Mr. Smisek. The government imposes “17 different taxes and fees” on his customers and his airline.

The CEO of one of the nation’s preeminent carriers is calling for a simplified tax structure for the airline industry. You have my support Mr. Smisek.

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BMI could trigger additional scrutiny with proposed policy

The FAA is targeting pilots (and controllers) with a “proposed obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) policy.” Pilots and controllers with a Body Mass Index (calculate yours here) with 40 and higher, will be the initial target.

Federal Air Surgeon Fred Tilton wrote in recent medical bulletin those pilots “will have to be evaluated by a physician who is a board certified sleep specialist.” Those diagnosed with OSA must be treated before they acquire a medical certificate, Tilton wrote.

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Thank you for your service

JoAnnSandyHill

If there is one constant in life, it is that change is inevitable. In the aviation industry, this often manifests as people leave one job to take another. Or, as in the case of JoAnn and Sandy Hill from Longmont, Colo., it can take the form of retirement after what most would agree is a long and eventful professional life.

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Old Coot pilots come up with ideas for a new medical

JohnChristiansen
Guest Editorial By John Christensen

I recently attended my 50th high school reunion. I had a wonderful time reminiscing with classmates. As one would expect, the rather large crowd quickly organized itself into small groups, according to interests, past and present. I found myself embedded in a pod of old coot pilots.

After the hangar stories, lies and exaggerations were dutifully processed, the conversation topic switched to the Class 3 medical and our collective assortment of various health issues keeping us grounded. Many colleagues are aircraft owners and pilots. Tickets ran the gambit from ATP to private. All had one common interest: To somehow legally get back into the air, as seniors.

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‘He died doing what he loved’

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Guest Editorial By THOMAS P. TURNER

The pilot of a twin-engine airplane sped through a narrow mountain pass. Low clouds obscured the ridges and peaks; pine trees blurred past just a few hundred feet below, materializing from the mist, flashing dark green beneath the sleek airplane, and zooming into the cloak of mist behind with dizzying speed.

The pilot pressed on, familiarity with the terrain and a business need to get through the pass to the other side giving him confidence, even as conditions worsened. As he knew it would, the pass narrowed until there was no possibility of turning around, certainly not at the aircraft’s fast cruising speed. Suddenly something went incredibly wrong, and a ball of what remained of the aircraft came to a gnarled rest at the end of a 700-foot-long impact scar.

I won’t cite the specific crash involved out of respect for all involved and in the absence of a compete investigation. Any specific incident to which you may link this narrative is entirely the result of your imagination. In numerous chat rooms and Internet bulletin boards, however, many pilots praised this pilot’s final flight with these supposedly comforting words: “He died doing what he loved.” [Read more…]

Do you feel lucky?

GuestEditorialSteveBillHanshew
Guest Editorial By STEVE BILL HANSHEW

Pilots dread ramp checks. It’s a lot like a prostate exam in a flight physical — you don’t want one, but sooner or later you’re going to get one.

No matter that it’s a part of an FAA inspector’s job to periodically audit any aircraft he or she chooses, the pilot’s perception is always the same: “Lord, why me” or “What have I done now?”

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No medical required

Is this country great or what?

I can rent a 30-foot-long CruiseAmerica.com motorhome, with no prior large vehicle experience, load it with six of my friends and family, and plow on down the road.

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