Performers donated $250K, how much did you ‘donate’?

At a closing day media briefing, Sun ’n Fun president John ‘Lites’ Leenhouts said airshow performers donated $250,000 worth of performances to the fly-in this year. Lites was a few minutes late to the media briefing because he was thanking performers at the airshow safety briefing. “When a group donates $250,000 of services,” Lites said, “I think it is important to say thank you.”

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General aviation user fee civility

User fees have reared their head in President Obama’s fiscal year 2013 proposed budget. Longtime General Aviation News columnist Charles Spence wrote about a letter 100 mayors sent to President Obama regarding the budget’s potential $100-per-flight fee. The comments that follow are interesting. Commenter “gbin” says: “I wonder how many of the mayors who signed that letter were deliberately misled into thinking that the user fee pertains to all or nearly all of general aviation, rather than just to jet aircraft users?” and continues with “I wonder why the author of this piece felt entitled to obscure the rather significant fact that piston aircraft users — the great majority of general aviation — are exempt from the fee (as certain other writers here have also omitted), and to label the Obama administration’s proposal as “attacks on GA” (rather more politically partisan than most reporting here)?”

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Lead fuel usage not known to non-aviators

“Lead in paint has been a well known public health problem for decades and that product was banned decades ago. No news about that,” said John Ryan, a reporter for Seattle’s KUOW, when I asked why his story focused on avgas rather than the “much bigger threat” of lead paint. “I think most people outside the general aviation field would not know there is still a leaded fuel in wide use in this country,” Ryan continued. “And avgas lead is the number one source of lead in the nation’s air and with few people knowing about it, that combination makes it newsworthy in my eyes.”

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‘Crumbling paint a bigger threat’ than leaded avgas

“More lead goes into the air here at Boeing Field than anywhere else in Washington state,” says KUOW’s John Ryan reporting from Ruby Chow Park under the flight path of Seattle’s Boeing Field (BFI).

In his story on KUOW titled, “Flying The Leaded Skies: Small Planes Still Pour Lead Into America’s Air,” Ryan takes us on a journey regarding leaded fuel.

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Connecting flights

The end of the year is a time of reflection. As 2011 winds down, my family and I experienced an unreal 19-day stretch that put a great deal into perspective about life and aviation.

Here’s a peek into a public journal:

Nov. 10: My wife, Deb, and I were in the Indianapolis International Airport when we received the news that her Dad’s cancer had spread too far to continue the battle and doctors recommended hospice.

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Paper charts still needed, but AeroNav is wrong

Does anyone dispute the need for paper charts for pilots? I hope not. Likewise, there can be no doubt about the rapid rise of digital chart usage. More and more general aviation pilots (and airlines and flight departments for that matter) are adopting “appified” navigation via [insert app here] on Apple’s iPad and a few other tablet devices. How dare anyone stand in the way of this progress. Yet that is exactly what the FAA’s AeroNav (Aeronautical Navigation Products) division is proposing.

If you are unaware, AeroNav held a meeting on December 13 “for companies interested in distributing our digital product line in the future.” The meeting had a stated goal “to collaboratively discuss options for FAA’s AeroNav Products to develop a proposal to best distribute digital products.” That goal seems right enough… yet highlights from the meeting tell a much different story. Five of the nine bullet points from AeroNav’s meeting highlights mention fees and/or revenue.

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What’s wrong with user fees?

The Oct. 7 issue of General Aviation News included several articles warning against the dire consequences of user fees being proposed by our federal government. In a letter to the editor, Kevin Mossey even made the astounding claim that we “all need to sacrifice” by accepting higher fuel taxes. One can only imagine that he works for the government, the only sector of our economy that has not experienced Great Depression-era unemployment the past three years.

In this same issue of GAN, LSA expert Dan Johnson reported that 122 new S-LSA models have been certified in the past six-and-a- half years. Congratulations Dan! Most of these aircraft come from European nations that have funded their aviation infrastructure through user fees for decades, hardly consistent with the gloom-and-doom predictions from our aviation alphabets.

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50 years of safe flying


Ohio’s Tom Root was awarded the Wright Brothers “Master Pilot” Award in September. He applied for the award “based on a lifetime of single pilot/photographer with over 5,000 hours doing aerial photography.”

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