Words of Advice:

“Stand back and stand by.”— Trump’s orders to American Nazis, 9/29/2020

"We have it totally under control. It's one person coming from China. It's going to be just fine." -- Donald Trump, 1/22/2020

“We will not see diseases like the coronavirus come here..and isn't it refreshing when contrasting it with the awful presidency of President Obama."
-- Trump Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, 2/25/20

"I don't take responsibility for anything." --Donald Trump, 3/13/20

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It." -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot, by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Friday, November 25, 2016

Now Let's Fuck Up ATC

Trump is listening to the airlines, who want to privatize the national air traffic control network.

The way it works now is that if you want to file an IFR flight plan, you just do it. You then pick up your clearance and go. Whether you're flying a Citation-X or a Super Cub, as long as the aircraft is IFR capable and the pilot(s) are instrument-rated and capable, that's about it. The system itself is paid for by fuel taxes. Oh, some of the bigger airports have landing fees, but most don't.

What the airlines really want to do is to stamp out the use of ATC by general aviation, which they will seek to do by charging user-fees that the airlines will say are "fair and equitable". It'll be like converting the interstate highway system into toll roads and then letting the trucking companies set the toll rates. That won't bother users of the really big bizjets, a couple extra grand won't faze Larry Ellison or Oprah Winfrey. But charging owners of Mooneys or Cessnas a couple hundred to file an IFR flight plan will persuade a lot of them to either try the trip VFR or take a commercial flight, which would also please the airlines.


Iron City said...

This idea has been around for awhile but there never seems to be the critical mass to actually do it. Maybe having ATC as a corporation like the Postal Service isn't attractive. The Canadians sold their system to a non-stock corporation that "bought" the system from the government with money borrowed from Canadian banks backed by the faith and credit of the Canadian government. Some privatization.

CenterPuke88 said...

Good news, bad news. NATCA supported the proposal because it protected controllers, it gave a seat(s) at the table to Unions (especially NATCA) and it didn't do anything to impose fees on GA. The really that was being faced was it was going forward, with or without support.

Better news, the not-for-profit was locked in, and Boeing and Lockheed-Martin had already said they were out.

Bad news, the not-for-profit and fees for GA could easily make their way back in...however, there are some strong voices on both sides of the aisle that oppose any such changes. I don't like this development, but it's not the end of the world (yet).

Paul W said...

why fix something that for the most part seemed to be working? why does this have to happen? Don't say "because airlines want control or more money," give me valid reasons this has to happen.

Comrade Misfit said...

Paul, it's right-wing theology that the private sector can do things faster, better and cheaper.

Ayup. KBR/Halliburton installed self-electrocuting showers for our soldiers in Kuwait and Iraq. Blackwater's ineptitude and arrogance cost hundreds of American and thousands of Iraqi lives. The disaster that was LockMart's taking over the Flight Service Stations was only mitigated by pilots moving to online services.

Not that the government can always do it better. The saga of the M-14 should show that.

But the right believes that all government should do is collect taxes from teh poor and the middle class and then pay contractors to do everything. Sooner or later, your local cops will be all Pinks, or whatever name Blackwater now uses.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I'll bite. What is the saga of the M.14?

My impression of the M-14 is that was it my favorite personal weapon of the Cold War. First introduced to it in Freshman year ROTC. Enjoyed using it for drill and on the range all 4 years. Best Drill and Ceremonies rifle since the 03 Springfield. Must still be, since the Old Guard continues to use it at Arlington.

As an LT in Germany in a mech Infantry Battalion, 76-79, many times I wished it was our weapon instead of the M-16. We had GDP positions for the platoons facing 5-6 k's of mostly open fields. Great Tank country, very bad for infantry. At least it could reach out farther with more punch than the M-16. In hand to hand, fixed bayonets fighting, it was much tougher than an M-16. [Thank God I never had to do that. Most danger I ever faced was when at Graffenwohr Training Center a 155 Arty unit shooting over my 81 Mortar Platoon all morning fucked up and had rounds explode over our heads. Luckily the sharpnel hit in the forest in front of our position.]

It also got pulled back into service for Iraq/Afghanistan since it had much better penetration through concrete block or mud walls when fighting in built up areas, and better in the wide open spaces of mountain and desert. And adapted for sniper use.

The M-16 after its early teething problems is a good weapon for what it was designed for: jungle fighting.

Jack the Cold Warrior

Comrade Misfit said...


Well, as you know, the Army has largely replaced the M-16 with the M-4, getting a weapon of even shorter range. They seem to think that anything over 200 yards is the province pf artillery or air support.

Springfield Armory began to work on a replacement for the M-1 just after the war. To say that they fiddle-fucked around for many years would be an understatement. Production was a nightmare. By comparisons, Beretta designed and fielded a very good rifle that was very similar, the BM-59, in only a few years.

Overall, I suspect that the M-14s reputation far exceeded the reality.

Anonymous said...

Australia had a fuel-levy (tax) system similar to the USA but the 'free-market' ideologues convinced our governments to change that into a user-pays system in the name of 'fairness' (the city folks were in-effect subsiding the rural areas but it also did provide aviation services in the inland).

Now we have a government-owned monopoly business running ATC and a government department that runs the regulation, licencing and 'safety' issues.

The non-military government-owned airports were sold-off, the fuel-levy was removed (but later re-introduced at a lower level), and 'user-pays' occured.

ATC will charge for landings, T&Gs, practices, etc., enroute IFR services are charged by distance and MTOW, (plus there are other charges that mostly affect the RPT operators.)
The 'safety' regulator has a fee for freaking everything and is generally regarded by GA as useless and/or incompetent and/or insanely bureaucratic.
(their latest debacle was to mandate that all IFR flights had to have ADSB operational by Feb 2017, but some brave soul managed to deflate some egos and the ruling has recently changed so that it now aligns with the USA implementation date).
Meanwhile, the ATC operator is busily removing more ground-based navaids to reduce costs and increase profits so that government can get more dividends and management can get more 'performance' bonuses.

The consequence of all the above is that we have a lot less GA activity.