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Aviation Under Attack
I try to shy away from negative subjects in my attempts to promote aviation, but most readers of this blog are “big-boys and girls” and can handle a healthy dose of reality from time to time.
The aviation news outlets have been all abuzz with various sorts of morbid announcements last week.
First up, the President put user fees back on the table. $100 per turbine operation. This may seem benign to you; those turbine guys can afford it right?
The problem with user fees is that any money extorted, I mean collected, will almost certainly be absorbed by the bureaucracy needed to be put into place to collect it. Which doesn’t solve any budgetary issues and thus the monster will need to continue to be fed a larger diet of our cash.
Worse yet is the fact that once the camel gets his head in the tent, user fees will be soon upon our horizon for the reason stated above.
The hypocrisy of all this is we already have a user fee. It’s the tax we pay on our aviation fuels. We have even agreed as an industry to accept a higher fuel tax, but that’s apparently not good enough! (See my related article here)
The other bit of bad new is the $26M verdict against Lycoming in a Washington State court. The case articles in the news are much more explanatory, but I offer up that Lycoming’s engine didn’t contribute to the VFR into IMC CFIT accident, but those facts didn’t keep the jury from employing their own form of wealth redistribution. Robin Hood would be proud. It does appear the Lycoming plans to appeal – I would hope so! Now my $35,000.00 4-cylinder will cost me $50,000.00 in the not-so-distant-future. Lycoming should really consider a getting a better legal team.
Finally, we have the NTSB nipping at our heels. They put out a call to action last month with their declaration that we bug smashers aren’t safe enough and we are going to do something about it. The “Safety Alerts”, all four of them, were benign enough, but the point that we should all be taking away is that they mean business. They want the accident rates to drop, not go up and not plateau. Our airliner brethren had a good run recently so we are in the spotlight. (See my related article here)
So I don’t think it is overly dramatic to claim General Aviation under attack.
What can we do about it?
User Fees are political so we need to rally our political will and not wait around on the inevitable. Write your elected representative. Join an alphabet group, even if they piss you off from time to time.
As for the specter of liability in the face of our overly litigious society – I have nothing. The folks that make their living off the system are the same clan making the laws. It’s a great gig if you can get it, but it won’t take many more generations of this to ruin us, if our government money printing machine doesn’t do it first (that’s another topic for another blog).
There, I feel better getting that off my chest.
Fly now, while you can!
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