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Thread: AOPA against House bill on privatization

  1. #1

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    AOPA against House bill on privatization

    The effort now under way in Congress to privatize the air traffic control system would be a disaster for general aviation, according to Mark Baker, the president of AOPA. In a podcast interview this week, Baker told AVweb that July is a critical time for aviators to lobby their Congressional representatives, if they agree with AOPA’s view that the Senate’s version of the FAA funding bill is better for GA than the House version. The House bill would spin off the FAA’s air traffic control function into a private nonprofit corporation, managed with input from the airlines. Baker says such a system would soon ignore the needs of general-aviation pilots. The Senate bill aims to modernize the system, but wouldn’t privatize it, Baker said.



    “We’ve gone full blast with a call to action for our members to get in touch with their representatives while they’re back in their home districts over the holiday,” Baker said. “We’ve got a good chance [to prevail] but we’ve got to rally hard.” Baker said the issue is likely to remain in play for the rest of the year, before any definitive action is taken. “What are we really trying to fix?” he asked. If glitches in the funding and budgeting system for ATC are the problem, he said, there are other ways to fix that besides privatizing. “Where is the allocation of airport money going to go, 10 years from now?” he asks. The answer will depend on how much power the airlines have in the system, he says.

    Personally, I like to see the details before jumping to either side. I'm not sure reducing the size of the FAA is a bad thing but the devil is in the details so let's look before we leap.
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.
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    WindOnHisNose's Avatar
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    The MN Pilots Assn has decided to back AOPA's work to stop the movement toward privitization of the ATC system, and have joined other aviation organizations in MN to express our concerns. Here is a letter that we just sent.

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    Randy

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    Anything that private industry can do the government can do poorly and at great expense.
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    Christina Young's Avatar
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    I happen to agree with Stewart here. But I think it needs to be carefully thought out -- I am not sure I would want something like Canada's system here either. They are technically "private", but pretty much a monopoly without competition or incentive to make it cheaper and better.
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    Bill Rusk's Avatar
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    Proverbial "camels nose under the tent"

    They may claim GA will not be harmed but I have just about zero trust of our government. It will quickly be amended after it passes to tax the crap out of GA. After all, it is not fair that you have an airplane and others can't afford one.

    There re are some services our federal gvt should provide. Security (military), roads, infrastructure, etc and ATC is one of those.

    JMHO

    Bill
    Very Blessed.
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    WindOnHisNose's Avatar
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    Listing of aviation organizations who signed the AOPA letter...


    1. ABS Air Safety Foundation
    2. Air Care Alliance
    3. Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
    4. Alaska Airmen Association
    5. Association of Air Medical Services
    6. California Pilots Association
    7. Cardinal Flyers Association
    8. Cessna Flyer Association
    9. Cessna Pilots Association
    10. Cessna Pilots Society
    11. Citation Jet Pilot Association
    12. Classic Jet Aircraft Association
    13. Commemorative Air Force
    14. Experimental Aviation Association
    15. Flight School Association of North America
    16. General Aviation Manufacturers Association
    17. Glasair Aircraft Owners Association
    18. Helicopter Association International
    19. Kansas Pilots
    20. Kentucky Aviation Association
    21. Lancair Owners and Builders Organization
    22. Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association
    23. Minnesota Pilots Association
    24. Mooney Summit
    25. National Air Transportation Association
    26. National Association Of State Aviation Officials
    27. National Business Aviation Association
    28. Piper Flyer Association
    29. Recreational Aviation Foundation
    30. Soaring Society of America
    31. South Dakota Pilots Association
    32. Tennessee Aviation Association
    33. Veterans Airlift Command
    34. Washington Pilots Association


    Randy

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    sjohnson's Avatar
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    I'm generally pro privatization. But I'm not sure it will work for ATC: we'll necessarily wind up with a monopoly (we can't have competing ATC systems), with the biggest customer being the airlines. Cubs don't need 10,000' runways, fancy terminals, and 300' tall towers, but we'll still be "using" them. How do we calculate fees fairly? There is a reason the airlines support user fees, even though they're the biggest user (in passengers).

    It might work better if we can opt out, e.g. flight plans, weather, etc., but come the first income shortfall, we'll likely be seeing mandatory flight plans, tower fees, etc.
    "Beer is no longer another flavor of coffee, it prevents you from being stunned and gives you unlimited stamina for 60 seconds."
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    Everyone hates entitlements. Until somebody messes with theirs.

    I'm a fan of reducing government. The major problem is government will still want the taxes when they aren't providing the services. And that's the crux of the biscuit. This could be a really good idea but the government will likely use it to justify another money grab.

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    WindOnHisNose's Avatar
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    The call to action by AOPA:


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    What ever happened to the A-76 law that we operated under a few short years ago. Basically it says whatever is inherently government must stay government, like military, law enforcement, etc. everything else shall be placed under contract by private business.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SD cubman View Post
    What ever happened to the A-76 law that we operated under a few short years ago. Basically it says whatever is inherently government must stay government, like military, law enforcement, etc. everything else shall be placed under contract by private business.
    Just look at the defense industry, private security and so on. A vast part of what "government" provides is furnished by contractors...how many dozers does DOT have? Our industrial complex relies on government contracts to sustain their future and by the way make a pretty decent profit at the same time. First thing that came to mind is how many lobbyists will profit first from this initiative. The "swamp" is getting deeper by the minute and I wouldn't suggest we look to "government" to drain it.
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

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    I fly extensively (yes, VFR only but mostly with flight following) in both remote and controlled airspace up to and including much Class Bravo time and my only insurmountable complaint is why won't Orlando take a VFR Flight Following handoff from JAX ?

    I'm a process guy, and am intrigued by how things work and don't especially those which take multiple steps. That said and having been in several towers, the FAA Controller training center in Norman plus a local remote college training center and even a portion of the operations floor at Ft. Worth Center a couple of years ago I'm fairly impressed with the core workings of ATC. Sure there are some antiquated radars and other technology that are suspect but I really don't understand all this Trumped up BS about paper strips having to be passed hand to hand is the end of the world!

    As for the FAA admin side, like with charting, airspace and obstruction determinations some privatization like with the USACE and EPA could work but when lives are at risk, as a business person who has privatized government functions, the liability shed is too difficult for anyone but the government.

    The driver of this BS appears to be Bill Schuster, Chairman of the House Transportation Committee who as memory serves was the SIGNLE most source of BLOCKAGE to the PBR-2 who I met with on various occasions, and given his tactics I find him to be less than forthright when discussing GA aircraft issues... but he does seem to care a bunch about something, just not sure if that is the potential privateer or the airlines but regardless he has a powerful agenda and I don't believe its for the betterment of GA safety or efficiency.

    Paper strips attached to sliders going hand to hand gives me no issues whatsoever when you see it especially when compared to the thought of it all being automated... (if you think you like automation try the self checkout at Lowe's Saturday afternoon, me I'm of the philosophy we need to have jobs available and societally we need to require individuals perform in theirs). One more thing, paper doesn't usually lock up and rarely has to be re-booted and when the printer croaks well they can be hand written and the last time I checked they can't be hacked by anything but a jar of White-Out, so what's not to like.

    Could the FAA better sure, so what can't but how about funding I mean actually funding the continued operations for a reasonable time. Anyone know when the last Congress actually funding government operations by "Regular Order" (you know you learned about it in Government Class, it's the process where Congress actually does their job and reviews, discusses, debates and votes by each area of government rather than by passing the buck and living by Continuing Resolution or "CR" for short? Sure been awhile but it works when used.

    What would I like to see, simple things like a properly implemented improvement plan plus some easily achievable real improvements like faster weather reporting say to the 1/2 hour for remote stations (I mean wow, no more "better than an hour old" altimeter settings, some better radar, faster strip printers, here's one how about real-time airport NOTAMS via ADS-B or better yet supporting real data on XM or what about ATIS recorders having more than one tape (or maybe digital recording now there's an idea) so it doesn't have to be blank while a new one is re-recorded (and don't get me going on those synthetic voice POS ATIS thingies, YUCK!).

    In closing why those who are our leaders and who know nothing of the issue refuse to listen to all of those who do while they drool over killing the beast just on account of because vs. addressing improvements without tossing the base methodology which actually works aside is beyond me.

    If you want real savings in DC, then congress should aggressively address the number of Federal holidays and employee vacation time and if that does not dramatically reduce costs then threaten the privatize thing as per year as in my observation the direct compensation of Federal employees is fare and competitive but the time off benefit and production of some is grossly ridiculous.

    OC
    Last edited by OLDCROWE; 07-01-2017 at 07:58 AM.
    "Don't feed the hipsters"
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    kase's Avatar
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    Shusters girl friend is a airline lobbyist




    http://www.politico.com/story/2015/0...obbyist-117054


    The driver of this BS appears to be Bill Schuster, Chairman of the House Transportation Committee who as memory serves was the SIGNLE most source of BLOCKAGE to the PBR-2 who I met with on various occasions, and given his tactics I find him to be less than forthright when discussing GA aircraft issues... but he does seem to care a bunch about something, just not sure if that is the potential privateer or the airlines but regardless he has a powerful agenda and I don't believe its for the betterment of GA safety or efficiency.
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    Hmmmm....the plot(s) thickens! When I went thru counterintelligence school I remember being told that sex is the root of all things bad...except I think he used the part of female anatomy involved!!
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

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    mvivion's Avatar
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    if there is such a thing as "Inherently governmental" it should be ATC. This is simply a ploy to put the airline industry in charge of our airspace and ATC. The "privatized" system would be run by a board consisting of airline representatives.

    If there is an industry in the US that is more screwed up than the government, the airline industry would have to right up there. What percentage of airlines have been bankrupt? These are the folks who will run our ATC system? With zero GA representation.

    MTV

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    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kase View Post
    Shusters girl friend is a airline lobbyist

    http://www.politico.com/story/2015/0...obbyist-117054
    Hmmm? I guess that we have determined what her occupation really is. Other women get arrested for plying the same trade. $400,000 per year for selling her ---. The swamp in DC is becoming more and more exposed daily.
    N1PA

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    As the old saying goes. "The devil is in the details." A large part of our ATC system is already privatized. Look at all the towers that are operated by contractors. Look at the FSS system. Anybody find the FSS system wanting versus what was in place before? All of the oceanic radios are privatized. I find NavCanada's service quite efficient. On the other hand, when you enter London's airspace I count to three and then comes the vector. Why? They get paid more for a vector! The UK's system went bust and had to be bailed out so we see "revenue maximization" in their control.

    The real issue here is consistent funding. By separating the ATC system from the whims of the budget and giving it a secure revenue stream, it is believed things will be better, IF Congress can keep its hands off the revenue stream.
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    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeeBee View Post
    All of the oceanic radios are privatized. I find NavCanada's service quite efficient.
    With the western Atlantic controlled by Canada. The USA's corruption is out of the picture.

    Quote Originally Posted by GeeBee View Post
    The real issue here is consistent funding. By separating the ATC system from the whims of the budget and giving it a secure revenue stream, it is believed things will be better, IF Congress can keep its hands off the revenue stream.
    Therein lies the problem, Congress always diverts funds from their intended purpose thereby creating other issues for them to muddle up.
    N1PA

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    mvivion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeeBee View Post
    The real issue here is consistent funding. By separating the ATC system from the whims of the budget and giving it a secure revenue stream, it is believed things will be better, IF Congress can keep its hands off the revenue stream.
    Sure, just like they've done with Medicare and Social Security?

    "Government" is indeed the problem, but it's the Congressional part of "Government " that needs fixing. This whole deal is a classic case of how to. Line pockets, not how to improve efficiency.

    MTV
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    SJ's Avatar
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    This is great information folks, and something I believe is important to all of us. Let's stay above devolving into political rhetoric and grandstanding so we can keep this thread alive.

    Thanks

    sj
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
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    Many of you are correct, Congress will corrupt this thing IF we let them. Look, this thing is going to happen, all the alphabet organizations such as AOPA, NBAA, EAA etc would be better served by shaping legislation that makes the revenue stream and governance incorruptible rather than simply opposing.

    I see this countless times locally. People oppose a new zoning or permit rather than participating in the process that shapes it.

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    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GeeBee View Post
    .... would be better served by shaping legislation that makes the revenue stream and governance incorruptible rather than simply opposing.
    It would be the first time in history if what you propose would happen.
    N1PA

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeeBee View Post
    Many of you are correct, Congress will corrupt this thing IF we let them. Look, this thing is going to happen, all the alphabet organizations such as AOPA, NBAA, EAA etc would be better served by shaping legislation that makes the revenue stream and governance incorruptible rather than simply opposing.

    I see this countless times locally. People oppose a new zoning or permit rather than participating in the process that shapes it.
    That's the funding legislation which needs to be accomplish via Regular Order rather but hat has only happened once is many years. Unfortunately the way it works is if a bad bill is filled you attack it then try to amend it. The good news is that I don't see this bad bill as having much of a chance in the Senate.
    "Don't feed the hipsters"

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    hotrod180's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sjohnson View Post
    I'm generally pro privatization. But I'm not sure it will work for ATC: we'll necessarily wind up with a monopoly (we can't have competing ATC systems), with the biggest customer being the airlines........but come the first income shortfall, we'll likely be seeing mandatory flight plans, tower fees, etc.
    Not sure where I stand on this one, but isn't FAA's ATC already a monopoly, with the airlines it's biggest customer?
    I'd say just fix what's broken with the existing system, but that's easier said than done.
    I am surprised that we haven't yet had to pay mandatory ATC fees, but even if ATC is not privatized I imagine that's in our future anyway.
    Cessna Skywagon-- accept no substitute!

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    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotrod180 View Post
    I am surprised that we haven't yet had to pay mandatory ATC fees, but even if ATC is not privatized I imagine that's in our future anyway.
    If you are required to install an ADS-B system because of where you fly, isn't that a form of ATC fees? Just asking.

    I'm not certain whether I'm for or against the privatization proposal. I've heard valid arguments both pro and con. Frankly the ATC system has operated fairly smoothly for many decades as it is. Perhaps it should just be separated from the FAA completely and still remain under government control? After all it did start under the airlines control until they could no longer manage it and it was turned over to the CAA. I'm nervous about it being private when the airlines who use it 100% of the time with unlimited funds to exert influence over it's operation can then control us peons who do not have similar power. We "little guys" as a group use the system a very small percentage of our flying time.
    Last edited by skywagon8a; 07-02-2017 at 10:33 AM.
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    I know I'm oversimplifying this, but . . .

    I'm always on the side of privatization. Simple reason is that the government organizations I do or have dealt with (active/reserve military, IRS, FAA, postal system, state and federal leaders, have, invariably been the most inefficient, unresponsive, uncaring, and downright corrupt entities known. Nothing done at the 'government' level will ever work correctly or positively.

    That being said, I acknowledge the dangers of switching ATC to private organizations. But with any private organization, economics needs to be tied to performance. You screw up, you lose money. You screw up bad enough and you lose all your money, contracts, etc. Tie the safe, smooth, efficient operation to the payout. Just get the job done? Okay, you get paid. Do the job better than expected? You get payed and get a bonus. Don't get it done? Lose your contract immediately. And linking the money to performance will cancel out big vs small. At the company level, it won't matter where you work as long as the job gets done. The individual controllers can work out pay with their employer. Want to work at Rochester, MN? No problem as long as you accept lower pay than the guy working O'Hare. The guy making the big bucks at O'Hare better understand that the moment he screws up, the company will replace him. After all, they won't take chances on being fined or losing the contract.

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    Cub Special Ed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotrod180 View Post
    Not sure where I stand on this one, but isn't FAA's ATC already a monopoly, with the airlines it's biggest customer?
    I'd say just fix what's broken with the existing system, but that's easier said than done.
    I am surprised that we haven't yet had to pay mandatory ATC fees, but even if ATC is not privatized I imagine that's in our future anyway.
    The problem is the government. They screw up everything they touch and want more money to fix it. Then screw it up more and want more money ect... jmho
    "There are 3 kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves." Will Rogers
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    Quote Originally Posted by skywagon8a View Post
    If you are required to install an ADS-B system because of where you fly, isn't that a form of ATC fees? Just asking.
    I will put a strong bet we will be seeing ADS-B out as a major key in taxation. When you brake ground from most anywhere you will be seen as using the airspace and be taxed for it even if you do not use the control system. It is one thing to pay a fee for the use of an approach system or flight following but I am not looking forward to paying a fee just to fly.
    Regards, Charlie
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  29. #29
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Charlie, When you build your new J-4 do not use an engine driven generator/alternator then you will not be required to install ADS-B.
    N1PA

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    Quote Originally Posted by skywagon8a View Post
    Charlie, When you build your new J-4 do not use an engine driven generator/alternator then you will not be required to install ADS-B.

    Good thought, makes the electronic fuel injection a bit tough to manage though.
    Regards, Charlie
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  31. #31
    skywagon8a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CharlieN View Post
    Good thought, makes the electronic fuel injection a bit tough to manage though.
    Not really, Have a battery with enough capacity and a wind driven generator. I'm running P-mag electronic ignition and some electric instruments on battery alone. The battery is good for many starts in a day. Wind driven generator is the key.
    N1PA

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cub Special Ed View Post
    The problem is the government. They screw up everything they touch and want more money to fix it. Then screw it up more and want more money ect... jmho
    While I won't debate government efficiency I will debate the merits of any form of government which held up as better than our own.
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    Term limits is a start and get rid of lobbies.

    I spent almost 38 years doing the July budget dance..."spend it or lose it" whether you need it or not before the end of September. We need adult leadership and that's hard to find at the top of the US Government.
    Somewhere along the way I have lost the ability to act politically correct. If you should find it, please feel free to keep it.

  34. #34
    Cub Special Ed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OLDCROWE View Post
    While I won't debate government efficiency I will debate the merits of any form of government which held up as better than our own.
    No form of govt is better than the one our founding fathers set up. The debate is, where in the constitution does it grant the federal govt the authority over anything other than military or foriegn trade? Evrything else should be left to the states.
    "There are 3 kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves." Will Rogers
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  35. #35
    SJ's Avatar
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    Folks, you are wandering off into politics here let's stay on point please.


    Sent from my iPad using SuperCub.Org
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  36. #36
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    Since I work for a government controlled industry that was spun off to be managed by private industry, I can relate my experience with it. The private contractor took over, stripped away the benefits for new employees, still works under the thumb of the federal government with all their inherent idiocracy and inefficiencies. There was no increase inefficiency. Worker benefits were significantly reduced. And the management fee for the contract went up by a factor of 10 as compared to when we were managed by a University. After 10 years of privatization, the feds are firing the contract company they brought in, and will award the management to a new contract company, thinking that's going to fix the problems. We can expect to lose more employee benefits, costs to go up, and still the same inefficiencies thanks to the federal government oversight since they are the source of the problems. I really don't think I want to see the FAA go that route. However, AOPA and EAA have to have a crisis, whether real or imagined, to maintain their membership roles to lobby in Washington. I'm not so sure I like being a part of that either.

    -Cub Builder
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  37. #37
    WindOnHisNose's Avatar
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    Cub Builder, thanks for your note. Your insight is helpful, and I also really don't want any part of privitization of ATC, for those reasons.

    With regard to your comment about AOPA and EAA, I would agree with your concerns with regard to EAA, but not AOPA. AOPA has done a quite remarkable job in getting legislation through that five years ago I really thought was not at all likely. Knowing Mark Baker, it is my sense that he really would rather not have this battle emerge just when they were catching their breath from the PBR2 legislative push...and it was a significant push.

    Randy
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  38. #38
    txpacer's Avatar
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    My experience as a government contractor was quite different. When I started my current job, we were a very small part of a very large defense contractor. Good pay, great work rules, and the company left us alone as long as we kept our customers happy. Then, some wonk decided our job was "inherently governmental" and made us GS. We got a 20% pay cut, eight layers of bs bureaucracy, and it didn't save the govt any money at all.

    That said, I am against ATC privatization. With the airlines running it, what do you think will happen? The only things airlines have been consistently good at is keeping their CEOs well paid.
    Last edited by txpacer; 07-05-2017 at 01:07 PM.
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  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by txpacer View Post
    That said, I am against ATC privatization. With the airlines running it, what do you think will happen? The only things airlines have been consistently good at is keeping their CEOs well paid.
    And, that is specifically the issue I see with this proposal. It has nothing to do with government or private contractors working in the field or even managing it. The fact is, this proposal suggests that a board will be formed to manage ATC, and it is clear that said board will be dominated by airline management. If you think it's hard to get government or non profits to listen to and advocate for general aviation issues, where do you think this proposal will put General Aviation in the "pecking order" when it comes to ATC/Airspace utilization, etc?

    Does anyone here seriously think that the airline industry would manage the ATC system in any way other than to benefit themselves? Based on the airline industry's history in this country, does anyone here seriously think that these people are capable of managing ANYTHING?

    But, the point is, this is not just changing management of a government function to a private entity that's being proposed.....it's effectively giving our access to the national airspace system to the airline industry, to do with as they wish.

    If it were done right, I have no problem with the ATC system being managed by a contractor......IF it were done right. What is being proposed here is not "done right" in my opinion.

    MTV
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  40. #40

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    The Senate bill, which has AOPA support is out of committee, but does not yet appear to have been published.

    https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-...nate-bill/1405
    Last edited by OLDCROWE; 07-05-2017 at 05:50 PM.
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