Editor's Log

August 2006 Issue




Editor's Log: 08/06

Dear Uncle:

How have you been lately? It seems your name makes the news often, and not always in the best light. We admit that we haven’t written as often as we should; hope you’ll understand that we’re all pretty busy these days. We know you are, too. All of us here hope you’ll soon shrug off the distractions you’ve been facing and once again will be able to focus on helping out the rest of us.

When you get to that point, we hope you’ll stop for a moment and consider what’s going on out in the field. Demand for general aviation has never been greater, but your colleagues seem determined to keep erecting roadblocks. Their clamoring for user fees is one part; policies leading to increased enforcement without much discussion for even the most innocent mistakes is another. And don’t even get me started on the hoops we must jump through if we want to modify an aircraft by adding something for which an STC doesn’t exist.

Another area of concern is ATC. It seems that, no matter where we fly these days, the spirit of cooperation between pilots and controllers has eroded to paper-thin margins. The best examples involve lengthy—and expensive—vectors for lighter aircraft, just so the controllers don’t have to work so hard at fitting in all the RJs. It seems more and more procedures and routes are being designed for the airliners and the controllers, while the rest of us are on our own and have to make up things as we go. We remember when it didn’t used to be that way.

Most recently, your colleagues suggested doing away with a bunch of instrument approach procedures to smaller airports. The thinking seems to be that everyone has an approved GPS nowadays, so approaches using ground-based navaids are no longer necessary. We know it costs money for these things, but isn’t that why we pay dues to remain members of your club? We know you feel strongly about things like this, and hope you’ll soon be able to sit these people down and straighten them out.

If we didn’t know better, we’d be worried that your colleagues are more concerned about what we can do for them than the other way around. Way too often these days, we hear that some of the things your colleagues used to do without a thought are now too hard, too expensive or too complicated. It seems no matter where we turn these days, someone in your organization is trying to make our flying more burdensome and more complicated, all without really adding much to safety or flexibility. When your busy schedule allows, please make a few phone calls and look into this.

Well, that’s all for now. We hope you’ll be able to address some of these concerns as time permits. If we could, though, we’d ask you to please hurry, especially since many of the people we speak with are growing more and more convinced your heart’s not in it anymore. And we know that’s not a good thing. Write back when you get the chance.

—Jeb Burnside