AOPA Diagnoses Aviation Ills with Research

By Scott Spangler on October 21st, 2010

Reading that AOPA has commissioned an ambitious research project to diagnose the ills that have been decimating the American pilot population for decades, a visceral first reaction was “finally!”

aopa The project’s announcement rightly said that people like me have been alluding to the various training traumas that result in the majority of students bleeding out of aviation before getting their certificates. We’ve wanted the hard facts, but lacked the resources needed to discern them.

Fortunately, AOPA has the necessary resources, so better late than never. AOPA said its “systematic qualitative and quantitative study” focused on “student pilots (current and lapsed), pilots, flight instructors, and flight school managers.”

With eager impatience I await the details, which AOPA says it will reveal during the AOPA Aviation Summit’s keynote address at 0900 Pacific on November 11. Unable to attend, I’ll tune into AOPA Live.

Along with its diagnosis AOPA will reveal its treatment plans for for the ills it qualitatively quantifies. As the news item’s headline said, “AOPA embarks on quest to fix flight training,”

To which the visceral reaction was “really?” In my experience pilots and flight schools have always been reluctant and recalcitrant patients, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t keep trying to get them to develop better habits. –Scott Spangler

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21 Responses to “AOPA Diagnoses Aviation Ills with Research”

  1. @williamAirways Says:

    This ought to be entertaining. I hope they’ll disclose their research methods and detailed statistical analysis models.

  2. Wayne Conrad Says:

    I read all of this in a recent AOPA magazine:

    o Leadless fuel is coming, praise the planet.
    o ADS-B is coming, yay! And it’s only kind-of expensive.
    o There’s a new tax on airplanes (re-registration).

    And this editorial, in the same edition, asked:

    o Why are fewer people flying, and what do we do about it?

    Three articles about how the government is making flying more regulated and more expensive, and then an editorial asking why fewer people are flying. Yeah.

  3. Ian Twombly Says:

    @williamAirways

    A leading national market research firm conducted the study, and the head of the project will be part of the AOPA Live segment on Nov. 11. I would absolutely expect that he will disclose the basic methodology.

    Speaking as someone involved in the project, but not as a researcher, I can tell you the research was a combination of both quantitative (phone survey) and qualitative (focus group) analysis.

    Thanks much.

    Ian Twombly

  4. Andy Smith Says:

    Robert & Scott,

    I read todays AOPA led Jetwhine post with interest.

    I am of course supportive of the idea that the more pilots we have, the better, but that is not necessarily a good gauge of the potential number of pilots that may become available to the airlines and bizjet operators in the way it once was.

    Without the large numbers of already professional pilots coming into the civil profession from the military how are we going to replace the much larger numbers of those very same people who are now retiring from the profession?

    Funding for flight training is a huge issue, the wash out rate of students in training and the ROI for students who do make it all the way to an airline are also huge handicaps.

    The real killer is that this generation, as weve previously discussed, does not see flying for a living as the great career that previous generations thought it to be. With starting salaries elsewhere a good deal higher and the cost of entry no worse in most professions, and the likelihood of furloughs down track they maybe/are right.

    A further point that needs to be raised is that aviation is not the only industry facing a personnel shortage; at a meeting last week I was reminded that baby boomer surgeons are also retiring on the same timelines and because of their even lengthier training period they face a 10 year hole! The point is that we will face severe wage competition for the types of people we need can we win it?

    Structured as the industry is we certainly face some big hurdles. No answers here but I will watch your debate with interest as it develops and well be having our own in CAT!

    Kind Regards and keep up the good work!

    Andrew P Smith, Publisher & CEO
    Civil Aviation Training
    Halldale Media Group

  5. Jim Chambers Says:

    I think its great that AOPA is adopting this “Lets get to the bottom of this!” approach to the causes of the problem. I hope we are all pleasantly surprised with what they find. My bet is that they will find many interesting tidbits. One of the things that will be interesting to see will be who are the people walking into flight schools?…
    I see there being 3 main types:
    1. Young guys and gals with hopes of becoming Pro pilots holding a line / working corporate somewhere.
    2. Well-to-do businessmen that are innately interested in flying, and can at least partially justify the expense as a business enhancement.
    3. Foreigners that are becoming pilots in the US where doing so here is much cheaper.
    4. There is a 4th type, but you only get a glimpse of them, as they appear and disappear like weather systems. These are the ones that are considering flying as a hobby, avocation, alternative to golf, or pursuit of a deep interest. They just dont last long.

    Getting a PVT/INST/COM/CFI in ASEL/AMEL’s is a very expensive, and very low ROI proposition for those that choose to do this with professional aspirations. The very busy flight school I fly from has many that are on a hiatus from flying, doing other things, waiting to see where the market goes. Some may abandon flying altogether. Who in their right mind would spend the $30-40k it takes to become a CFII in Multis if there was no prospect of a job beyond that? – and that this was a tenuous job at best? – and the new ATP for FO rule from the Colgan crash in effect. There are people doing it, but I bet their parents are urging them to look into other jobs.

    The “type 2” guys are getting their ratings, and then becoming owner / operators, and will be back as needed for BFR’s etc. (not very lucrative) Flight schools are happy to have them, but they are a low percentage of revenue.

    The “type 3” guys are the ones that we need to look at. Foreign airlines are paying for so many of these to come to the US, get great training, and then take their skills elsewhere. They are the bread and butter of so many flight schools. Without them, many flight schools would be belly up. They are maybe not in love with flying, but committed to it as a career. If we want a new Flight Training Paradigm as Mr. Fuller says, the core economic proposition of flight training must change. We will be left with only the type 3s if we dont turn this around, and then the US will have given away its worldwide leadership position in aviation, never to see it again. In 5 years it will be hard to find a pilot who is not a foreigner.

    1. We need aircraft that are less expensive to own and operate. (This is asking a lot of cash strapped Cessna, Piper, H/B, but they have to do it if they want to survive). LSAs are a step in the right direction, but this realm is very restricted. $5/gallon fuel isnt really helping.
    2. We need more CFIs that are professional CFIs that can, and want to do flight training as their career, and not just a jumping point. Flight training needs to deliver the most bang for the buck, and this is how to do it.
    3. The new monolithic airlines need to get skin in the game. The prospect of funding ab inito pilot training as Delta is not very compelling, or as Continental might not make sense. But as Delta / Northwest, or United/ Continental it starts to make more sense. Pro pilots are not coming from the military like could be relied upon in the past.
    4. Here is the big stretch. The entire air travel operational paradigm must be rebuilt from the ground up. I dont have the exact number, but I believe that all Part 121 traffic is run through 75 airports. This is absolutely absurd! There are easily 250 airports that can handle aircraft big enough to allow an economies of scale that makes the proposition economically feasible. That is, IF
    a. Information Technology is leveraged to help people find seats on aircraft travelling to these other airports.
    b. The new ATC paradigm must be delivered where all flights can leverage Mode-S/ADS-B/TCAS for decreased dependence on radar vectors for traffic.
    c. The use of WAAS/LPV must reach maturation such that reliable, precision approaches can be made anywhere by modestly equipped aircraft.
    d. The new breed of aircraft being delivered are greatly more fuel efficient, and operationally cheaper to own than any of the predecessors.
    These and many other factors would mean that there would be more aircraft flying, which means more people as pilots, more people servicing them, and more convenience for the people using them. It would reduce the economic barrier to entry that is forcing more airline consolidation.
    I dont know how AOPA is going to take action on what it discovers. The problems are huge, and the options are limited by the current economic situation.

  6. @williamAirways Says:

    Mr. Twombly,

    Thank you for the feedback. I think AOPA could have saved a whole bunch of money on this research. Flying is expensive. No matter how much AOPA or other optimists would like to think otherwise, the reality of flying is that flying is expensive. Personally, if the results of this research does not indicate cost as a major contributing factor, I will consider the research flawed and unreliable.

    Mr. Conrad is correct with what he stated. ADS-B is coming and I’ve done my research to know that it’s not going to be cheap to install the required avionics to comply with the FAA mandate; unless of course, you enjoy dodging what will eventually be brick walls in the skies. Some airports will be significantly affected due to their proximity to some major airports; so much so that without the ADS-B equipment, these aircraft are effectively grounded. Interestingly, with all the detailed information being transmitted over ADS-B, there is little chance of escaping a bill from the FAA should user fees be implemented. If user fees were to be implemented today, it’s pretty easy for anyone to forge a tail number; but not with ADS-B on board. But I digress.

    With respect to Mr. Smith, he is correct in saying that the airline pilot career is no longer attractive. Who in their right mind would want to spend a fortune chasing down certificates and ratings, and eventually, time dedicated to teaching people to step on that right rudder in order to build up that 1500 hours, pass the ATP written and check ride, so that they can qualify for food stamps? In the age of the Internet, information travels fast and the word is out. The airline pilot career sucks in America. The only people who can say otherwise are those who made it under better economic and regulatory conditions.

    Bottom line, the aviation industry is extremely sensitive to the economy. Unless the economy and the attractiveness of the pilot career improves, I suspect we will continue to see a decline in the pilot population in this country. Interestingly, everyone is so focused on the declining numbers, but no one seem to wonder whether existing pilots are even flying. I know several pilots who have stopped flying due to the costly nature of it, and others due to faded interest in aviation. I know I have cut back on my flying. Did I mention that flying is expensive?

    Respectfully submitted.

  7. Ben Bendixen Says:

    Scott,
    Remember me from Denison, Iowa and Tom Willroth?
    Once wrote an article for you for Flight Training Magazine.

  8. Philip Varley MEII Says:

    The simple answer is that the rewards of the pilot’s license no longer outweigh the costs of training. Most people learn to fly either because they are young and want to be an airline pilot, or they are older and want to fly privately, either for business or as a hobby.

    For the young, being an airline pilot no longer has the status, the salaries, or the benefits (free worldwide travel). And the constant tension between the unions (meaning pilots are viewed as “labor” rather than “professional”) and sometimes less than stellar airline management makes for a hostile work environment.

    For the older guys, the tipping point was probably the misguided (and now withdrawn) TSA security directive 8F. The compliance requirements for this, had it been implemented, would have effectively made personal flying impractical, if not virtually impossible. Combine that with the latent threat of grounding the GA fleet by banning 100LL in 2016, and there is very little incentive for a private pilot to learn to fly or buy a plane.

    Finally, let’s look at instructors and flight schools. As with most things in life, you get what you pay for. Many flight schools have fleets of old and worn aircraft, which while airworthy, are really unattractive. But which airplane owner wants to put a new $300k trainer on the flight line to be rented out for less than its running costs?

    And instructors, who have spent at least $40,000 to obtain their qualifications are not going to stick around for $35/hr, as independent contractors, for a few hours of teaching per week, any longer than they need to before they get hired by an airline. Thus, most students are going to have to find more than one instructor during their training.

    So, simple laws of supply and demand apply. There is little demand for the final product (licensed pilots) so prices (of training) fall, leading to poor materials (old planes) and fewer instructors willing to work as instructors! Vicious cycle.

    Solutions within AOPA’s purview would be to attempt to repeal the EPA’s requirement to ban 100LL, educate the TSA that a family car has more bomb carrying capacity than a Cessna 172, and temper the White House’s vendetta against private aviation in general. America used to lead the world in aviation technology and exports, but the last two years’ negative politics have decimated Wichita.

    Flying is the best expression of freedom we can enjoy, and in my opinion, the benefits were worth the cost, but I got my license eight years ago!

  9. Mike Barlow Says:

    Andy, you make a great point. There’s a much larger cultural issue here, namely that today’s kids simply don’t see the glamor and excitement of flying real airplanes — they’re perfectly happy to play video games instead. The mystique and wonder of flying seems to be lost on this generation, and that translates into a lack of interest. And the pilot community isn’t helping. We need to do a much better job of selling our vision to the media, and to the public. Flying has been an extremely important component of U.S. culture — it helped us become the wealthiest and most technologically advanced country in the world. We need to save the spirit of flying, or risk losing a big chunk of what made this country great.

  10. Fred Wilson Says:

    Scott,
    I’m trying to find Harold (Hal) E. Spangler who was a Major in the Air Force at Griffiss
    AFB in 1966. He was my “commercial” instructor. I just wanted to thank him again and tell him what happened to his old student.
    Fred

  11. Karl Says:

    After over 40 years as an ATR, CFII, AGI, MES, RCH, Heavy Driver and more, I know that becoming a proficient pilot,(in any type of aircraft) is a demanding challenge.

    Remaining current and proficient, as well as medically certified, unlike some professions, is an ongoing and sometimes rigorous, biannual process. Fail your recurrent and you are flight record compromised or even out! Retraining is ablemish!

    Recurrencies present pressure and significant costs. The supply and demand curve has generally been weighted to the supply side. That may be changing a little? Tiem will tell!

    There has been from a glut to a steady supply of pretty well trained ex-military jockeys. Training captains are generally biased towards the military.

    The armed forces pilots usually have time in types that no civilian could ever afford. Thinking about what 100 hours in a Hercules might cost the FBO ramp rat! We have all been there and done that, building hours towards that commercial seat … all the glamour that no longer exists! I can tell you, when I was hired at the ripe old age of 21 to fly ‘Flag Ship International’, there was both prestige and compensation.

    The military avenue is still very economically sensible, however circuitous! It is quite like a four year college scholarship with expenses and pocket money, before you really get hired? There are less debts incurred enroute! That is a good thing!

    I took early strongly-promoted corporate retirement. The ‘New Fledglings’ coming up from the ranks and moving towards the heavy left seat could only read about our $300K per year for working about 100 hours a month! Those days are gone!

    I hear about $20 to $25 per hour starting pay flying regional turbo-prop metro liners. $35 to $40 with more experience and four thin stripes and a left seat!

    It is no wonder the supply and demand curve is is taking on a new shape!

    We have a ‘Standing Room Only’ line at our G.A. jet and turbo-prop cockpit doors … good and competent IFR, MEL rated pilots ready to fly for free on short notice … 24/7!

    Additionally, the avionics has morphed hugely over the past decade. Some of the established pilots, Private or Commercial, are NOT keeping up!

    Whereas we once flew with ‘Primary Flight Instruments’ … ‘Steam Gauges’, shooting NDB IAPs (‘A&N’) as a daily routine, before RMI’s, VORTACs and ILS evolved, we now fly EFIS, FMS with a lot more coming at us! NEXGEN, NEXRAD, TCAS II, Cat II, III and IV, RNP, SAAAR, /G
    /R, Global Nav Direct, RVSM, FADEC, SVT, Infra Red, Heads Up and more. You either know or have heard about the new STUFF!

    You either invest to get comfortable with this ‘Next Generation ‘ flight deck or get out!

    The GARMIN 1000, 3000 and 5000 suites is worth a more than casual internet read.

    ATC has become generally more congested, with Class Bravos that can ‘Rock Your Socks’ on unstable IFR days … especially ‘SP’ in control of a ‘TAA’ machine. One had better get and stay well ahead of the airplane! I suggest you are fully prepared to make the approach or even land before your depart the ‘TOD’!

    Part 135 OPS is also a whole different environment and consideration from part 91.

    A tight economy adds to this recipe for a very different ‘Aviation Career’! I guess it is evolving and not devolving? Some of we old sticks have our own opinion! The smell of kerosene and ‘Burner Routes’ are not what they used to be! No more sextants!

    Grinding duty days (with 7 destinations and an RON) up in the front office of a Southwest Airlines ‘Two Holer’ may still seem glamorous for a recessive few?

    May?

  12. Chris Zahnle Says:

    Look 10 years down the road. The TSA and DHS has fenced and badged out the youth you will wash planes for a ride or hang around the fbo for a chance at a linemans job.
    Having been fenced out they never get the chance to fall in love with airplanes and flying.
    Thank you big brother for protecting us from 12 to 15 year old terrorists.
    I sold my plane and quite flying a year and a half ago because of how much goverment intrued into my life by just having a PPL and 172.
    Good luck in the future.
    Chris

  13. Neil Cosentino Says:

    Greetings!

    I am an AOPA member.

    What are AOPA’s five top projects-priorities for getting more pilots through pilot training.

    i.e. what are the the five most important actions we all must take and/or support to get more pilots?

    I am standing by for an answer and will share it…

    Please post this Question at Jetwhine:

    What five programs should we all support that could result a five-fold increase in pilots in the next five years?

    Thanks

    Neil Cosentino
    Tampa Florida
    AOPA Member 707-100

  14. Gerald Heuer Says:

    Well I am an old Master Navigator working on his Pvt and Instrument ticket at the same time who began Pvt training 44 years ago while going thru KC-135A jet tanker up-grade training at Castle AFB CA who then took up Pvt training at Griffis AFB NY while his girl friend was in Europe. At Merced CA their airport had real 50 foot obsticles at either end of the runway (T-wires), so my instructor did the take-offs and we went to the same old AAF field we used for landing practice for the 135’s when things got to busy at Castle as I remember it.

    (I also remember the name Spangler; believe he was BUF pilot in 668th BS (416th BW). Did you know Art Schwalm who was a tanker IP in my squadron (41st ARS) and my flight instructor?)

    My girl friend returned and that was that with flight training, even though had soloed and flown solo cross-countries. Instead of spending weekends off alert in the air, they were spent visiting my girl friend in NYC.

    So at almost 67 last year I started all over again and just re-soloed at the beginning of October after many hours because it took longer to “be one with the airplane.” Yes, it is expensive (I am not a millionare either, just a retired Active Duty AF navigator and retired City of Detroit Civil Servant.) Since it is just me and Mr. Washington (my dog), I can afford it, but wish things were cheaper (40+ years ago, $20/hour got you an instructor and a wet C-150 at the Griffis AFB Aero Club, but I was making a lot less then too as a junior Air Force Captain.)

    A lot of our Wing pilots were moving to commerical right seats after finishing their Air Force committment for a lot less money than they were earning in the Air Force, but the potential was there. Yes, they had opportunities that GA pilots did not, but then Vietnam was going hot and heavy, so I think they earned their spot.

    When I get done, I know I will not be sitting in some right seat trying to build up time but flying for the pure enjoyment and challenge of it, and that is what we have to sell. Microsoft Flight Simulator does not do it, by a long, long, long shot. With Flight Simulator you cannot “. . . put out ‘your’ hand and touch the face of God.” (“High Flight” – John Gillespie Magee, Jr.)

    Affordability is the answer as was suggested. Does AvGas need to be as expensive as it is; do we need “Glass Cockpits” and all this other stuff; are not VORS, DMES, and NDBs sufficient? GPS–my instructor says “In time”–first you have to learn to fly this thing and navigate by the seat of your pants (I had to re-retake my Map Reading Check Ride in Nav School so I have my fingers crossed on cross-countries :)). He tells me, he takes great pleasure when his young students show up with the GPS their daddy purchased for them and he makes them put it in their flight bag for another day.

    I remember back in the late ’80’s when the requirement for all GA aircraft to have transponders was beng pushed, a Navy pilot with whom I worked, and had his own aircraft, began a letter Congressional writing campaign to fight the proposed requirement. He said soon he would have to take the wings off his airplane, put it on a flat bed, and truck it out to Nevada so he could fly his plane where the only Uncontrolled Airspace would exist.

    We need to convince the White House and TSA that we are not a lot of rich people with expensive toys but down-to-earth middle class people who love their country and whose hobby is flying, not golf and so forth. We can be of use spoting folks and patrol the skies a lot cheaper than the big guys. Maybe they should expand the US Coast Guard AirAUX program which I hope to get into when I get my tickets.

    Another suggestion: May be we need to push more ultra-lite, sport, and recreation piloting to get interest up, then move them into Pvt so they can do so much more such as experiencing the beauty of night flying.

    On a closing note, I am sad they no longer teach celestial nav in Nav School (GPS), and wish that AvGas smelt like JP4. Let’s hope the next requirment for GA is not auto-takeoff and landing, then we are all done.

    Shall we have a fly-in and sit-in Washington at the White House and Congress and bring along the FBO operators who will go broke because they will have no one to buy their gas or services if GA is tied-down and unable to move becuase of all the expenses. We have some Germans in our aero club who can fly for two hours or more here for what they paid in Germany for one hour, not counting other fees.

    I can see paying a reasonable pilot license fee every two years like we pay a driver’s license–may be that should be the quid-pro-quo?

    An old navigator learning to be a pilot

  15. Jay Says:

    If someone offers a paycheck, then there will always be someone else who is hungry enough to take the job. The old adage about “It takes one to know one” still applies when it comes to hiring a qualified pilot. The CEO’s who hire and pay the pilot do not know whether a pilot is qualified or not. In their view a pilot may be qualified simply because the FAA has issued an airman’s certificate to him. Neither the FAA, the CEO or the HR director has any idea how many icy and thunderstorm and fog laden nights a potential employee pilot has dealt with or how skillfully and perceptively he may have dealt with them. You can bid and fly the line with a guy for a full month and still not know exactly what his capabilities and tendencies are if you never experience those conditions with him in command. A pilot shortage has been promised for as long as I can remember and I still keep seeing the less qualified preferred over the more qualified either for the sake of political correctness or for the sake of financial expediency. Then when we have a Colgan Air or a Roselawn, or an Air-Midwest Charlotte,http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ljvp7qMsxY&feature=related the general public then concludes that aviation is too dangerous and something has to be done. The answer is always “more technology” and “more regulations”, and more PC. It’s never more common sense, more traditional values and more experience.

  16. Scott Spangler Says:

    The spectrum of aviation ills shared here (and thanks for taking the to write them!) illustrates perfectly the long overdue need for AOPA’s qualitative and quantitative research on why 70-80 percent of students quit flying before earning a certificate.

    Everything mentioned here certainly plays a part at sometime during the careers of pilots pursuing different aviation opportunities from airline flying to air knocking on the weekends. And certainly those aspirations are motivations for student pilots.

    But we won’t know that until AOPA reveals its research on November 11. Only then will be have an idea beyond anecdotal supposition why 70-80 percent of students quit before earning any pilot certificate.

    A single, dominant cause, like cost, seems unlikely to me. It is certainly a huge factor, but something else must be joining forces with it to cause so many people to turn their back on flying. Only when we know–with specific research–what these things are can we do something about them.

    My greatest fear is that we, who are already involved in aviation, are the cause. Newcomers can easily find their way through the airport gates and front doors. And what do they find? A supportive, nurturing band of aviators who welcome them every day with open arms or a surly band of brothers complaining about everything that doesn’t stand up to aviation “in the good old days.”

    I guess we’ll find out on November 11.

  17. Jim McSherry, CFII Says:

    Scott, We may find that the researchers could identify several other “contributing factors”, but I will bet my next installment of flight pay that cost will come in as the fundamental underlying cause. I see the signs at my glider club, where power pilots come to be able to fly at lower cost (and discover that it is more fun); I see it at my home field, where three flight schools have stopped operation in the last two years; I see it at the flight school where I spend a good bit of time, and the majority of the FBO customers are affluent businessmen who do not wince at a bill of $1800 for an annual or $200 to top off the tanks after a flight.
    One could spend more for for a BFR than for all training to be SCUBA certified; my Dad spent less for a top-notch round of golf than I would spend to rent a Skyhawk to fly to the course to join him.
    I don’t have an answer to the situation, but I do know that the White House has less to say about it than does Wichita. Why can’t I buy a simple four-seat airplane that runs on regular gas with a VFR six-pack panel for less than the price of a Ferrari?
    Consider a pilot wanna-be who comes in to the local FBO and asks for information. I have to tell this potential client that it will take all summer and cost around $5000 to be certified to operate the aircraft, and then either rent at $200/hr or buy one for over $200,000. There aren’t many folks making that kind of dough with that sort of free time.
    I bet the research will follow the money. I will be interested to see what the ‘official’ results are.

  18. Jay Says:

    By the way, they took the voices off of the Air-Midwest Beech 1900 Youtube above, probably for the sake of political correctness. The voices used to be on that YouTube clip when it first came out. The final ruling was that it was a combination of miss-rigged controls and an aft loaded CG. You hear plenty about the miss-rigged controls but no public attempt is made to explain the aft loaded CG, nor is the Captain’s name or history at Air-Midwest/Mesa discussed. At least they played the audio on TV when Colgan crashed so the public wasn’t totally in the dark. Maybe our society feels that silence about 21 lost lives is an acceptable price to pay in order to be PC savvy. I know about the Air-Midwest situation first hand and I can tell you for certain that there is a direct link between the new pilot hiring issue and the safety issue. I warned them on my way out about hiring based on gender quotas and Air-Midwest refused to listen. In defense of Air-Midwest, I will say that in its earlier years it had a training department that was second to none and a safety record to match.

  19. Joseph Says:

    Is this a joke? Surely they didn’t commission a research project to tell us what we all already know, which is that it’s too expensive!

  20. Jay Says:

    Jim McSherry said,”the White House has less to say about it than does Wichita.” Jim, I know you were referring to the expense of aircraft ownership and operation rather than a particular segment of government. But I’m going to have to disagree with you in part on this one. The old saw about the aerodynamics teacher who got up in front of the class and offered an “A” to the first student who could describe what makes an airplane fly and the student who drew a large $Dollar sign on the blackboard in answer still applies and I agree with that. But the legal environment that Wichita has to operate in makes flying cost prohibitive and is directly responsible for the cost of aviation. Globalization has not helped us in this regard. All it did was to open up new methods for entrepreneurs and politicians to make money over seas while transferring American jobs and technology to foreign countries with Free Trade agreements. The founding fathers sternly warned about the many dangers of free trade agreements,ie..(NAFTA,GATT,etc) from a standpoint of Americans waking up homeless on the continent that their founding fathers had settled. The plethora of legislation, both PC and otherwise and the judges who legislate from the bench at the will and under duress from the White House are going to be the final actors in the downfall of American society and aviation as well. ADS-B is yet another attempt at totalitarianism in order to keep anyone from traveling without government knowledge and control. They will also want a list of everyone’s name on board the aircraft in addition to user fees that are charged and taxed. A tyrannical government cannot afford to have large numbers of people flying around who might resist the will of that government.

  21. Ray Bloch Sr Says:

    I introduced a student to flying about a year and a half ago. I flew with her for 10 hours and then turned her over to the local flight school. She flew every week, weather permitting. Taken the King Schools Private Pilot course, she passed her FAA written test with a score of 82. Ready for the check ride, she made an appointment with the local D.E. After paying the three hundred they sat down to begin the Oral. Within two hours the examiner had the student in tears, beraiting her for her lack of knowledge. Stopping the exam the D.E. walked out leaving the student without any direction. Ofcourse the D.E. cashed the check which was to have covered the flight ride also. One hundred fifty per hour is not bad for nothing. I am thinking of reporting this to local FISDO.

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