Government Shutdown Now Hurting Pilots and Airplane Owners

Last week, on the first day of the government shutdown, I flew a trip in the IFR system and everything was totally normal. So far controllers and FSS are still on the job and the system is working, but other vital general aviation activities are far from normal.

Airplane registrations have been suspended so buying and selling existing airplanes, and delivery of new airplanes, is grinding to a halt. Though it is still legal to transfer ownership of an airplane, it has become practically speaking impossible.

Without the FAA aircraft registration staff working ownership transfer paperwork is on hold. Title searches for the sale of an airplane can’t be conducted so lenders will balk. Manufacturers are finding it impossible to get the necessary documents to deliver a newly built airplane and register its N-number.

Perhaps the most widespread concern for airplane owners is that about 10,000 airplane registrations expire each month. Even if all other paperwork is in order it will become illegal to fly an airplane once the registration expires. Without FAA employees on the job there is nobody to renew registrations and the backlog is piling up.

The airman medical certification branch of the FAA is operating at some level, but not fully. Routine medical exams and certificates can make it through, but anything requiring special issuance or handling by the FAA is essentially on hold until the government shutdown is reversed.

For some odd reason medical certification of air traffic controllers is not happening. Controllers are required to have a medical certificate that is approximately the same as a second class medical for pilots. Without the medical controllers can’t work.

People hoping to earn new certificates or ratings are also in limbo because the testing centers for the knowledge exam—what we used to call the written test—have suspended activity. You can’t take the online exams, and it may not be possible to get results from an exam you already took. You may be all ready for a checkride, and a designated examiner may be able to administer the check, but without the written test and results you can’t move forward.

Even though the ATC system is working OK now, that won’t last because most controller training is on hold. Controller training is crucial because even experienced controllers can’t move to a new position without specific training on that position. Retirements, sick leave and all of the normal attrition will soon cut into qualified controller staffing.

The U.S. may also be in violation of international treaties that govern aviation. Our country has signed treaties agreeing to observe many specific aircraft certification procedures and safety inspections that don’t appear to be happening during the shutdown. Our government signed those treaties so that we can all benefit from uniform standards and raise the level of safety across the globe.

The fourth quarter of every year is the busiest for new airplane deliveries and the government shutdown has stopped most of those deliveries. The General Aviation Manufacturers Association estimates delays in new airplane deliveries—and payments–amount to more than $1 billion so far. Even people who build their own airplanes can’t get them registered until the government opens up and the FAA people go back to work.

Many people and businesses are being harmed by the federal government shutdown but aviation is pretty far up the list because it is regulated at the federal level, not state or local level. The government shutdown removed the people who make it possible for us to follow the rules, but the shutdown didn’t eliminate any of the requirements. In aviation, we’re collateral damage to a fight that is not ours.

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53 Responses to Government Shutdown Now Hurting Pilots and Airplane Owners

  1. Jim says:

    But this fight is very much ours. In fact, this fight is more ours than the politicians. They all have the golden retirement, non-Obamacare healthcare, and don’t have to follow the rules they pass onto the unwashed masses. We have the responsibility and consequences of living with a federal government that spends much, much more than it receives, makes voluminous rules that drive our costs into the stratosphere, and very likely could see our retirement funds, both public and private, vaporize.

    This is very much our fight and we as a voting nation must wake up and use our one precious weapon, the vote, and get in this fight before it is too late, if it isn’t already.

    • Carter Boswell says:

      Well put! Bravo, unfortunately the liberal side believes that money grows on trees and that someone, other than themselves, are responsible for paying all the governments bills. Big Gov will take care of them, yea I’ve got some swampland….

  2. Jeff Welch says:

    Hostage to the federal government once again. First the sequester, now this. It doesn’t matter whom to blame….we (the tax payer) are being held hostage by our own system. Sounds like a good time to get rid of a lot of unwanted regulations, and privatize much of the mismanaged FAA. Perhaps state registration of aircraft, such as your car registration, will work just fine for our aircraft too.

    Born free…live free. What say you?

  3. Wayne says:

    Hey Mac,

    Not once did your article make any suggestions as to how to reverse this situation.

    One might reasonably conclude that your solution is to return to the status quo…which places you on the “wrong side” of this argument.

    • Mac says:

      You’re observation is correct, Wayne. I have no solutions. I point out issues and conflicts and readers suggest solutions.
      Mac Mc

  4. Last Wednesday, I was in Duluth MN at the Cirrus Aircraft factory. We had a Cirrus that needed a ferry permit to get home because it had a small mechanical issue. The director of maintenance of the Cirrus Factory Service Center called the Minneapolis FSDO to arrange one, but there was basically nobody home and he was told there was no way to get a ferry permit until the furloughed Air Safety Inspectors returned to work.

    Having said all that, I join with others on this thread who fully support the shutdown. I’m a libertarian, and the folks in congress who are dedicated to reducing the size and scope of our bloated federal government need to use every means possible to exert leverage. The sequester hurt people. The shutdown hurt people. The debt limit fight may well hurt people. I have sympathy for those people. But it’s hard to stop a runaway train without some collateral damage.

    • Matt says:

      What an idiotic thing to say Mike. I’ve read some of your writing over the years, and frankly I would have expected something a bit more thoughtful from you.

      You should read up on your history a little before getting caught up in libertarian fantasies.

      Much of the infrastructure that General Aviation survives and thrives on in America was built as a result of the New Deal, i.e. big, activistic and forthright government programs.

      Whether it be airports, air traffic control, FSS or whatever.

      That’s reality – not some ‘big government’ dogma.

      The thing that gets me about you libertarians is that you’re heavy on idealism but light on substance.

      Libertarianism is a philosophy that sounds good superficially. Keep the government out of my hair? Oh sure! Cut my taxes and stop feeding the bloated bureaucrats in Washington? That’s it!

      Hey, why not bring back the gold standard while we’re at it?

      Get real dude.

      • Thomas Boyle says:

        You lost me at “General Aviation thrives”.

        • Matt says:

          Uh, ok then.

          If you want to get picky over words, let’s just say ‘infrastructure that supports General Aviation’.

          Whatever, the point remains the same.

          • Thomas Boyle says:

            Sure, the airports were largely built with public money (although, often for the air force). How many would have been built otherwise? I don’t know: it’s a fair question, but I suggest you don’t know either. It’s like asking how many schools or roads there would be if the government hadn’t built them – not as many, but probably a lot. Two of the airports I’ve flown from in recent years were built with private money.

            The FAA, through its certification process, may have intended to improve aviation safety, but it hasn’t. It is, by far, the biggest obstacle to safety innovations in aviation, and has been for decades. Look inside the cockpit of an LSA to get the idea.

            Air Traffic Control is irrelevant, at best, to most of us. It wasn’t important to GA when traffic densities were low, because the Big Sky provided separation. Where traffic densities are high, there are modern technologies that could provide separation better and cheaper, but the FAA/ATC incumbents have bent over backways to design a system that keeps ATC “in the loop” of providing separation. This has raised system costs, device costs, and certification costs; and has drastically slowed adoption, while killing off the business case for alternative solutions. Despite all that, in Europe, glider pilots (who actually need separation, because they tend to congregate in areas of lift – the Alps can get kinda crazy) have gone their own way and have their own, market-based separation technologies (which work, much better than ATC).

            FSS… Does that even provide any services you can’t achieve better with the web (and, for rescue services, SPOT or Spidertracks)?

            Libertarians are not light on substance. There’s a wealth of substance available to anyone who will look. We’re also not anarchists: we believe government does have a role. We just recognize that, lacking competition and being heavily armed, government constantly tends to get too big, too intrusive, and becomes a real problem. Pushing back against that, does not mean we want to eliminate it altogether.

          • Matt says:

            Wow Thomas, some half-baked stuff in there. Where to start in responding….

            You say that libertarians aren’t light on substance, and yet your response is full of airy-fairy hypotheticals and very few convincing examples.

            Based on your comments, I’m assuming that you’ve never studied economics. If you had, you’d be familiar with a concept called ‘barriers to entry’.

            It relates to industries where the costs involved in acquiring/building assets are so prohibitive that enterprising individuals simply cannot get a foothold, no matter how competitive they are.

            This is clearly the case with airports. How many large airports can you identify that were built entirely by private individuals (without government subsidies) and operate as profitable entities?

            Sure, there are plenty of private airports around, but you’ll find that they’ve mostly been built by wealthy individuals whose primary interest is not in making money from them.

            You point to LSAs as an example of free enterprise jumping free of the clutches of government control. Well that’s wonderful, except that the technological foundation they’re using came almost entirely from investments made by government.

            People complain a lot these days about the slow rate of development in aircraft engines. The piston mills being turned out by Continental and Lycoming today are virtually unchanged from those designed in the 1950s.

            Guess why? The original designs were created in an era when the manufacturers were flush with cash from large government contracts following WWII (otherwise known as the Golden Age of aviation). Oh yeah, that was a period of big government alright.

            This is not to take away from the countless small and medium size companies that are toiling away trying to improve and innovate in the spirit of entrepreneurialism.

            But seriously, who is making more progress – the little LSA guy turning out a microlight with incremental techonogical improvements in the cockpit, or Lockheed Martin, turning out fighter jets with breathtaking capabilities?

            Defence budgets may be enormous, but that’s actually what it takes to make real progress.

            As for your comment about ATC being irrelevant, I’m not sure what you were smoking when you wrote that.

            Flown anywhere on an airliner lately?

          • Thomas Boyle says:

            Matt,

            I can hardly provide detailed responses to your own broad assertions in the context of blog posts.

            I have studied economics at some length, although my degrees are in engineering.

            When you talk about all the technology that was developed by government, perhaps you forget who developed the practical airplane: it was the Wright Brothers, Charlie Taylor, and Glenn Curtiss who did that, chased by a horde of European inventors – all of it private money. And the telephone. And the radio. And the car. Soon, private money will develop the first practical reusable spacecraft.

            Yes, the military developed GPS – but in the 1st Gulf war the troops got handed commercial handheld receivers: the government ones were too big, too heavy, and too expensive. The electronics in those GPS satellites, by the way, is based on commercial electronics developed for private sector applications – it’s not the other way around.

            In your response, you changed the subject, away from GA to asking about whiz-bang military technologies, and airliners. We were discussing GA. But, if you want to talk whiz-bang, I’ll point out that the sailplanes flown by sport pilots are state of the art, literally: think aerodynamic efficiency, or their introduction of all-composite technology 50 years before the 787, or their introduction of winglets (now available as upgrades to many airliners). There are no military-grade super-duper sailplanes: the Air Force buys off the shelf, and those are the best-value cutting-edge aircraft they own.

            Enough. Big government can do big stuff, no doubt. Of course it can – it has practically infinite budgets, doesn’t have competitors, and can force people to buy the product.

            Few businesses watch their customers disappear, like the FAA does, without at least trying to fix the problems. Did you notice the FAA’s innovative and rapid implementation of the medical petition, its expansion of ASTM standards to larger aircraft, its move to reduce certification requirements for electronics…?

          • Matt says:

            Right.

            But here are some points to consider:

            1. The Wright Brothers were hobbyist inventors, not entrepreneurs. They would have chased their dreams regardless of government policy (or lack thereof).

            2. The private space companies you mention are clearly building/improving on a massive foundation of technology and know-how that wouldn’t be there if it weren’t for government. Oh, and the subsidies help as well. Just ask Elon Musk.

            3. Same deal with the GPS.

            4. If you want examples of real innovation and technological advancement in today’s supposedly tax-soaked, government-controlled environment, just look to Silicon Valley.

            I’ve been weighing in on this topic because I get tired of reading the mindless talking points from hard core right wingers and libertarians, who seem to shout the loudest at every opportunity.

            In the large majority of cases, their views are very poorly thought out and impractical in the extreme.

            It’s typically a very selfish, blinkered viewpoint:

            “Keep the government away from me, I don’t want to pay all this tax, be dictacted to by regulators etc. Oh, but I’m happy to drive around on paved roads, operate my plane off paved runways, call the cops if I ever need them, have the military defend our borders if we’re threatened….”

            “Oh yeah, and when I want to fly my plane into Oshkosh in July, I’ll happily accept help from those excellent controllers the FAA sends up every year…”

            The list goes on and on, and the hypocrisy is beyond ridiculous.

            The people who peddle this stuff have their heads in the clouds. It’s decadent, selfish and unrealistic.

          • Sarah Ashmore says:

            Mat makes a good point. We talk about the wasteful work done by government and praise the work done by the individual. What we forget is that the individual is usually basing their inovation on the technology that the government wasted our money on. When Burt Rutan won the X Prize with Shace Ship 1 is was a great triumph for an individual but he stood on the sholders of giants. All that NASA and DOD research form the 50s, 60s and so on was what enabled him to accomplish his goal. Yes he was very inovative and quite creative but to hear him, or anyone else mock the value of what the government did in the past is hypocracy. The Government funding created GPS, the Internet and a lot of the modern technology we take for granted today and we should be glad they had the foresight to do those things. Yes it might have been done for Military reasons but it spawned multi Billion industries of today.

            Lets keep it in perspective when we criticize government spending.

          • Thomas Boyle says:

            Matt,

            Wow – very defensive, a lot of ad hominem.

            We must be hitting a nerve.

            Try deep breaths. We’re not trying to take away your lifestyle; we’re trying to improve it.

            Honest.

          • Thomas Boyle says:

            Sarah,

            The point I originally made was that GA is dying, and the FAA, to the extent it matters at all, hurts more than it helps. Simple point.

            This triggered a classic “where would you be without the government?” reaction. I’m a libertarian: I believe that if there is no alternative to the government doing it, and it must be done, it is appropriate for the government to do it.

            As we look at the current crisis over the “government shut down”, we should ask, these things the government isn’t doing: are they truly necessary? (often, no); and, could anyone else do them? (often, yes).

            Nobody is pretending the government hasn’t done useful stuff. When you spend $3T a year (including about $0.8 T on DoD), I should hope you’d do some useful stuff. And, when you have, I should hope people would go ahead and make use of it. Even so, if NASA or the Air Force had tried to win the X-Prize, with access to all the technology they have, do you really think they would have beaten Rutan, who mostly used technology from homebuilt aircraft, commercial aviation, and small-scale rocketry? And do you think they would have done it for under $20 million? (I doubt they could have set up the program office for that much.

            Must it be done? And, is there no-one else who could do it?

          • Matt says:

            Ad hominem?

            Most of what I’ve been sparring with you about on this post has been substance – I’ve been using example after example as to why libertarianism is deeply flawed and unrealistic, particularly in the context of General Aviation which has benefited so much from government input (and continues to do so if you look at the bigger picture).

            I’m condemning a political philosophy, and pointing out the insane hypocrisy of those who buy into it.

            Hardly a personal attack on any one individual.

            If you want examples of personal attacks and baseless claims, have a look at some of the other comments on this thread.

          • Thomas Boyle says:

            Matt,

            Decadent? Selfish? Unrealistic?

            Those are compliments? Neutral?

            Not to worry – peace to you, and have a great weekend!

          • Matt says:

            They’re neither compliments or neutral – they’re criticisms, which are entirely fair and can hardly be described as ad hominem (look up the definition).

            Just to clear that one up!

            Peace to you too, and enjoy your weekend.

  5. Sarah Ashmore says:

    You mention the curiously the Air Traffic Controllers medicals are not being processed at this time. Sounds like a setup under the “Make It Hurt, Make it Visible” approach of the current administration. Any day now we will find that we are critically short of controllers legal to work and the ATC system will be facing severe cutback. That creates an emergency situation visibly affecting lots of people and is sure to lead to pressure on the House to surrender and let the Democrats have it their way without any compromise. Dirty politics but that is status quo these days – on both sides.

  6. Robert Jans says:

    Aside from all political aspects, this and similar situations call more and more for civil disobedience. If our “leaders” aren’t able to guide us like they should and follow the rules they instituted themselves, then there is only one way out: interpret the rules your own way. I’ve tried it: paperwork not complete or expired: my airplane didn’t notice; it flew just as well. Agreed, this may not work for everyone.

  7. Bill P says:

    A small ray of hope: Homeland Security and Customs and Border Patrol are essential services and therefore warrantless stops and searches of domestic GA flights without probable cause or reasonable suspicion are expected to continue with no interruption in “services.”

  8. Donald D says:

    Mac states that many businesses and people are being harmed by the shut down. I have a suprise for him. Many businesses and people are being harmed every day by a bloated government that continually places new regulations and other obsticals in their path. If you think that the supposed shutdown is hurting people, just wait until Obama Care kicks in full throttle. I am waiting on a special issuance medical. It can take whatever amount of time that it takes if they will just reach a reasonable decision that will stop the unsustainable spending that my children will have to pay back.

  9. Jerry K says:

    After waiting eight weeks so far for my special issuance medical, how much longer will it take now? Has the media even mentioned the FAA shutdown that is affecting so many of us? I guess national parks are more important than my ability to fly.

  10. John Williams says:

    Geez! Some people have a grenade pin for a brain!
    Yeah, let’s blow up the gubermit, that’ll show ‘em!

  11. Josh says:

    Well, I’m waiting for an airworthiness certificate on a customer’s plane, and a registration issue on another so I can get a replacement airworthiness certificate. Kinda hard to explain to the customers.

  12. Thomas Boyle says:

    So, let me get this straight: the government, which is there to help us, sets up regulations prohibiting us from conducting our business unless it first signs off, then tells us it can’t sign off because it doesn’t have enough money.

    Clearly the problem is not the lack of money: it’s the regulations prohibiting us from conducting our business without the government’s sign-off.

    Get The Government Out Of The Way.

    To those of you who think that seems impractically libertarian, re-read this thread and consider the alternative.

  13. brett hawkins says:

    Jeezus Louise, what is it with all the crying and gnashing of teeth over Obamacare? I don’t like the fact that I will have to trade in my $240/month premium for a new $475/month premium. However, knowing that I can’t be turned down by a “free market” insurance company as I age into the danger zone is worth an extra few thou a year, even if it means I am indirectly contributing to the cost of maternity care for the wives and daughters of other Americans.

    Hey complainers, why not ask your wives for passports next birthday? Then take a few vacations in those socialist hell-holes like Germany, France, Japan, the UK and Canada where they have decided to provide everyone with healthcare. If you can’t stomach foreigners, visit Mass and check out Romneycare. I hear folks there like it, and they are certainly as American as you guys are.

    PS: Carter, you already blew your load above and we know where you stand, so knock off with the personal comments. I pay taxes and I am entitled to my opinions, same as you. At least I am not trying to impose them on the rest of the country by shutting down the government.

  14. Robert Jans says:

    This site has become completely politicalized (if that word is correct?). Medical processed or not, Pilot licence expired and not renewed, airplane registration unavailable,…. whatever: who cares: just fly! The the people who have to check all this are sent home, so who cares? Just fly, use your airplane and screw the system when that sytem is not available or working. The only party that may not agree is your insurance; your call. As for me, I don’t care.

    • Thomas Boyle says:

      The bureaucrats will come back to work, and will delight in tracking down anyone who defied their will during the “shutdown”.

  15. Kevin Stallard says:

    I’m one of those being hurt by the shutdown. My airplane’s registration has expired and although I sent in a 8050-1a, it isn’t being processed.

    With that said, I’ll deal with it if it helps turn the tide against the progressives and helps break the strangle hold they have on government at the moment.

    We all know that the things that were shut down were the most visible so that it might create a stigma against the small government folks. I think it will backfire. Someone will figure out that the FAA is exempt from these antics and the registry office will open soon.

    So I’ll hang in there….

    Kevin

  16. Wayne says:

    It’s all about priorities. Keep in mind that the Obamaphones are still being made available free to those “in need”, including drug dealers, at our cost. Lots of our money is still being sent to “countries in need”, such as a Egypt, even while we speak. Yet, our administration can’t seem to find funds to pay our Vets, and run the FAA. And yet, those same federal employees that “cannot work”, will eventually be paid for not working. This sounds like a Dr. Seuss story “Sam I Am”, what a joke on the American people. I agree with Robert, it is apparent that the “system” has become completely dysfunctional, so forget about “it”, and enjoy your Green Eggs and Ham.

  17. John Patson says:

    One for all the lawyers out there (and there are many).
    The federal government shuts down and refuses to handle federally required paperwork.
    This paperwork is backed by the federal justice system, also shut down.
    So can we simply ignore the federal requirements and fly without fear of the federal justice system as long as we take all reasonable safety precautions? (Filling out forms is not a safety critical procedure.)
    A good lawyer will find a way I am sure — this is no longer a temporary one or two day affair.

  18. Joe says:

    This is off topic, but I get a kick out of those, like Michael Moore, who think that ObamaCare is going to stick it to those eeeeeeeeeeeeeeviiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiil insurance companies and look out for the little guy. Who wrote the bill? Those same insurance companies whose interests will be served by the bill, just like the bankers whose bill established the Federal Reserve which has been screwing us for one-hundred years.

    I am sorry for those being hurt by the “shutdown,” but I am also sorry for my ever-dwindling paycheck. At least Mr. Busch offers an alternative, other than the classic Repub. vs. Democrat crap which will keep us all infighting while a Commie World Gov’t is established. Then, no one will fly anywhere, unless it’s military or LE. I recall a quote from a “nut-job” Constitutionalist Libertarian, George Washington, who said that political parties would spell the end of our Republic.

  19. John Brundage says:

    Former professional wrestler & MN governor, Jesse Ventura has pointed out that our political/media system is like a professional wrestling match. In wrestling it appears the wrestlers hate each other & are trying to kill each other. There is an announcer telling you that this is so, but everybody knows it’s a sort of gymnastic act. The wrestlers & the announcer work for the same employer & they are just putting on a show.

    In politics it appears that Democrats & Republicans are battling each other, that there is lots of partisan bickering & nothing gets done. There are arguments about gay rights & abortion. The mainstream media tells you that this is so.

    However, there is little publicity when both parties work together year after year to:

    Vote for the same bailouts to bankers, e.g. 1990 S&L bailouts & bailouts since 2008.

    Vote to deregulate the financial industry e.g. Securities Reform Act of 1995 & Financial Services Improvement Act of 1999.

    Fund the same multi-trillion dollar wars.

    Promote the same so called free trade agreements that have offshored much of our manufacturing sector.

    Promote health care bills that are give aways to insurance companies, e.g. Bush’s medicare prescription bill & Obama’s healthcare bill. If Obama & the Democrats really wanted to fix the health insurance problem, they could have just expanded Medicare to cover everyone during Obama’s first term, when the Democrats controlled both the House & Senate. Medicare has administrative costs of about 3%, whereas commercial insurance companies have administrative costs of about 30%. Why pay the $20 million/yr. salaries of health insurance company CEOs if you don’t have to? If you are worried about government death panels, the commercial insurance companies already have those; go to youtube & search for “Linda Peeno testifies.”

    The Republican & Democratic Parties have one thing in common: they both work for the benefit of their big donors & they have many of the the same big donors. Obama received more money from the financial industry than McCain did in his first presidential election.

    If you don’t like abortion or gay rights, vote for Republicans & they will allow their rich donors to steal your money.

    If you support abortion rights & gay rights, vote for Democrats & they will allow the same rich donors to steal your money.

    They have used these wedge issues very skillfully to distract people from the fact that neither party serves the interests of most people in this country.

    It is quite likely this so called budget fight will be used by both sides to to justify substantial cuts to various programs like Social Security, initiation of new user fees for aviation, & privatization of some government services.

    How could what I am saying about both parties working for many of the same goals be true when this is not a story one sees in the mainstream press? It appears we have a free press in the US. You can get news with both a left wing or right wing point of view, but it is really very tightly controlled with respect to many topics. Here is a quote from Edward Bernays about this:

    “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. …In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”

    The above quote sounds like it was written by a left wing conspiracy theorist. However, Bernays is considered the inventor of modern psychology based propaganda. The quote is from Bernays’ 1928 book, “Propaganda” Bernays lived from 1891 to 1995. His first big government job was selling the US public on getting into WWI for the Wilson administration. In 1953 he ran a propaganda campaign for the CIA to aid in the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Guatemala for the benefit of the United Fruit Company. In the 1920s he ran a campaign to popularize smoking for women for the tobacco companies. The Nazi propagandists used his books in WWII. Bernays is the one who figured out how to “pull the wires which control the public mind” & did so for many years. His 1928 book, “Propaganda,” is still in print.

    A short bio of Bernays can be read on Wikipedia

    • Thomas Boyle says:

      You sound like a Progressive (protectionist variety). I’m a libertarian. While we have pretty fundamental disagreements on what would make things better, it’s amazing how much we agree on the spectacle and distraction that is Washington.

  20. Cary Alburn says:

    You know what this all reminds me of? Remember the schoolyard fights in Junior High, where Bully One and Bully Two finally had it out behind the school, and everyone stood around cheering one or the other? As long as Bully One and Bully Two were roughly the same size and strength, not one of the spectators horned in to help either of them. The fight was usually a draw. Oh sure, there were some teeth knocked out and some blackened eyes and cauliflower ears, but there wasn’t a clear winner or loser.

    Then the next day, we talked about the big fight, but it didn’t change things. We still had to go to class, we still made impertinent comments to the girls, we still used invectives directed at “the other side” of whatever side we were on, in whatever topic we were discussing. And life went on–and a few days later, no one remembered the fight or what it was about or how it turned out.

    Well, welcome to the Junior High schoolyard, gang.

  21. Brian Miller says:

    This is most definitely our fight and I, like so many others, will gladly deal with whatever I have to in order to shrink this ever growing government. i never thought it would be painless but it is nonetheless necessary.

  22. Ian Lambert says:

    When did the US Federal government invent and fund development of the Internet? Throw that one at the UK, France and Japan, and see what sort of response you get!

    • Thomas Boyle says:

      This one comes up routinely – I was waiting to see if someone would bring it up. The implication is that “we wouldn’t have the internet, without the government”. That implication is nonsense.

      Technically, the DoD did invent the internet. TCP/IP was developed as a DARPA project, and it is the networking protocol used at the heart of today’s internet.

      But, TCP/IP is just a networking protocol: networking protocols are a dime a dozen, and several other similar protocols were in development at the time. If DARPA hadn’t developed TCP/IP, the internet would simply have been based on some other protocol, perhaps one based on the Xerox PARC packet protocol, Xerox XNS protocol, the IBM SNA protocol, etc.

      So, yes, the government invented the internet protocol. But, we would have the internet, even if the government had never been involved.

      • L.W. says:

        Keep drinking that “Libertarian” Kool Aid.

        All of our problems would just magically disappear if the mean ol’ govment’ would just get the heck out of our lives!! Because the private market really, really has our best interest at heart!

  23. trevor Smith says:

    Mac:
    Dr. Carbone spent several years attempting to convince the fAA that Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) pilots could not fully comply with HEMS A021
    requiring “prior to flight, the pilot must, using all available means, find the highest terrain and the highest obstacles, for each flight leg, and to fly specified minimums above the worst case value.” The means, it was suggested by the fAA, was to use Sectional Charts. It could take a pilot 15 mintues to do so “prior to flight”. So we spent about a year adding a feature to our eSectionals flight planning software to add both nearly instanteous obstacle reporting and also Search and Rescue flight planning. However, the FAA obstalce database was updated on their typical 56 day cycle. Dr. Carbone convinced the FAA to produce a DAILY obstacle database. This went live December 2012. Now pilots have the data. But the govt shut down has terminated the Daily Obstacle Database. You can check this by visiting http://www.hemsa021.com where you will find a daily obstacle map. It now shows ZERO OBSTACLES INSTALLED YESTERDAY and has been reporting this since the shut down. This affects FLIGHT SAFETY. Why? Since we started publishing the obstacle map on-line, we found anywhere from 100 to 1000 OBSTACLES ARE ERECTED OR MODIFIED EVERY DAY. That information is now missing.

  24. craig Baumberger says:

    The “government ” is not some big bad robot that wants to rule our lives. The government is US. It has a face and that face is a son or daughter, a father or mother or a next door neighbor. They are furloughed and missing paychecks and suffering far more than pilots like me. When they return, our “government” will work just as well as we make it work, person to person.

    • Scott says:

      That is so correct. We are indeed the government. One thing I don’t understand is that every Tea Party person I know is a current or retired government employee. If they hate government so much I have to ask them why they don’t (didn’t) work to make it better while they are (were) employed there rather than just whine about everyone else.

      I am an entrepreneur and small business owner. Right now my flying is not curtailed due to the government, but because I am working all the time. When I do get to go flying again I am looking forward to visiting many of the area’s airports. I can’t say for sure but I’ll be most of them were built with public funds. There are several airports in the area that were built with private funds, but they are listed as “Private” and I do not know the owners. Sea-Tac (SEA) could probably function as a privately funded airport, but I don’t think they would let me or any other private pilot land there.

      If it were not for government built air fields, there would probably be a club of some sort I would have to join to fly to other air fields. That may mean slightly lower taxes, but then I would have to pay membership dues to the club. The club would likely be incorporated and have a CEO. We know that CEO’s seem to draw high salaries that I would have to pay with my dues and landing fees. I would be completely beholden to the club, because without it I would not be able to land at their airports. The club may not like the color of my airplane so they may ban me from their air fields altogether. In this Utopia there would be no way for me to appeal the ban as it would not be right for the club to be regulated in any way. I guess I would just have to find a new hobby. GA would probably shrink from its current state.

      Oh well.

  25. Bill Tomlinson says:

    “Perhaps the most widespread concern for airplane owners is that about 10,000 airplane registrations expire each month. Even if all other paperwork is in order it will become illegal to fly an airplane once the registration expires.”

    If the government really wanted to help the governed, wouldn’t it be simple enough just to issue a proclamation that existing registrations will remain valid until the financial problems are resolved?

  26. Walt Roberts says:

    There are many interesting (if not somewhat off topic) thoughts here. I worked in the Soviet Union shortly after the collapse, when it in essence, “went out of business.” While the transition time was very very difficult, it was also amazing to see much of the entrepreneurial ingenuity that helped people keep living, being productive, and rebuilding the national economies from the rubble of the Soviet times. Not all is perfect, and there are some who would return to the old ways, even today, but nearly overnight, commerce returned, stronger and healthier than ever.
    How does this affect aviation and GA in particular? I was based at a private grass strip for the better part of two decades. We, the pilots mowed the field, plowed the snow, tended the lights and generally took care of the place. QWThe owner, long since retired from flying was a joy to work with. Now, I’m based at a “big airport” in a rural community. It has Part 121 service, dreams of getting a “control tower” even though the traffic counts could never justify a tower, even part time, and I have 9000′ reinforced runways, ILS and all the goodies. All paid for by you guys, thank you very much. As the region grows, it might someday need all that runway, and I’m glad the airport has the land to build them, but they were built because the money was there, not because there was a need. The little strip was build because there was a need, and perhaps someday might be paved, if there is a need, but there won’t be because the Class B is not far away. So, private funds will be spent when there is a need, but not before. Government can provide a solid and stable infrastructure to permit private funds to work to their fullest, and that is why we have the Interstate Commerce clause of the constitution. So private incentive can and does work. I think we would still have velcro, even if NASA didn’t go to the moon because there are always creative people, and creative people will continue to be creative.
    What is perhaps the most ironic here, is that for decades, the presidents have demanded “line-item” veto authority on House spending bills, and now the House is giving it to the president by passing individual funding bills, which are being vetoed by a Senate, at the exhortation of the President, who in turn is attempting to barricade roads passing by mountains to keep tourists from looking at them. Carried to its logical conclusion, by the same strange logic, he should also shut off the Eisenhower Interstate Highway System. All in an attempt to create maximum shrechlikeit to get his way.
    As the founders understood the need for a stable infrastructure (commerce), they also understood the need for balance of power, providing checks and balances: Only the House can raise revenue. They’ve done that. The Senate agreed, and the President did too. The president can spend that revenue, but only after Congress tells him how. This is where the problem now lies. The president (by law, not constitution) is supposed to present a budget in January to Congress and the House and Senate are supposed to authorize it by appropriating money for it. They have to agree. They don’t, and likely won’t. In recent decades, the traditional way of dealing with this mess has been the “continuing resolution” or “we’ll just do what we did last year with an x% increase until we sort this all out.”
    After decades of this lack of planning and management, spanning all parties and branches of government, we have now arrived at the point where we are not willing to do this any longer. I think, if there is one glimmering ray of hope here, Congress has started to wake up and realize that it, and it alone has the power of the purse and is finally using it. The President (and to a lesser extent the Senate), doesn’t like this, and he thinks that by bullying the general public by closing roads past national monuments and prohibiting people from walking through outdoor exhibits in DC and stopping hunters from hunting on federal land (which is, by the way, our land, our monuments) in the west he can bring pressure to bear on the people’s House. He may be right, but I sincerely hope he is wrong and we stop the “continuing resolution” process and start acting like responsible adults and clean up the messes that have been ongoing for nearly half a century.
    It will be painful, and that pain will not be equally shared, but we as a nation will become much stronger if the world sees we are serious about dealing with our mess, and we as a people will be better off if we do deal with it. Right here, right now. And I am not a member of any party.

    • Sarah Ashmore says:

      It is refreshing to hear a clear and conscise explanation of the current situation in Washington. There has been no actual budget for several years now, just continuing resolution after continuing resolution, essentially a blank check for the Executive branch. This has to be stopped and the power of Congress to control spending restored. If it was working the way it was supposed to then this ObamaCare standoff would only be affecting the passage of a single portion of the budget and the rest of the government would be business as normal. Washington DC has become completely disfunctional and the normal budget cycle has degraded to short term extensions.

  27. trevor Smith says:

    What we now need is a Constitutional Amendment to GET THE MONEY OUT OF POLITICS. (1) Term Limits, (2) No Person, Corporation, Special Interest, can contribute more than $X per year to a candidate, (3) All political advertising will be provided by the “free press” (aka radio, tv, newspapers) at NO COST to canditates with equal space or time, (4) No negative advertising permited, and finally, (5) any legislator who has a hearing with a special interest group must post an advertisment of the date and time and must invite an opposing special interest group to participate in the same hearing.
    If this amendment is neither proposed or enacted within the next 30 or so years, you will see a march on Washington that will make the 50′s race march look like child’s play.

  28. Sally says:

    The US DID have a law limiting campaign donations (McCain-Feingold) but the Supreme Court, claiming that corporations are “persons”, unilaterally “decided” in the “Citizens United” Case, that corporations can buy candidates at any price and without revealing they are doing that. Looks like corporations bought that nonsensical “decision”.

    • Thomas Boyle says:

      The primary purpose of campaign finance laws is to limit the ability of challengers to unseat people in Congress. Members of Congress have high visibility and are able to get their message out through their jobs. Challengers have to advertise.

      This explains why Congress loves campaign finance laws. It’s not because they believe in better politics.

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