Monday, November 16, 2009

Welcome Aboard Comrade



They are wearing me down. I’m not sure I can treat these people seriously anymore. Perhaps I never should have. I’m sorry, but I can’t call this Wal-Street Journal headline even slightly better than propaganda. It’s just out and out propaganda.

Airlines Fight for Safety-Upgrade Funds

There’s no safety issue here (or in this story.) Marion Blakey can’t call this the safest period in aviation history as FAA Administrator and then turn around and ask for a handout on safety grounds as an industry shill. (Notice I don’t need two separate links to prove that statement. It’s available in one link. See what I mean about propaganda ?) Even reading the story, you can’t find the word “safety” until almost the end.

”The debate comes months after aviation industry officials failed to have air-traffic control issues included in sweeping federal economic-stimulus legislation. Since then, the industry coalition has sent letters to Capitol Hill, talked with Mr. Summers and enlisted the support of the FAA. It has argued that such assistance would produce tangible, near-term efficiency and safety benefits, long before the FAA's tentative 2018 deadline for widespread deployment. “

Even when safety is finally mentioned, it’s in the “and” category. They can’t say NextGen (that’s what we’re talking about here) will improve safety (because it won’t) so they toss in an “and” to include “efficiency”. I don’t know why. It doesn’t really help. The FAA and the airlines already used the saving-gas-on-direct-routes lie with URET. They “saved” themselves right into bankruptcy.

And then, at the very last, there is this “Hail Mary” pass on safety.

”David Traynham, another Boeing official, told an FAA safety conference in September: "We need to broaden our thinking about what constitutes" air-traffic control systems. "A lot of the [future] infrastructure," he said, "is going to be equipment in cockpits." “

I’m not sure that I can “broaden” my mind that much -- without it exploding. How am I supposed to consider an over-priced and under-needed black box in a private airliner as part of the publicly-funded air traffic control system ? And in case you’re confused, that is what all this is about.

The airlines want the Federal government to pay for the NextGen-required navigational equipment on their airplanes. They can’t afford to pay for it so they want you to buy it for them.

US Airways to U.S.: We can’t afford new traffic control

It’s more Lemon Socialism. Only worse. Even if NexGen paid off (and it won’t), the carnival barkers trying to sell you on this idea wouldn’t share the wealth with their workers. They’ll take their slightly-smaller-than-Wall-Street’s bonuses, pull the rip cord on their golden parachutes and leave the pilots, flight attendants and mechanics with nothing. No salaries, no jobs, no prospects and no pensions.

In case it hasn’t occurred to you, the biggest safety problem in aviation right now is the fatigued (not to mention demoralized) workers in the industry. You know, the pilots that commute all the way across the country because they can’t afford to move. The crazy hours. Falling asleep at the wheel. That kind of thing. If you -- the taxpayer -- want to spend some money on safety, you’d do a lot better by spending it on the people that are supposed to keep you safe.

Don Brown
November 16, 2009

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