Jim Campell of the Aero Network News has always been very outspoken about aviation issues. To read his latest Editorial Comments about what is happening to General Aviation go to the their web page.
Why not make some noise of your own? Click Read more to see CALPILOTS response.
I am a long time subscriber, back to the paper days in fact. I always appreciated you taking a stance on issues you felt needed to be addressed, even though it may not have been a popular position at the time. I believe that you are making a difference so keep up the good work.
I am also trying to make a difference, as the current President of the California Pilots Association. CALPILOTS was established in 1949 and is a statewide non-profit whose mission is to Promote, Preserve and Protect the state’s general aviation airports. Our mission also includes pilot’s rights since they are tied to one another. We are a volunteer organization and I would categorize us as more of a grass roots organization than AOPA like. We have no paid positions, and we do what we can. We often state our mission is protect the government from itself, especially since government is made up of so many incompetent , ‘lack of initiative and don’t make waves’ type of managers – at all levels.
I believe that the national organizations (AOPA, EAA, and NBAA) have been doing a pretty good job overall especially considering that their scope increases every day due to the increasing number of issues they must deal with. Although, having said that, it felt like both the EAA and AOPA were slow on the uptake in determining that their memberships were against the recent TSA SD’s, specifically SD-8G.
Of course the question is how much more could they have done, and the answer is probably that they could have taken their final rescind the SD’s stance much earlier than they did. I don’t think, however, that there was a question in anyone’s mind that the TSA was going to implement SD-8G, no matter what made sense, and regardless of the facts.
I would agree that the TSA, and the Customs and Border Patrol (CSB) are bureaucracies in every sense of the word. Most would agree that government agencies tend to try increasing their importance by increasing their scope, which means an increase in size. More responsibility means more people, more people means more budget, and all the government perks that come along with it. The cycle tends to repeat itself, and at some point it becomes about the government agency, not about the people it is supposed to serve. The citizens attitude of “there’s nothing I can do” guarantees the process and outcome to be sure.
While both TSA and CBP have their place and functions, there is no doubt that they are both trying to justify their existence with their recent attacks on general aviation in the form of new rules and regulations. I doubt anyone who knew the facts would argue this point.
The challenge that AOPA, EAA and NBAA have is trying to deal with the increasing project scope that is as prevalent in government agencies as described above. As general aviation’s issues grow, the national aviation organizations are stretched more and more. The fact is they need more help. This is verified by the recent announcement of AOPA and EAA working together to fight the growing demands by government bureaucracies out of control.
AOPA and EAA joining forces is a good thing. CALPILOTS have been calling for all of general aviation to work together for years. It is now starting to happen due more to necessity than collaboration. Unlike the government, the real world has limited resources and must figure out creative solutions and methods to accomplish the tasks at hand. We can’t just raise taxes and threaten lack of critical services similar to the government as their ‘go to’ strategy.
General Aviation Survival Model
CALPILOTS has been stating for the last four years that a new strategy is required – a three tiered approach to Promote, Preserve and Protect our airports, as well as our rights as pilots. The new general aviation survival model addresses Local, Statewide and National support.
Local – What better source than local pilots looking after their airports – who is better positioned to understand the issues their airport is facing? Pilots and aviation enthusiasts should belong to their local airport/pilot group and assist the leadership to insure that they are being proactive instead of reactive mode which is the norm today. If there is no local airport/pilot organization, than it is time to start one.
Statewide – The statewide airport/pilot organization is best positioned to provide guidance on local and statewide issues. There are no new airport issues, they are all the same, therefore having a statewide organization that can assist at meetings, in the formal organization of the group, and with a knowledge base of information is the second tier of the survival model.
National – The national organizations are the top tier in the survival model. They are best at dealing with Congress and the Federal Agencies which are supposed to be serving us. There should be fluid communication between the statewide and national organizations – which unfortunately, does not exist today. That has to change. National and statewide aviation organizations need to provide web based contact information at each level.
In the above General Aviation Survival Model all pilots must belong to all three tiers. Gone are the days that we can write a check to AOPA, EAA or NBAA and feel like we have done our part. We must all belong to and support all three tiers – the local, statewide and national aviation organizations. Writing a check for membership is a good start, but trust me on this, each of us can do something no matter how small. GET INVOLVED.
Admittedly in the past I have used all the same excuses I frequently hear now, – too busy, family, etc., etc. , but let me tell you something – as a pilot or aviation enthusiast, unless you get involved and do your part, general aviation will be reduced to a pathetic version of itself similar to Europe. If you want to know who will make sure it doesn’t happen, get up out of your chair and go look in the mirror – if general aviation goes the way of Europe the same mirror exercise will tell you who is responsible.
President – California Pilots Association