Aviation Policy News: FAA shutdowns should not happen
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Aviation Policy Newsletter

Aviation Policy News: FAA shutdowns should not happen

Plus: The 1500-hour rule holding up FAA reauthorization, community concerns about Advanced Air Mobility, and more.

In this issue:

FAA Shutdowns Should Not Happen

As I write this newsletter, much of the U.S. aviation industry is concerned about the prospect of a partial federal government shutdown. As in previous potential and actual government shutdowns, we have warnings about air traffic controllers going temporarily unpaid, the controller academy being closed at a time when we already have enormous controller shortages, the loss of revenue from uncollected aviation user taxes, and on and on.

We hardly ever read, even in aviation-focused media outlets, that these disruptions could not happen in countries like Australia, Britain, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Switzerland, and numerous others. Air traffic services wouldn’t be in this situation in those countries because, over the last 36 years, more than 60 countries have separated their air traffic control operations from their transportation agencies. In those countries, each air navigation service provider is still regulated for safety by the relevant aviation safety agency. But air traffic control funding no longer comes from government appropriations. Instead, aviation customers pay user fees directly to the air traffic control (ATC) provider. This is the basic air traffic control public utility model whose success is so obvious that more countries keep adopting it. Including ATC provided to more than one country by consortia such as Agency for Aerial Navigation Safety in Africa and Madagascar (ASECNA), Corporación Centroamericana de Servicios de Navegación Aérea (COCESNA), and Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre (MUAC), the total is now 83 countries whose air traffic control has shifted to this model.

Here are a few of the advantages the United States is missing by sticking with its obsolete model:
·      Ability of the air traffic control provider to issue long-term revenue bonds to pay for large-scale capital improvements;
· Arm’s-length safety regulation by an independent safety regulator, per International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) policy;
·      No long intervals without a fully qualified chief executive officer in charge of the air traffic utility;
·      Ability to compensate and retain the best and the brightest engineers and program managers;
·      Financial independence from government budgetary problems; and,
·      No air traffic controller shortages due to reliable revenue streams.

This is not rocket science. The same basic principles apply to nearly all public utilities, whether government-owned, investor-owned, or operated as nonprofit user co-ops. Imagine if Congress operated your electric, water, or natural gas utility, and those things were dependent on the political process to allocate funding and subject to Congress micro-managing them. Or, imagine if the federal public utility Tennessee Valley Authority were operated and funded this way.

Earlier this month, I was pleased to read a commentary by former Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao in The Hill headlined, “The Sky’s the Limit: It’s Time to Modernize Air Traffic Control.” Chao itemizes several air traffic control shortcomings in technology and controller staffing, among other things. And Chao suggests the way forward:

“The United States should liberate the air traffic control system from the FAA and establish the responsibility for air traffic control to a not-for-profit corporation, run by a board of representatives from the users of the system. This entity would finance itself through user fees . . . providing the budget certainty and flexibility needed to complete modernization initiatives without continuous delays and postponements. ATC would still report to Congress, while the FAA could focus solely on its [safety] regulatory role.”

Secretary Chao is correct, and it’s tragic that our air traffic control system was not transformed into an ATC utility when she was in office. Sooner or later, the United States must catch up with the rest of the developed world. Air traffic control as a micromanaged, taxpayer-funded bureaucracy can now be seen as a category mistake. But only Congress can replace the country’s flawed air traffic control model with world-class systems like those implemented by our major allies.

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The 1,500-Hour Rule Holding Up FAA Reauthorization

Aviation safety should not be politicized. But that’s what has happened with the regulation Congress pushed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to enact in response to the 2009 Colgan Air flight 3407 crash that killed 49 people on the aircraft and one person on the ground. That regulation mandates that first officers on scheduled airliners must have 1,500 hours of flying time before being allowed to work in an airliner cockpit. The families of those who died in the crash continue to lobby fiercely against any modification of that regulation, and their cause has been adopted, in particular, by Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), who chairs the Aviation Subcommittee of Senate Commerce. For its own reasons, the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) also supports retaining this regulation unchanged.

In this debate, nobody is arguing for fewer than 1,500 hours of flight training for first officers. The change being urged by Sen. John Thune (R-SD) and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) would allow FAA to count simulator training hours as part of the required 1,500 flight training hours. Sen. Duckworth wrote in a recent op-ed that “this so-called solution does anything but solve the problem, and seems more akin to addressing a doctor shortage by slashing the amount of training medical school students need to earn their degree.”

Sen. Duckworth’s statement seems to disregard the facts. Pilots in training can satisfy the entire 1,500-hour requirement by repeated flights in a single-engine piston aircraft operating out of general aviation airports. There is no requirement to operate a multi-engine, jet-propelled aircraft, to fly under instrument flight rules (IFR), or to operate at large commercial airports. All such operations can be learned and practiced on state-of-the-art flight simulators.

Aviation professionals know this. Six former FAA administrators (Randy Babbit, Steve Dickson, Jane Garvey, Allan McArtor, Marion Blakey, Michael Huerta), two former acting FAA administrators (Dan Elwell and Billy Nolen), and Lee Moak, the former president of Airline Pilots Association International, sent a letter to the chairs and ranking members of the Senate Commerce and House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, and their aviation subcommittees, explaining and supporting the superiority of simulator training over mere accumulation of single-engine flight hours. They explained the numerous advantages of simulators, including the ability to simulate and train to avoid a large array of potential accidents, and their widespread use by airlines and flight training organizations worldwide. The letter noted:

“As pilot training technology evolves, it is the responsibility of the FAA and policy makers to evolve with it. Today, simulators are used worldwide for training by most commercial airlines and are approved by global aviation regulators. Pilot training and simulation technology advances have prompted the U.S. Air Force to more than triple the amount of simulator training for its new pilots . . . . Advanced simulators produce safer pilots without compromise.”

By contrast, a piece circulated by ALPA supporting the status quo, by a bipartisan group of four House members from New York, headlined, “Putting Public Safety Over Politics and Preserving the 1,500-Hour Pilot Training Rule“:

“The 1,500-hour rule has played a critical role in maintaining the safest period in American aviation history. For the sake of the flying public, airline pilots, and families of Flight 3407 who have continually fought to protect this rule, we cannot go backward.”

But that claim gets it entirely backward. Today, the 1,500-hour rule elevates politics over the improved safety benefits of simulator training for would-be airline pilots.

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FAA Proposal Would Undermine Public Charters

Many small airports have lost the minimal amount of airline service they depended on, partly due to the ongoing post-COVID-19 pandemic pilot shortage. One regional airline, Skywest, has proposed converting part of its fleet to public charter status via a new division called Skywest Charter. Under 1988 FAA regulations, public charter aircraft with no more than 30 seats do not need to meet the current 1,500-hour rule for first officers. Large airlines have hired away large numbers of 1,500-hour cockpit crews from the regional airlines, so planes operating under the charter rules could pair a 1,500-hour captain with a less-experienced first officer. Skywest plans to remove seats from 50-seat regional jets to convert them to 30-seat charter aircraft. That is entirely legal under current FAA regulations.

But all of a sudden, the largest pilots’ union, ALPA, is lobbying against Skywest Charter’s plan. And it has been joined by American Airlines and Southwest Airlines. ALPA characterizes the 1988 FAA charter regulation as a “loophole” in the sacred 1,500-hour rule for first officers. And to the dismay of many aviation observers, FAA has announced its intent to change the 1988 charter rules policy.

Caught in the backwash from this regulatory change, if it’s adopted, would be startup charter operator JSX. It won FAA approval in 2016 to operate a service similar to the proposed Skywest Charter. JSX has converted 50-seat Embraer regional jets to 30 seats, offering the equivalent of first-class service and operating mostly from general aviation terminals with private security screening. A long-time friend of mine has been flying JSX for several years and raves about its service.

A Sept. 11 Wall Street Journal article explained the JSX model and then noted that American Airlines and Southwest Airlines are opposed, saying this business model “degrades our nation’s aviation system and distorts competition.” By contrast, JetBlue and United have invested in JSX, lauding it for filling in market niches they and other major carriers cannot. Needless to say, ALPA has begun lobbying for FAA’s proposed regulatory change—anything to keep pilots in short supply and improve its bargaining position with major airlines.

I recommend Gary Leff’s View from the Wing commentary, “FAA Proposes to Ban JSX Because They Offer Passengers a Popular, Quality Product.” Leff points out that this service is completely legal under long-standing FAA regulations and that there have not been any safety problems with these innovative carriers. Leff also notes that JSX is pairing “30,000-hour captains mentoring sub-1,500-hour co-pilots.”

And these one or two-hour flights are very different from transcontinental or transoceanic flights. They are short flights into and out of familiar airports, and co-pilots don’t need to relieve captains for hours at a time. “And since 90% of their flights overnight at base, pilots mostly sleep in their own beds—far better for fatigue than at nearly all Part 121 carriers,” Leff writes.

I won’t excerpt the rest of Gary’s excellent commentary, but I urge you to read it. The Air Line Pilots Association and American Airlines are arguing against increased airline competition, which was the premise of airline deregulation. It’s good to see JetBlue and United not following American’s lead on this.

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Is a “Green” Widebody Airliner Possible?

Today, the industry is full of new concepts for reducing aviation’s carbon footprint. Besides simply reducing exhaust emissions from conventional turbofans gradually over time via shifting to sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), an array of propulsion alternatives have gained interest, ranging from battery-powered fans to hydrogen fuel cell electricity driving fans, as well as using either liquid hydrogen, liquid methane, or liquid ammonia as fuel for turbofans. But the laws of physics must be obeyed. A quantitative analysis of the feasibility of these alternatives was released in August by Eurocontrol in its report Think Paper #21.

For the exercise, the researchers used as a baseline an Airbus A-380 widebody and a long-distance, nonstop flight from Paris to Singapore with 424 passengers (at 80% load factor). The takeoff weight for that baseline aircraft was 434 metric tons.

The most impossible alternative was battery electricity driving propulsive fans. With today’s best batteries, enough to meet the power requirement would total 5,272 metric tons, increasing the takeoff weight from today’s 434 to 5,679 metric tons. The team did not even bother trying to develop a wing design that could lift that very gross weight.

The two alternatives that added the least gross weight were liquid hydrogen combusted in turbofans and liquid methane combusted in turbofans. Gross takeoff weight was only modestly increased to 455 or 446 metric tons, respectively. Liquid ammonia as jet fuel was much heavier, increasing gross weight to 727 tons. And using liquid hydrogen fuel cells to drive electric fans grossed out at 819 metric tons. That alternative also required about twice as much energy to produce the fuel cell system, compared with using liquid hydrogen as jet fuel.

Perhaps as a joke, the researchers also posited covering the entire upper surface of the aircraft with solar cells. That was so far from generating enough electricity that it would require towing a 4.6-mile-long panel of additional solar cells.

The laws of physics are a tough master, but they must be obeyed. In the same issue of Aviation Week that included a summary of the Eurocontrol study (Sept. 4-17, 2023) were two articles about progress being made on a radically different kind of widebody: the blended wing body (BWB), The basic design comes from a California startup called Jet Zero, but it has been adopted by Northrop Grumman and its Scaled Composites division. While it’s intended as a next-generation widebody airliner, the initial prototype is being developed under a public-private partnership between this team of companies and the U.S. Air Force’s (USAF) Defense Innovation Unit. USAF is interested in a longer-range tanker/transport to meet future needs. The development team’s modeling suggests that the radical new design, in which the fuselage provides lift in addition to the wings, and there is less overall drag for the engines to overcome, could operate with 50% less fuel burn for the same range and payload. That is far better carbon footprint reduction than offered by most projections of the gradual introduction of sustainable aviation fuels in conventional tube-and-wing jetliners.

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Addressing Community Concerns about AAM
By Marc Scribner

Advanced air mobility (AAM) involving short-distance flights by electric vertical-takeoff-and-landing (eVTOL) aircraft may be in its infancy, but it is already facing skepticism from local governments and advocacy groups. Many of the complaints are familiar to anyone who has ever tried to build anything anywhere, with noise, ecological, and safety harms being alleged. Fortunately, the technology underlying AAM can address many of these concerns, along with market-oriented infrastructure policy that will encourage locally tailored operations.

In May of this year, FAA issued a request for information (RFI) “seeking public input on the development of a national strategy on Advanced Air Mobility as required by the Advanced Air Mobility Coordination and Leadership Act.” The public comment period closed on Aug. 16. Of the 432 comments received, a review of the docket suggests at least 271 (63%) were generated by Studio City for Quiet Skies, a Los Angeles-area activist group that exists to oppose aircraft operations at, and modernization of, local airports. The group made four calls to action between June and August and instructed members to flood the docket with identical copies of a pre-written statement opposing AAM in general.

As Aviation Daily reported last month (“Quiet Skies, Community Groups Push Back Against FAA’s AAM Plan,” Aug. 28), Studio City for Quiet Skies made a number of demands to FAA, including: “the rush to implement AAM must be slowed,” “environmental review must be thorough and not streamlined,” “providing the public full stakeholder status,” “AAM for the sole purpose of transporting the uber-wealthy must be avoided,” “the climate crisis must not be ignored to accommodate a frivolous new industry,” and so on and so forth.

While the group and its few hundred supporters threw a lot of spaghetti at the wall, it’s unclear if any of it will stick at FAA. That being said, the central focus of Studio City for Quiet Skies and groups like it is aircraft noise they deem to be excessive. With respect to AAM, noise is certainly a legitimate concern given the expected operating tempos and environments will mean more aircraft flying above communities.

eVTOL developers such as Joby and Archer anticipated these concerns and have been working to address them. Archer claims its Midnight production aircraft “is expected to measure around 45 A-weighted decibels (dBA), almost 1,000 times quieter than that of a helicopter” from the ground when flown at its designed 2,000-foot cruise altitude. For comparison, 45 dBA is between the noise levels of “suburban area at night” (40 dBA) and “household refrigerator” (55 dBA).

As part of the Advanced Air Mobility National Campaign, Joby’s eVTOL prototype was subjected to acoustic flight testing by NASA two years ago. NASA estimated that Joby’s pre-production aircraft produced a noise level of 45.2 dBA at 1,640 feet at a 100 knots airspeed, similar to Archer’s claimed noise testing results. For takeoff and landing noise profiles, NASA estimated that Joby’s eVTOL aircraft noise level would remain below 65 dBA at 330 feet from the flight path, which is comparable to the volumes of normal conversation or an office setting.

If these noise profiles are accurate, it means that typical AAM operations in urban environments will be imperceptible against ambient noise much of the time. So, the primary community concern of AAM—aircraft noise—is likely to be much less severe than groups like Studio City for Quiet Skies suspect.

Another way of minimizing AAM noise and satisfying community concerns is to leave eVTOL infrastructure development to the private sector. If, like the vast majority of heliports in the U.S. today, vertiports are privately built and operated for private use, enhanced aircraft noise limits and operator liability insurance are possible. In contrast, publicly funding vertiports and designating them for “public use” will force expansive open-access requirements on vertiports and preclude locally tailored and enforceable noise policies.

Importantly, private investors are likely to be much more willing to assume vertiport construction and financing risks if they can avoid all the strings that come attached to a “public use” designation. In the case of community concerns about AAM, private and public interests may well be aligned as long as government infrastructure policy doesn’t crowd out private vertiport investment and management.

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Avports Hopes to Commercialize Another Airport

Over the past decade, U.S. aviation has seen two airports without scheduled airline service get converted into commercial service airports, thanks to private investment in a passenger terminal: Paine Field near Seattle and Tweed New Haven Airport in New Haven, Connecticut. At Paine Field, the privately financed and operated terminal came first, and scheduled airlines responded positively by launching service. At New Haven (which had lost a small amount of scheduled service), the initial mover was startup airline Avelo, which began scheduled service in 2021, using Tweed New Haven’s existing small terminal. But Avelo’s planned expansion prompted Avports, the airport’s contract operator, to propose a long-term public-private partnership (P3) under which it would lengthen the runway and expand and operate the terminal—and so far, that seems to be working.

This brings us to news from late August that Avports has finalized a 40-year P3 agreement with the city of Manassas, Virginia, to finance and develop an airline-focused passenger terminal at their general aviation airport and operate it for the 40-year period. The terminal will be expanded to at least 25,000 square feet. The city government will continue to manage the airport, but Avports will be responsible for the terminal and the commercial airliner parking ramp.

Under the public-private partnership agreement, Avports is responsible for all costs of attracting and servicing commercial airline services. It will also pay annual ground and building rent, with the first-year payment being $672,143, according to an Aug. 23 article in Inframation. The agreement also requires the city government to seek Part 139 certification from FAA to allow commercial air service.

Avports told Inframation that it sees this as a “flagship project” for promising general aviation airports. The article noted that Avports’ headquarters is near Manassas, which is experiencing “solid population growth, increased economic development, and greater transportation accessibility.”   

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News Notes

German ANSP Studying Remote Tower for Lithuania
DFS Aviation Services (a division of the DFS, the German air navigation service provider), is under contract to Oro Navigacija, the ANSP of Lithuania, Air Traffic Management reported earlier this month. The four principal airports in Lithuania are the focus of the feasibility study, which is aiming for completion by December. DFS is among the pioneers of remote digital towers in Europe via its DFS Aviation Services division.  

Auckland Sells 7% Stake in its International Airport
On Sept. 1, the city council of Auckland, New Zealand, carried out its planned sale of a 7% stake in Auckland International Airport for $498 million. The airport is traded on both the New Zealand and Australian stock exchanges. Annual results for AUK showed that the shares sale valued the airport at about 30 times earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), i.e., an EBITDA multiple of about 30X.

Pension Funds Seek Buyer for 40% of Queensland Airports
Inframation reports that KKR and Stonepeak are two potential bidders for a 40% stake in Queensland Airports, the long-term P3 entity responsible for four regional airports in the Australian state of Queensland. Three of the current investors in the company—two public pension funds (Australian Retirement Trust and State Super) seek to sell their entire stakes, while The Infrastructure Fund seeks to sell part of its holding. Estimates of the likely EBITDA multiple range from 23X to 26X, lower than Auckland because these are smaller regional airports.

Aireon and Metron Upgrading ATC in Africa
Air traffic control for 18 African countries is provided by a joint air navigation service provider, ASECNA. It had already subscribed to Aireon’s space-based ADS-B surveillance to enable radar-like surveillance over the vast land and oceanic airspace (16.5 million square kilometers) managed by ASECNA. Last month, Aireon announced it had linked its AireonFLOW air traffic management data with Metron Aviation’s Horizon platform. This change will allow for continuous ADS-B position reports and extend ACESNA’s visibility of flights outside its airspace. It will also enable more accurate predictions of traffic flows into its airspace and airports.

Boom Supersonic Prototype Cleared for Flight Tests
FAA has provided an experimental airworthiness certificate for the XB-1, Boom Supersonic’s 71-foot prototype supersonic aircraft. This will permit flight testing to get under way at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California. Last month, Boom carried out taxi tests of the XB-1 in Colorado prior to shipping the aircraft to California. The first step will be faster-speed taxi tests at Mojave, followed by flight tests up to Mach 1.7. Boom’s factory that will produce its considerably larger Overture supersonic airliner is under construction at Piedmont Triad International Airport near Greensboro, North Carolina.

Five Likely Bidders for $3 Billion Manila Airport P3
Inframation reported on Sept. 14 that there are now five potential bidders for a P3 concession to modernize and operate the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, capital of the Philippines: Manila International Airport Consortium, San Miguel, Spark 888 Management, Asian Airport Consortium, and GMR Group. The bidding will open in December, and a winner will be announced in Jan. 2024. Aviation Daily reported the concession period as 25 years, while Inframation reported it as 15 years.

ADS-B Flight Information Display for U.K. General Aviation Airport
Like many U.S. general aviation airports, Manchester Barton Aerodrome lacks radar surveillance. One of the oldest British airports, it is served by four grass runways and a modest control tower staffed by a Flight Information Service Officer. Air Traffic Management (July) reported that this airport now has an ADS-B Flight Information Display (FID), providing real-time position data to tower personnel. The system has been certified by the U.K. Civil Aviation Authority. The CAA certification came after extensive trials. The ADS-B data for the FID is gathered by a uAvionix pingStation 3, with a reception range of 300 kilometers.

More Airport P3s in the Caribbean
Bahamian officials are entering negotiations with a private consortium to upgrade the airport at Bimini. The project would extend the airport runway to 8,000 feet from its current 6,000 feet. The leading proposer is Bimini Airport Development Partners, consisting of Phoenix Infrastructure, Plenary Group, and Avports. This project is separate from a Bahamian government project to use P3s to upgrade 14 other airports in the Bahamas. Elsewhere in the Caribbean, the government of the Turks & Caicos Islands is in the procurement process for a P3 to design, build, finance, operate, and maintain the Howard Hamilton International Airport. The planned P3 concession would be for 30 years. The process is expected to begin in 2024.

TSA Taking Over Screening at Bozeman-Yellowstone Airport
Starting on Oct. 8, the screening of passengers and bags will shift from the private sector to Transportation Security Administration screeners at Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport (BZN). Bozeman has been a member of the TSA Screening Partnership Program (SPP), which is open to all U.S. airports. As of earlier this year, there were 22 SPP airports, with the largest being San Francisco International (SFO). The departure of Bozeman reduces the number to 21. The Aviation Pros article on which this news note is based did not explain why the airport board voted to leave the program. It did report that TSA plans to offer employment to all the current private-sector screeners working at the airport.

U.K. Prime Minister Rejects New Anti-Flying Taxes
United Kingdom Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced earlier this month that there will be no British air passenger taxes aimed at deterring people from flying. In his announcement, he noted that since 1990 U.K. greenhouse gas emissions have declined almost 50%, compared with 20% in France and a 300% increase in China. In the same article, Aviation Daily noted, “France has reportedly dropped plans to increase airfare taxation.” That article also pointed out that the existing U.K. Air Passenger Duty “already ranks as one of the world’s most expensive airline taxes.”

GAO Report Downplays Poor Airport Record on Electricity Sustainability
In a 41-page report requested by the chairman of the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee and the chairman of its Aviation Subcommittee, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported sketchy efforts by a group of 41 U.S. airports, mostly large and medium hubs to add emergency backup power. Although FAA requires airports in the National Airspace System (NAS) “to have reliable and economical electric power sources to provide safe, secure, and efficient air traffic control,” with primary and backup systems, there are apparently no FAA requirements for backup power to keep terminals and gates operational, despite a number of severe power failures in recent years, at major hubs like Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport and John F. Kennedy International. The report is very disappointing (GAO-23-105203).

FAA Space Launch Regulator Expects Several-Year Delay
Politico reported (Sept. 13) that Kevin Coleman, FAA Associate Administrator for Commercial Space, expects that the current “light-touch” regulation of human space flight will remain in place for at least several years. The current regime provides no protection for space-launch passengers, who fly at their own risk; only damages to non-participants are actionable. FAA launched an Aviation Rulemaking Committee in July to begin considering a replacement policy, but that process will likely take several years, Coleman told an aerospace summit hosted by the Chamber of Commerce.

Pittsburgh Airport Settles with Fraport USA
After a year of litigation and court cases, the Allegheny County Airport Authority reached a $10.5 million settlement with Pittsburgh International Airport’s long-time Airmail manager, Fraport USA. The fracas began on June 15, 2022, when the authority unilaterally terminated Fraport’s lease, using police to escort all Fraport staff out of the airport. After several bouts of litigation, four months ago, the state Superior Court ordered the authority to return Fraport to the airport. In the settlement, Fraport agreed to drop its claims in exchange for the $10.5 million, and the authority will be able to manage concessions in its under-construction new terminal.

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Quotable Quotes

“The FAA administrative and budget executives (who are frequently not ATC types) look at the FAA’s ATC staffing and deny the staffing requests, saying ‘You are already fully staffed.’ A year or two later the FAA ATC types successfully get their additional staffing request through the FAA officials, only to get it denied by the DOT officials—or the President’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB). This process is repeated for a couple of years before DOT/OMB finally recognizes, ‘Oh my God, we need more FAA ATC personnel this year’—let’s put a priority request in to the Congress for the budgetary authority and authorization. That’s where FAA sits today—well behind the power curve in its recruitment for replacement of ATC staff. Unfortunately, we seem to be doomed to repeat this process every couple of decades, i.e., we never seem to retain this institutional knowledge within the U.S. governmental budgetary system.”
—Billie H. Vincent, former chief of New York Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC), email to Robert Poole, Aug. 15, 2023, used with permission

“Automotive [production] is in a different league, with Volkswagen producing 800,000 cars a year at one site. Even the highest projection we’ve seen [in AAM] is 1,000-1,500 a year, and we believe that’s still far off. . . . The [AAM] OEMs have got to be more realistic with the rates and timelines because it’s not just the vehicles—it’s the infrastructure, the regulations, the pilots. Even if they were able to ramp up this fast, which I doubt, we wouldn’t have the environment to deploy all these vehicles.”
—Stephen Schamberger, director of business development of aerospace company FACC, in “Special Report: Advanced Air Mobility,” Aviation Week, Aug. 14-Sept. 3, 2023

“In terms of the future, a radically under-covered part of the most recent IPCC report is that it assigned a much lower probability to the extreme scenario (RCP8.5) featured in previous reports and deemed the most probable’ business as usual’ outcome in those reports. Put another way, the new report was surer that global warming is caused by humans, but much less sure that it would produce an extreme outcome. That would seem to qualify as good news, but the reception of the report still tended toward the apocalyptic. The U.N. Secretary General characterized the report’s message as a ‘code red for humanity,’ where only immediate, drastic action could prevent ‘catastrophe.’ Countless stories in mainstream media took a similar tack, which was amplified by environmental activists and echoed by most Democratic politicians.”
—Ruy Teixeira, politics editor of The Liberal Patriot newsletter, in “The Democrats’ Climate Problem,” Oct. 27, 2022

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