Aviation novels and novelists are rare. Even more rare are aviation novelists who are also corporate pilots and fighter pilots.
The Transportation Security Administration may finally be getting it. In November, the agency announced it is resuscitating the long-dormant Aviation Security Advisory Committee (Asac) and the Obama Administration said that the business aviation community will continue to have a seat at the table.
Bedeviled by political gamesmanship and misfortune, it’s a wonder the FAA gets anything done—never mind accomplishing the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen). With the latest transition in FAA leadership, we’ve come full circle to the situation that prevailed when President George W. Bush left office three years ago, with an interim administrator and no reauthorization.
There are things that belong in a business jet cabin. Things like high-speed Internet, a shower and on-demand high-definition video. There are also things that do not belong there. In the interest of launching 2012 with sound advice, I offer the following list of those things that do not belong:
I have been following with interest the developing story of how Iran has reportedly managed to capture some of the U.S.’s most sensitive surveillance technology, and I still have to shake my head at what a waste it was.
This year we could finally find out whether China will fully realize its potential as the world’s most dynamic new market for business aviation. For all the high-octane speculation about growth in China, 2011 closed with fewer than 200 business aircraft registered in the country and continuing difficulties in getting them imported and flying for the new jet-set in the People’s Republic.
Oh, Alec! You’ve gone and done it now. When you got kicked off that American Airlines flight on December 6 because you didn’t want to turn off your phone and stop playing Words With Friends and got mad at the flight attendant and slammed the bathroom door, well, you exposed the airlines’ dirty little secret, didn’t you?
You would think that by now JetBlue would have learned its lesson from the February snowstorm of 2007. After all, how many airlines have the distinction of prompting a rulemaking barring them from holding passengers hostage for more than three hours or face fines up to $27,500 per passenger?
From time to time Rocky and I entertain friends. Generally, as a 14-year-old golden retriever, he shows a lot of enthusiasm when someone first arrives but before long he ends up lying on his back in his semi-comatose, tongue hanging out, nap mode with his paws twitching in response to dreams of birds long ago retrieved. This time was different.
Taxes. I would like to pay fewer taxes, or none at all, but I accept why societies need them. I know some folks think we should do away with taxes altogether, but I can’t see how that could work. Like death, taxes are inevitable. On that cheery note, there is one tax I believe the aviation community needs to keep and support, if for no reason other than to avoid its alternative. The tax is the one on aviation fuel; its alternative is user fees.