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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:55 AM
Original message
Socialist Airports for the Rich - this is seriously Fugged up
http://www.usatoday.com/travel/flights/2009-09-17-littl...
<snip>

The 29 people with small planes at Virginia's Stafford Regional Airport enjoy a federally subsidized airstrip and recently got a tax break from the county. The airport caters to private pilots and corporate traffic.

By Thomas Frank, USA TODAY
WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. One of the USA's newest airports has a 5,500-foot lighted runway, a Colonial-style terminal with white columns, and hundreds of acres for growth. But Kentucky's Williamsburg-Whitley County Airport lacks one feature: airline passengers.

Built using $11 million in federal money, the airport is used only by private airplanes. Many are piston-engine aircraft owned by residents such as Keith Brashear, the airport board chairman who keeps his two-seat Cessna in the airport hangar. On a typical day, the airport has just two or three flights, manager Jessica Roberts says. Some days, there are none.

The Williamsburg airport is the result of an obscure federal program that raises billions of dollars a year through taxes on every airplane ticket sold in the United States. The taxes can add up to 15% to the cost of a flight or about $29 to a $200 round-trip ticket.

Federal lawmakers have used some of the money to build and maintain the world's most expansive and expensive network of airports 2,834 of them nationwide with no scheduled passenger flights. Known as general-aviation airports, they operate separately from the 139 well-known commercial airports that handle almost all passenger flights.

In the first full accounting of the 28-year-old Airport Improvement Program, USA TODAY found that Congress has directed $15 billion to general-aviation airports, which typically are tucked on country roads and industrial byways.

Lawmakers have expanded annual funding by 10 times since 1982...

----------------
Make sure you click that interactive map
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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:57 AM
Response to Original message
1. The 'small airport' subsidy is a HUGE rip off. UticaNY, JohnstownPA, Stafford, etc. are HUGELY
subsidized so rich people can land private jets.
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Mari333 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:57 AM
Response to Original message
2. no doubt the asshats who use this airport arent paying any fucking taxes
and again, we are funding them.
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redqueen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:03 AM
Response to Reply #2
7. Did you read this? It's positively sickening.


Airplane owners in Stafford County, Va., got a huge break in April. The county eliminated its tax on airplanes. That was done to match the policy in place at nearby Leesburg Executive and Manassas Regional airports. The 29 people with small airplanes at the Stafford Regional Airport will see an average tax break of $655 a year, airport manager Ed Wallis says.

The main beneficiaries, Wallis says, will be owners of expensive jets that he hopes to draw by exempting them from taxes of $180,000 a year in the case of a Gulfstream V. That break will lure business, Wallis says.

Stafford Economic Development Authority member David Beiler calls the tax break "a wealthy, powerful special-interest group getting what it wants." Stafford County this year increased the tax rate on automobiles by 25%.

"It's ridiculous that someone with a car that's 10 or 20 years old should be paying more tax than someone with a $1 million airplane," says Stafford Supervisor Joe Brito, who opposed the tax cut.




The paragraphs above that excerpt (about the perks for private fliers) are interesting, too.
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:36 AM
Response to Reply #7
19. The entire article is an eye-opener
Unfuckingbelievable!!!!
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MajorChode Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 09:54 PM
Response to Reply #7
74. I don't really see how it's sickening
Gulfstream V aircraft probably represent a tiny fraction of the aircraft based at the airport but lets go ahead and look at that one extreme example. The yearly fixed cost only to operate one is roughly $1 million and those fixed costs don't reflect the crew. So where does that money go? Right back into the local economy. So the owner of such a jet is just going to move it one county over and so goes the jobs with it. Not only that, such a tax was probably killing the local airport(s) and a lot more jobs would have followed also. It's just a case of a local county trying to fleece what they thought was an easy source of revenue until they found out it was going to cost them a good deal more than they ever hoped to gain.
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anigbrowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 05:21 PM
Response to Reply #2
37. My friend is one of those 'asshats', and he's not rich
Yes, he does pay taxes and is saving to buy his own plane. You can buy a small plane for the cost of an ordinary car (eg $15-20,000) if you shop around. So he does without a car and takes the bus to work. Flying is a lot less expensive than most people imagine, plus there's a lot of volunteering involved. It is not some exclusive hobby of the wealthy, at all.
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leveymg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 08:55 AM
Response to Reply #37
41. Doubt if anyone who owns a Gulfstream V rides the bus to work.
More like, he owns a company with a $5 billion federal contract. Those guys get public money in lots of ways. They expect it as an entitlement program.
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anigbrowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 02:22 PM
Response to Reply #41
46. So what?! Gulfstream jets make up a tiny, tiny proportion of privately owned planes
Go to an airfield, most of the aircraft there are single-propeller 2 or 4 seaters, news helicopters (if you're near a city) or small cargo planes (if you're in a remote area).

If you hate rich people, fine, tax private jet sales or something. but to suggest that small airfields exist solely for the benefit of billionaires is just stupid.
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leveymg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 03:19 PM
Response to Reply #46
49. I'm quoting the Mayor of Stafford, who opposed the private airport subsidy
But, relax. I have hours in five or six types of high and low winged single-engine planes. I like them and their owners. But, really, it is just an expensive hobby for most owners. If you have to look for savings and revenues somewhere, better to raise landing fees than to close all the public libraries in Philadelphia.
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anigbrowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 04:11 PM
Response to Reply #49
51. This sounds like more of a PA problem than a national one
I do know a few people who are absurdly rich and who effectively benefit from these public subsidies, but I know a lot more flyers who are, um, down to earth. I'm just disappointed that many people would rather go off on a crusade than acquaint themselves with the facts a bit better.
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leveymg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 04:34 PM
Response to Reply #51
53. Okay, then suggest a better place to find revenues/cut outlays.
Edited on Fri Sep-18-09 05:16 PM by leveymg
We'll play pay-go, if you like. You want to save those private airport upgrades, fine. Where do you suggest we find offsetting revenues?
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anigbrowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 05:20 PM
Response to Reply #53
55. I don't. Flyers already pay a fairly decent amount inf uel taxes...
...and the multiple small airfields allow large commercial traffic to move much efficiently at major airports instead of being held up by local takeoffs and landings. As I said earlier, I have no particular objection to slapping a surtax on luxury jets or something if it makes people feel better.
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leveymg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 05:29 PM
Response to Reply #55
56. 100 octane avgas - $3.69/gal at a field a few miles from here
Edited on Fri Sep-18-09 05:47 PM by leveymg
They don't pay that much in fuel taxes.

But, your big block hot rod will run great on it, too. Just a few pennies more than unleaded decaf.

KVKX
10 ESE Potomac Airfield Friendly, MD, USA
Potomac Airfield RA $3.69
05-Aug
update

And, if you need to fill up the old Bell Jet Ranger, catch this deal:

Hop over to Ft. Meade (NSA) - $3.25/GAL for jet fuel! What a deal - almost like buying scotch at the PX. (Wonder who's subsidizing that bargain?)

Tipton Airport Fort Meade (Odenton), MD, USA
Tipton Airport Authority SS $3.25
17-Sep
update

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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anigbrowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 06:22 PM
Response to Reply #56
58. ahem
You realize that a Bell Jet Ranger, a quite efficient aircraft, gets something on the order of 7mpg, yes? And the tax on each gallon of aviation fuel is about 20c. Since aviation buyers tend to buy fuel in much larger quantities than drivers do, they enjoy discounts. The same is true of pretty much any other product, the more you buy the better the deal you can get.

Sorry, I think the USA Today story is shallow and has a whole bunch of stuff wrong, and people are just having a knee-jerk reaction to it because most of them know nothing about aviation and instantly assume it's all overpaid CEOs flying round drinking champagne.
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leveymg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-19-09 05:59 AM
Response to Reply #58
82. Now that you've cleared that up, you've made another couple points that need airing
Edited on Sat Sep-19-09 06:00 AM by leveymg
The primary reason that business people travel by small plane or helicopter is to save time. There are other more fuel-efficient ways of getting there, but those who own aircraft do it for two reasons - there's less hassle to fly your own, and it's fun. The rest of us subsidize that in various ways, particularly the construction and improvement of private airfields.

As for the price of avgas and jet fuel, the price at the pump depends on where you buy it. The same gallon that costs $3.25 at Ft. Meade costs $7.50 at the civil aviation hanger at National Airport. Obviously, more gets pumped at National. Part of the price differential is sheer greed on the part of the operators at National, and part is the subsidy of operation at Ft. Meade.

Most people who own their own planes are either corporate execs or own their own companies. You know that, and I know that. Do they drink champagne in-flight? Not the ones who are the controls, one would hope. Do passengers enjoy a nice bottle or two in flight? One would hope they enjoy it. I don't feel too bad if the cost of the experience goes up a few percent so public libraries can stay open.
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MajorChode Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-19-09 12:49 PM
Response to Reply #82
86. I can't follow your points
First, no subsidies exist for private airports. If an airport isn't public, there is no AIP funding, period.

Next, I can't agree with your assertion that subsidies lower the cost of fuel because there are literally hundreds of airports that receive zero AIP funding either directly from the feds or through state programs and they still have fuel that's as cheap or cheaper than the Ft. Meade example you gave. The reason why some airports have fuel that's much more expensive is because those FBOs offer services not available at the smaller airports. The cost of fuel at the vast majority of airports is mainly a reflection of how much it costs to refine and deliver that fuel to that location plus a small profit margin. It's no different than the fuel you pump in your vehicle. The reason why aviation fuel is more expensive than auto fuel is because it's refined in much smaller batches and is delivered in smaller quantities.

Finally, I don't know that most people "who own their own planes are either corporate execs or own their own companies." Actually I'm pretty sure the reverse is true and I'm pretty sure the numbers aren't even in the same ballpark. I'm also reasonably sure that if all the subsidies for airports disappeared, you're not going to keep one additional public library open and I would argue that the reverse would happen in many areas. All transportation in this country is subsidized in one way or another, and for very good and valid reasons. I'm sure along the same lines you could also argue that we could feed more poor babies if we just didn't build as many expensive off ramps from the freeways to small communities, but I can't say that such an argument wouldn't be based purely on emotion rather than reason.
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leveymg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-19-09 01:58 PM
Response to Reply #86
91. Thank you for bringing several points to my attention. AIP subsidies for one.
Edited on Sat Sep-19-09 02:09 PM by leveymg
First, I was using "private airport" in the generic sense. Although, apparently, some fields getting AIP federal money really are private, in the sense they serve a handful of private pilots, hence FAA will soon be requiring AIP grant applicants to list the tailnumbers of the planes based there. Second, there's no correspondence between services offered and fuel costs. The low cost at Ft. Meade and some other DC area facilities that primarily serve the federal gov't and itsw contractors have fuel deals through DoD that effectively lowers the cost. Third, if you go to the AOPA you'll see that the demographics of private plane owners is skewed way up-market. Don't pretend otherwise. A 40 year old Jet Ranger is $300,000 and a late model used one runs $1.3 mil, so don't pretend these things aren't a seriously expensive luxury item. A decent low-hour Cessna 172 will run you $120K, and the cheapest ones that are still airworthy are about $40K. So, even dinky single-engine high wings aren't owned by people who are having problems buying groceries. Everyone's gotta drive in America, not everyone has to fly, so your argument about offramps being subsidized doesn't hold water.

Wasn't familiar with the details of AIP, so I looked it up. This is what I found, and the status quo is lots of grants, a $200 subsidy per passenger to commercial aviation, generally very low user fees (less than a movie theater ticket), and billions in federal pork for civil aviation users, and hardly a nod to whatever liberatarian ideals you may bring to this policy argument:

]U.S. House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee Holds Hearings on FAA Reauthorization Bill
Posted on February 14, 2009

The U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure has proposed H.R. 915, the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2009. Since funding authorization for aviation programs and authorization for taxes and fees that provide revenue for the FAA expired at the end of fiscal year 2007 and revenue collections and FAA programs have been extended several times (until March 31, 2009), this bill is a priority item for the FAA. What follows is a summary of the provisions of the Reauthorization Bill.

Funding & Financing

Taxes on aviation users will be increased - Passenger flight segment tax increased to $3.60; International departure and arrival taxes increased to $16.10; Alaska Hawaii facilities tax increased to $8.00.
Provides historic funding levels for the FAAs programs between 2009 and 2012, including $16.2 billion for AIP; $13.4 billion for Facilities and Equipment; $38.9 billion for operations; and $1.35 billion for Research, Engineering and Development.
Airports

Makes several modifications to the current AIP distribution formula that provide significant increases in AIP funding for smaller airports, which are particularly reliant on AIP for capital financing, as well as more AIP discretionary funding.
Increases Passenger Facility Charge from $4.50 to $7.00. This provision was strongly supported by Jim Elwood, representing the American Association of Airport Executives.

ATC Modernization and NextGen

Provides $13.4 billion for the FAA's Facilities and Equipment account.
Increases the authority and visibility of the Joint Planning and Development Office.
Requires the JPDO to develop a work plan that details, on a year-by-year basis, specific NextGen-related deliverables and milestones.
FAA wants to emphasize "infrastructure" improvements at the nations' airports, which includes a full roll-out of NextGen.
Safety

Includes several safety provisions, such as authorizing additional funds for runway incursion reduction programs and the acquisition and installation of runway status lights.
Increases the number of aviation safety inspectors and requires safety inspections of foreign repair stations at least twice a year.
Directs FAA to commence a rulemaking to ensure that covered maintenance work on air carrier aircraft is performed by part 145 repair stations or part 121 air carriers.
Creates an independent Aviation Safety Whistleblower Investigation Office within the FAA charged with receiving safety complaints and information submitted by both FAA employees and employees of certificated entities.
Directs FAA to modify its customer service initiative to remove air carriers or other entities regulated by the FAA as customers.
Adds a two-year post-service cooling off period for FAA inspectors and requires principal maintenance inspectors to rotate between airline oversight offices every five years.
Small Communities

Increases the total amount authorized for Essential Air Services each year from $127 million to $200 million.
Requires 50% of over-flight fees collected in excess of $50 million be dedicated to EAS.
Authorizes the Secretary to enter into long-term EAS contracts that would provide more stability for participating air carriers.
Reduces local share of AIP projects from 10% to 5% for economically depressed communities.
Includes several provisions to mitigate the effects of increases in aviation fuel costs by increasing the existing $200 per passenger subsidy cap.
Extends the Small Community Air Service Development Program through fiscal year 2011, at the current authorized funding level of $35 million per year.
Consumer Protections

Includes several provisions to ensure passenger needs are met including a mandate that air carriers and airports submit emergency contingency plans and detail in their plans how they allow passengers to deplane following excessive delays.
DOT is required to publicize and maintain a hotline for consumer complaints, establish an Advisory Committee for Aviation Consumer Protection, expand consumer complaints investigated, and require air carriers to report diverted and canceled flight information monthly.
DOT Inspector General is asked to report on the causes of air carrier flight delays and cancellations.
Environmental Provisions

Includes several provisions related to the environment, noise mitigation and land use initiatives, including:
An environmental mitigation pilot program;
The phasing out of noisy Stage II aircraft;
An aircraft departure queue management pilot program;
Broadened AIP eligibility to include several energy saving terminal projects; and
Requirements for the FAA to build sustainable air traffic control facilities.
Allows airport operators to reinvest the proceeds from the sale of land that an airport acquired for a noise compatibility purpose, but no longer needs for that purpose, giving priority, in descending order to:
Reinvestment in another noise compatibility project;
Environmentally-related project
Another otherwise-eligible AIP project;
Transfer to another public airport for a noise compatibility project; or
Payment to the Trust Fund.
Provides authorization for the Continuous Lower Energy, Emissions and Noise (CLEEN) Engine and Airframe Technology partnership to develop, mature and certify CLEEN engine and airframe technology for aircraft over the next 10 years.
Labor

Modifies the dispute resolution process for proposed changes to the FAA personnel management system, and replaces it with a new dispute resolution process.
Applies the new dispute resolution process to the ongoing dispute between NATCA and the FAA. That is the changes implemented by the FAA on and after July 10, 2005, would be null and void and the parties will be governed by their last mutual agreement.
Amends the Railway Labor Act to clarify that employees of an express carrier shall only be covered by the RLA if they are employed in a position that is eligible for certification under FAAs rules and they are actually performing that type of work for the express carrier.
Requires an assessment of training programs for controllers and air traffic technicians.
Requires that FAA include employee unions as stakeholders in the development and planning for NextGen.
Requires the establishment of a Task Force on Air Traffic Control Facility Conditions to determine whether employees are exposed to dangerous environmental conditions in their work place.
Requires the Secretary to establish within the FAA a working group to develop criteria and make recommendations for the realignment and consolidation of services and facilities.
Aviation Insurance

Extends requirement until September 30, 2012, that the FAA provide U.S. airlines aviation insurance from the first dollar of loss at capped premium rates, after which the requirement becomes discretionary until September 30, 2019.
After December 31, 2019, such insurance must be provided instead by airline industry-sponsored risk-sharing arrangement approved by the Secretary.

Comments Trackbacks (1)
FAA Proposes to Have Airports Include a List of Based Aircraft On All AIP Grant Applications
Posted on September 25, 2008 by Steven Taber
On September 8, 2008, the FAA published a notice in the Federal Register (73 Fed.Reg. 52074) that it is proposing to modify the standard grant application requirements that are required of a sponsor of a non-primary airport before receiving a grant under the Airport Improvement Program (AIP). This modification would require that a sponsor of a nonprimary airport submit a list of the aircraft (both fixed wing and rotary wing) that are based on the airport. The FAA invites public comments on this proposed modification. Comments must be submitted on or before October 8, 2008.

FAA believes that this information is necessary because "accurate information on based aircraft is an important element of justification for many proposed AIP projects at nonprimary airports." In addition, the FAA posits that the information regarding based aircraft "supports the airport's importance in the biennial Report to Congress - The National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS) and in the Airport Master Record."

FAA defines "based aircraft" as an "operational aircraft that is registered in the FAA Aircraft Registry that is at the airport the majority of the year." The proposal is that the FAA may require a sponsor for a nonprimary airport to include the "N-number" for each based aircraft or to update the list of based aircraft submitted with the most recent Form 5010 inspection. Unfortunately, the Notice does not provide definition of how airports are to determine which aircraft are "based aircraft." The FAA concludes the Notice by stating that it will consider a failure to provide the information "as a factor when considering a request from the airport for discretionary funding."

Comments can be sent or delivered to FAA, Airports Financial Assistance Division, APP-500, Room 619, 800 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington D.C. 20591. Comments can also be submitted electronically by clicking here and then clicking on "Send a Comment or Submission." This will take you to the Regulations.gov page for docket number FAA-2008-0972-0001.


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MajorChode Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-19-09 02:59 PM
Response to Reply #91
92. I still don't follow
First, I was using "private airport" in the generic sense.


I'm not sure how that can be "generic", and it only adds to the serious misconception that these funds only benefit specific individuals.

Second, there's no correspondence between services offered and fuel costs. The low cost at Ft. Meade and some other DC area facilities that primarily serve the federal gov't and itsw contractors have fuel deals through DoD that effectively lowers the cost.


If you think there's no connection between fuel cost and services offered, you have a very poor understanding of how FBO's work. DoD gets special pricing because they buy in large volume. Airlines do the same thing. Many FBOs do zero business with DoD and their fuel rates aren't that much different than the ones you listed. I'm not even sure what point you're trying to make with DoD. I can fly into an airport with a self serve fuel pump and tie down my own aircraft, and probably find cheap fuel. Or I can fly to an airport that has a full service FBO and they will fuel my plane, pull it into a hangar, arrange for a hotel and rental car, provide a flight planning area, provide a terminal for my passengers, etc. Almost exclusively those services are paid for with higher fuel prices and those prices have very little to do with greed. Greed generally drives them out of business.

Third, if you go to the AOPA you'll see that the demographics of private plane owners is skewed way up-market. Don't pretend otherwise. A 40 year old Jet Ranger is $300,000 and a late model used one runs $1.3 mil, so don't pretend these things aren't a seriously expensive luxury item. A decent low-hour Cessna 172 will run you $120K, and the cheapest ones that are still airworthy are about $40K. So, even dinky single-engine high wings aren't owned by people who are having problems buying groceries. Everyone's gotta drive in America, not everyone has to fly, so your argument about offramps being subsidized doesn't hold water.


Well, I'm sure one can pretend that $1.3M Bell Jet Rangers are used exclusively by the champagne and caviar crowd, but that's pretty far from reality. Mostly they are utilitarian, and for every $1.3M Bell Jet Ranger, there's probably a thousand 40 year old 172s, and perhaps more. I know dozens of pilots. I know very, very few who own their own plane outright. Most either rent, or they co-own with several people, or they join clubs with perhaps hundreds of members and a few planes, and there's more options also. Certified aircraft aren't the only option either. Thousands of people build their own.

And no, not everyone has to drive. You can walk, or take the bus, or ride a bicycle. So why do you drive? Most likely because it's the most practical means(for you at least) to accomplish your transportation goals. The same is true for airplanes and airports. So trying to compare all airplanes to luxury yachts doesn't hold water.

Wasn't familiar with the details of AIP, so I looked it up. This is what I found, and the status quo is lots of grants, a $200 subsidy per passenger to commercial aviation, generally very low user fees (less than a movie theater ticket), and billions in federal pork for civil aviation users, and hardly a nod to whatever liberatarian ideals you may bring to this policy argument:


You're right. You aren't familiar with the details of AIP. If you were, you know that the current proposals and rhetoric has to do with the airline lobby. The FAA is currently working on modernizing the entire ATC system because air carrier ops are growing at an exponential rate and the current infrastructure can't support that growth. At the same time GA is in decline. Now the airlines certainly would like GA to pay for those infrastructure improvements, but that makes about as much sense as raising the taxes on farmer Joe's tractor to pay for a new tunnel under the Hudson at a time when family farms are already going out of business. If you don't think that argument "holds water", try explaining how a ground collision avoidance system at Newark benefits someone who flies a 172.
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leveymg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-19-09 04:21 PM
Response to Reply #92
93. I think you're nit-picking a bit here.
Yes, the generic term "private airport" does convey a meaning that you may not like, and it may not be entirely accurate, but that's the word most people use.

No, I do have some notion about economies of scale and bulk buying contract savings. It's how every industry works. I only brought it up because someone else upthread made the point that he believes his avgas purchases were sufficient to cover his cost of federal airport improvements. The point of my response is that does not cover the full public costs, and offered the exammple of relatively inexpensive fuel at fields close to the VA airport that was the subject of the story. Let's not torture this too much. I don't think we fundamentally disagree on this.

As for coop and shared ownership, yes that is the norm, except for at the low and high end of the market. The fact is, though, private air travel is not simply utilitarian. It is a luxury used by a small percentage of the traveling public. Try living without a car in most places outside major cities. There is no real public transportation grid in the U.S. In part, that is because resources have been going into things like general aviation for a long time.

Basically, I have no problem with safety improvements, such as the ATC system. I am opposed to the public subsidization of new facilities that do not primatily serve commercial aviation - most general airfields are like marinas, they primarily serve those with incomes way above the mean whose use is recreational and can afford to pay a greater share of the costs.
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MajorChode Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-19-09 05:48 PM
Response to Reply #93
94. So now correcting gross inaccuracies is "nit-picking"?
Yes, the generic term "private airport" does convey a meaning that you may not like, and it may not be entirely accurate, but that's the word most people use.


Public and private kind of mean the exact opposite of each other, so lets not pretend it's close enough, OK? Claiming private airports receive AIP funding is quite ignorant at the very best and intentionally misleading at worst.

No, I do have some notion about economies of scale and bulk buying contract savings. It's how every industry works. I only brought it up because someone else upthread made the point that he believes his avgas purchases were sufficient to cover his cost of federal airport improvements. The point of my response is that does not cover the full public costs, and offered the exammple of relatively inexpensive fuel at fields close to the VA airport that was the subject of the story. Let's not torture this too much. I don't think we fundamentally disagree on this.


That's not the only assertion you tried to make. You made a couple of other assertions that I couldn't go along with regarding how "greedy" FBO's are financed. The price of fuel is completely irrelevant anyway to the AIP because the fuel tax is per gallon and not based on a percentage of the cost.

As for coop and shared ownership, yes that is the norm, except for at the low and high end of the market. The fact is, though, private air travel is not simply utilitarian. It is a luxury used by a small percentage of the traveling public. Try living without a car in most places outside major cities. There is no real public transportation grid in the U.S. In part, that is because resources have been going into things like general aviation for a long time.


You're simply overstating the luxury aspect and understating the utilitarian aspect. It's like trying to claim the intercoastal waterway is primarily used for yachtsmen or the federal highway system is primarily used by people going on vacation. Even if you could possibly ground all the non-commercial GA flights, the AIP funding of small airports would still be completely viable. You still get a great return for a small investment. Aviation as a whole is subsidized in the US because business depends on it. The return on that investment is large enough to completely justify it. It doesn't matter if a family of four is getting their American Airlines trip to Grandma's house subsidized because there's probably more than a few businessmen on the same flight that are helping to keep our economy moving. The same thing happens with GA. A businessman can hop on a King Air and cover all his business interests in an entire state in a few days vs the weeks it would take him without GA. Thousands of other businesses work the same way. Ask any chamber of commerce how they like their local airport and I doubt you'd get too many negative responses. In fact, there's numerous articles on the praises that local airports have on a community for reasons that have nothing to do with local airmen. As a result, jobs are created not just in the big cities, but in the rural areas as well. So a local airport is just exactly like an exit off the freeway, and that's the part of the concept that you either can't or refuse to grasp. And the costs for those subsidies are minuscule, especially when you compare the return on that investment. If you really want to be so indignant over government subsidies, there's far better places to look.

Basically, I have no problem with safety improvements, such as the ATC system. I am opposed to the public subsidization of new facilities that do not primatily serve commercial aviation - most general airfields are like marinas, they primarily serve those with incomes way above the mean whose use is recreational and can afford to pay a greater share of the costs.


You don't have a problem with other subsidies because it's easier for you to understand how you directly benefit from it. What you don't seem to be able to understand is how you and others directly and indirectly benefit from GA. You simply want to view it from the limited aspect of some rich guy enjoying his vacations on a private jet, so you let your emotions take over. Any other discussion that doesn't focus on that exclusively you dismiss completely. Your statement that "most general airfields are like marinas" only reveals your ignorance, which is perhaps willful. That was the entire purpose of the USAToday hit piece and it worked brilliantly.

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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-19-09 05:59 PM
Response to Reply #82
95. I agree with you 100%
Good post
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anigbrowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-21-09 12:49 PM
Response to Reply #82
105. "Most people who own their own planes are either corporate execs or own their own companies."
No, I don't know that. Some of them are, and others are pilots for hire. I don't know what the breakdown is, and frankly I'm too lazy to do a ton of research about it; I just disagree with a lot of the shallow characterizations and knee-jerk responses to this story, which I think is rather poorly researched. The more I have learned about the general aviation, the less the tax on commercial passenger flying bothers me. YMMV.
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Dr_Willie_Feelgood Donating Member (129 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-19-09 06:04 AM
Response to Reply #51
83. I am suprised no one has suggested busting...
...a cap in them. That seems to be becoming a common refrain around here.

And that is sad.

Will we EVER get to a point where people decide the answer lies more with lifting people up than tearing people down?

We don't need to cut the pie into more and more pieces. We need to start baking more pies.
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MajorChode Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-19-09 12:54 PM
Response to Reply #83
87. I'm not sure I can follow your analogy
However, there is a very pervasive attitude on DU that if you can possibly associate something with anyone who might be "rich", then it MUST be a bad thing which MUST be eliminated because as we all know, money is always evil. If we have to cut off the hand that feeds us in the process, so be it.

The sooner you learn and embrace that ideology, the better experience you will have on DU.
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asdjrocky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:58 AM
Response to Original message
3. Wow.
Every morning I wake up and find yet another reason why rich people run the world and they get all the breaks. Just wow.
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redqueen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 10:58 AM
Response to Original message
4. Well there's an opportunity to save the taxpayers some money.
Thanks for the post...
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:00 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. 15 fugging billion
This stinks
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 02:53 PM
Response to Reply #5
48. compare that $$, which serves a literal few handfuls of people, to the federal
Edited on Fri Sep-18-09 02:53 PM by Hannah Bell
requests this year for:

head start: 7.3 billion
wic (women, infants & children): 7.7 billion


http://docs.google.com/gview?a=v&q=cache:XnhVsFJo3skJ:w...

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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 06:28 PM
Response to Reply #48
59. And the taxes from from the tickets of ordinary people
It's BS.
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MajorChode Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 07:40 PM
Response to Reply #48
63. apples and oranges
The $15 billion figure is NOT for 1 year. The entire FAA budget for one year is barely over $15 billion.
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liberal N proud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:02 AM
Response to Original message
6. Where are the teabaggers and their faux outrage over this?
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redqueen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:06 AM
Response to Reply #6
9. They haven't received any orders from any millionaires to be outraged yet.
If and only if one of their millionaire pundits / lobbyist groups tells them to be outraged will they make a peep about it.
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Ignis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 04:40 PM
Response to Reply #9
54. Yep, this. (nt)
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Kermitt Gribble Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:28 AM
Response to Reply #6
15. Read the comments.
Some are already defending the rich people who benefit from this.
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Blue_Tires Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:12 PM
Response to Reply #6
26. +1000
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gmoney Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:21 PM
Response to Reply #6
31. lots of the teabagger leaders are private pilots...
Boortz is always going on and on about it.

They do serve legitimate business purposes, and sometimes humanitarian purposes (transporting patients or transplant organs), in addition to being playgrounds for the wealthy.

But they shouldn't be so heavily subsidized, especially now that the network is established. Cut the taxes on commercial fliers, or at least direct the tax to other mass transit projects.
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MajorChode Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 10:49 PM
Response to Reply #31
76. Lots of Democrats are also private pilots
Edited on Fri Sep-18-09 10:50 PM by MajorChode
But I'm not sure what your point is even if there weren't. Are we now to penalize people strictly for their political affiliations?

GA isn't heavily subsidized and it certainly isn't subsidized by ticket taxes. The lion's share of AIP funds go to airports that serve air carriers. The AIP doesn't come close to covering all of the FAA's budget, so the rest comes right out of the general fund. So the money that comes from GA's fuel taxes may not quite cover the costs of non-air carrier airports that receive funds from the AIP, but the AIP isn't covering all of the air carrier airports either. The reality that you don't get from the hit job USAToday article is that both are subsidized from the general fund to some degree (and almost certainly more so on the air carrier side). Naturally the airlines want to shift more of that burden to GA and that's the only side USAToday bothered to ask.

The reality is that ALL transportation in the US is subsidized from busses to cars to airlines to trains. Some smart feller figured out a long time ago that subsidizing transportation gives you a lot bigger return than your outlay and GA is no exception to that rule.

edit:sp
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TxRider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 06:04 PM
Response to Reply #6
40. They are griping about it too, but only about Murtha's airport...

" JOHNSTOWN, Pennsylvania (CNN) -- Located outside a small Pennsylvania city, John Murtha airport may not see many passengers. But it's seen plenty of arrivals of tax dollars from Washington, most recently economic stimulus funds.

Democratic Rep. John Murtha says it's his job to direct federal funds to his district in Pennsylvania.

The airport offers three commercial flights. In between the arrivals and departures, airport officials admit there are few faces around the facility.

"When the flights are coming in, there are people. Other than that, it's empty," said Scott Voelker, manager of the John Murtha Johnstown-Cambria County Airport.

But one face is everywhere. Rep. John Murtha, the airport's namesake, is hard to miss.

Considered one of "the kings of pork" on Capitol Hill by taxpayer watchdog groups, the 19th-term Pennsylvania Democrat has piloted almost $200 million from Washington to Murtha airport. Much of the funding has come in the form of legislative earmarks that are attached to bills before Congress.

Taxpayer watchdogs have said earmarks -- often derided as "pork-barrel" spending -- are designed to fund congressional pet projects.

" dumped in nearly $200 million into this project that has virtually no passengers. It's practically a museum piece," said Steve Ellis with the Taxpayers for Common Sense....

....Murtha airport's manager said taxpayer money is going to waste at his facility, but not on the runway project.

He points to an unstaffed $8 million air traffic radar system installed in 2004.

"It's been sitting over there, and that radar has been spinning for all those years with no purpose. Just sitting there," Voelker said. "


http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/04/23/murtha.airport /

Sad part is my father probably installed that radar system...
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GodlyDemocrat Donating Member (388 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 05:21 PM
Response to Reply #6
98. I think they are griping about it, but only after Obama became President
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SammyWinstonJack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:03 AM
Response to Original message
8. Ya know, I never used to hate rich people.
:grr:
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LeftHandPath Donating Member (222 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:11 AM
Response to Original message
10. Plenty of money for this crap... and war...
But nothing for education, the poor, or health care.

I say we tear the whole thing down and start over.
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imdjh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:13 AM
Response to Original message
11. I'll bet the excuses are fabulous. "Former military pilots stay in practice and licensure" or simila
r to that.

Whenever people complain about the excessive use of military aircraft to haul about "important" people, the military always says it's no additional expense because those pilots need to log a certain number of hours to stay in practice or something.
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Desertrose Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:16 AM
Response to Original message
12. Sounds more like a capitalist bailout/giveaway to me.
Take care of the rich and screw everyone else. Doesn't sound much like socialism to me.


We need to get the bought & paid for Congresspeople OUT and some people in who give a shit about the average person.
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Romulox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:16 AM
Response to Original message
13. Isn't this is microcosm of how our government works...nt
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mopinko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:27 AM
Response to Original message
14. when ritchie daley tore up meigs field, you would have thought he
had murdered mother theresa. everybody wants to see a dem with a spine. but when one shows up, he is decried as a bully and a thug. that was years ago, and to this day when i stick up for my mayor, even among dems, meigs field will be one of the first couple of reasons they will give for hating him. (dems who hate our dem mayor, i could write a book.) trust me, threaten any of these airports, and you will kick up a dust storm that will ruin you eyesight.

and conversely, children's memorial hospital here has been working on plans to replace its existing hodge podge of a hospital with an efficient 21st century one. this is the hospital of last resort for the poor in chicago, and illinois. it is also a place where some of the most flippin' amazing medical feats are performed.
they have the money, they have the land, they have the resources. guess why they are not building? the (very rich) people in the neighborhood where they want to build have them tied up in court, objecting to the helicopter pad.

got it? teenie airstrip for fat cats, good. heliport for critically ill and injured children? bad thing.
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:29 AM
Response to Reply #14
16. They will always find excuses to provide massive subsidies
for those with the least needs.
People will snap one of these days.
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mopinko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:34 AM
Response to Reply #16
17. the children's hospital thing is waking up some people, i think.
most of the rich here are democrats. but there is a growing cancer of rethuglicans, and this is the zipcode where most of them live.
:puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke: :puke:
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friendly_iconoclast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 06:35 PM
Response to Reply #17
100. If Richie Daley wanted CMH to be built, it would be
The man makes the late Robert Moses look like a flower child.

Since it is not a potential Olympics venue, and the fact that the Feds will want to see where the money they will
be chipping in for its' construction is actually *going*, he isn't interested.

BTW, the medevac helicopters that would use the CMH helipad would probably be based at a GA airport.

The ones that fly to and from the large hospitals in the Boston area use Norwood as a base, not
Logan or Hanscom. High speed jet traffic and helicopters don't get along too well...
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madrchsod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:34 AM
Response to Original message
18. close all the small airports across the country.
close all the regional airports that have under a 100 flights per day. expand the airports such as o`hare,jfk,lax, atlanta, and other mega airports across the country.

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surrealAmerican Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:02 PM
Response to Reply #18
23. I have no objection to the existence of small airports.
They do serve to reduce traffic at already over-used major airports. The point is these places could exist without subsidies. The owners of the planes that use them are quite capable of paying their own way.
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madrchsod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:10 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. i know..i`m being sarcastic
we have a airport that during the 60`s was used everyday by a company and a lot of small aircraft. today there`s less than 5 a week. there`s a bigger airport less than ten air miles from this airport. that airport does have daily traffic.
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populistdriven Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:11 PM
Response to Reply #23
25. yes, people are under the mistaken impression that 1$ = 1 VOTE
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Dr_Willie_Feelgood Donating Member (129 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-19-09 06:10 AM
Response to Reply #23
84. There is a good safety function for them as well
We need places other than highways for planes to make an emergency landing
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readmoreoften Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:45 AM
Response to Original message
20. Socialism is egalitarian rule by the working class. What you've noted is capitalism at its finest.
Stealing money from the working class to fund the rich is not socialism. It's the very function of the capitalist state.
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:14 PM
Response to Reply #20
29. Very good point
Edited on Thu Sep-17-09 12:14 PM by malaise
and the capitalist state sure knows how to share out taxpayers' money to the rich.

gr
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 11:51 AM
Response to Original message
21. This is why OUR infrastrucure has been left to rot
The super rich don't use it. They have bribed officials to create an entire parallel infrastructure so that they never have to see the rabble and certainly never have to associate with it.

The private jets whisk them from private airport (built with our money) to private airport and helicopters whisk them home or to visit someone else's home. Only the servants have to risk the potholed roads and iffy bridges.

Instead of jouncing over the bad roads to restaurants, they hire the chef for an evening. Instead of shopping, they have private showings. Instead of hotels, they have multiple pleasure palaces here and abroad. If they get sick enough to need advanced life support, off to a VIP wing in a major city they go.

These people have systematically looted everything in this country, not just our wages. There's a very good reason the infrastructure sucks. They refused to pay to repair it.
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:01 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. 100% correct
Why are taxes from airline tickets being used to subsidize the rich?
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jljamison Donating Member (125 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:21 PM
Response to Reply #21
30. From a pilot

Just be aware of one thing - that county's decision to waive property taxes on airplanes has really nothing to do with how general aviation is funded in this country. The county is making a decision about tax waivers just as many do to attract businesses into a region to create jobs. I don't like it either. But make no mistake, I pay property taxes on my 24 year old airplane, which go to the state (CA)/county (San Mateo). My 1/4 share is $360 or so each year.

But as far as airport funding goes, FAA funding comes from taxes on tickets as well as fuel taxes on aviation fuel. Just like every article on aviation I've read, particularly about accidents, this one has glaring errors in it.

The article implies that a typical aircraft consumes $2.87 in fuel for one hour of flight. Wow I only wish. Aviation fuel taxes average 27.2 cents per gallon (wikipedia) for state and 45.6 cents per gallon federal, for a grand total of 72.8 cents per gallon. Aviation fuel prices vary widely but are much higher than that. I have a receipt from 8/30 that shows $4.59 per gallon for 30 gallons. Those 30 gallons were used for about 3 hours of flight (10 gallons per hour). So for my 2 takeoffs and 2 landings, for a flight between a towered airport (San Carlos) and an untowered one (Nervino, outside Portola, CA) I paid about $22 in taxes. I don't think that is a gift.

had I driven instead, I would have paid 63.9 cents of auto gas tax on about 37 gallons of gas, or about $23 in taxes.

Most general aviation aircraft, especially corporate jets, use more fuel than my airplane (mooney 201). So a twin engine King Air would probably use 50 to 60 gallons per hour (but get there somewhat quicker). If two hours roundtrip, about $73 in taxes.

Closing general aviation airports would increase congestion at carrier airports. Just like a lot of government agencies, there is a lot of stuff the FAA does which is indefensible, and you might find a lot of it originates from earmarks to politicians. However, it just isn't true that general aviation funding is some kind of gift to the wealthy.

Lots of people don't think general aviation is worth the money. Then one of us Angel Flight volunteers flies them from a convenient local airport to a treatment center hundreds of miles away, saving them the expense and hassle of commercial flight, even if available.

In conclusion, I can only think that county had some thought process like, if we give a property tax waiver to a small/medium sized business on their corporate jet, they might decide to locate their business here instead of some other place (which has lower tax rates, or no taxes as part of a waiver), and thus we get their jobs and economic activity. Whether it works out in the end as a net benefit for the local community is really a matter for their voters to decide. But again, that kind of thing has nothing to do with general aviation funding.
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 05:07 PM
Response to Reply #30
36. Why should ordinary people's airline ticket taxes
be spent in this way. The public's taxes should be used for the public good not private airports. This cannot be justified.
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anigbrowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 05:29 PM
Response to Reply #36
38. They're not private airports, anyone can land there
I agree with the poster above. This article is full of BS - there are a lot more regular people flying small planes than there are super-rich zipping around in their super-jets. These small airports are like small car parks, just as a city might contain some publicly-owned car parks as well as a bus terminal where cars are not welcome and would get in the way.
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 07:20 PM
Response to Reply #38
61. no, "regular folks" don't fly planes. the upper middle to super-rich do.
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MajorChode Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 07:43 PM
Response to Reply #61
64. Hogwash
There are 400,000 pilots in the US. If you think only the rich and upper middle fly planes, you've never been to a GA airport.
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 09:10 PM
Response to Reply #64
67. According to a report at the end of 2006,
there were 236,148 private pilots in the US. Out of 300 million Americans, that means less than 1/10th of 1 percent of all Americans are private pilots. Welcome to a very elite club.

Why arent there more pilots, you ask? Well, typical answers range from cost of leaning to fly to personal time commitments. These are valid reasons, of course. Did you know that only 30% of student pilots ever earn their private pilots license? Thats not a lot. In fact, thats less than 1 out of 3. The reasons for this are not really known, but one can imagine that the cost of learning to fly would be a paramount answer.

http://www.flyanything.com/Ground_School_At_KLNS.htm



Private pilots = about the same # of people as in Jersey City, & i'd lay good money every one has income & property above the US median, & the majority, significantly above.
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 09:35 PM
Response to Reply #67
72. "I started flying in 1996," said Jim Mokler,
commercial real estate broker/developer with Realtec Commercial Real Estate Services in Fort Collins. "I had an early passion to fly airplanes. When I arrived at my 40s, I said, 'Hey, now I can afford this.'


**


Larry Edwards, who owns both a 1978 Beechcraft Bonanza A-36 and The Light Center in Fort Collins, started flying in 1967.

"I opened The Light Center in 1971 and got my pilot's license in 1975," he said. "I have flown to jobs in Steamboat, Nebraska and Wyoming. I really like the flexibility it gives me. You can make a trip in a couple of hours that would take at least three times that long in a car."

**

"I am strictly a recreational pilot," said Martin Lind, president of Water Valley in Windsor. "I am not instrument rated because I am not interested in dealing with weather. I flew a small experimental airplane that we just sold. In my turbo-prop plane, I sit in the right seat and let the command captain do the flying."

**

So if flying small aircraft is so safe and transcendent, why is the number of pilots declining?



Costs, new rules add up

First of all, buying a plane (after spending $5,000 for training and a minimum of 40 hours in the air) is like buying a horse. The sticker price might not look prohibitive, but the care and feeding can be.

"If you can just barely afford a plane, don't get it. You can't afford the maintenance," said Gerald Gates, owner of Bob Gates Aviation at the Loveland/Fort Collins Municipal Airport. "You can buy a 1980 Cessna 152 for $24,000. But that's just the beginning."

"You have to have a purpose for flying," he said. "I use my plane for regional real estate work and can write off the associated airplane expenses. It's a transportation tool. I helped McDonald's set up all their locations in Wyoming."

Edwards used his plane for jobs in Steamboat, Nebraska and Wyoming.

"It's also a good way to go to meetings," he said.

**

Alan has a private pilots license and owns a Cessna 185. He uses the airplane frequently when the company is doing land-clearing jobs all over the state and in Maryland and New York. The family also has used it to fly on vacations to the Western U.S. and the Bahamas.


I fly back and forth quite a bit to save time, Alan said. He has been flying for 11 years and is on the board of the Mifflin County Airport Authority.


My interest grew out of my hiring of another individual to fly me to a few jobs, he added. I saw how quickly he could arrive at the jobs say a half-hour in the air compared to the three hours of driving it would take. Sometimes well have a job going on in the Pittsburgh area and another in Allentown in the eastern part of the state. I can visit both jobs in one day when I fly whereas before it would have taken me two days.

**

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MajorChode Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 09:36 PM
Response to Reply #67
73. Once again you are simply regurgitating information you know little about
Edited on Fri Sep-18-09 10:22 PM by MajorChode
There's a huge number of commercial pilots also, myself included, and you also have over a hundred thousand air transport pilots. What's the difference between a commercial pilot and a private pilot? Pretty much a 1.2 hour check ride with an FAA designated examiner. The lion's share of commercial pilots (and even a great number of ATPs) never exercise the commercial privileges of their rating.

There's actually over 600,000 certificated pilots in the US, but many of those aren't active, so 400,000 is just a guess, but a reasonable one.

As I said, if you think pilots are all rich guys, you've never been to a GA airport.

And even if your unfounded bet were true, and I seriously doubt it is, that would mean they are also paying significantly more federal taxes. And none of that addresses the return on investment that GA provides which I'm sure you're also equally ignorant. Along the same lines, if you think a strict system of fee for service is a great idea, you'd make a great libertarian. In Europe they thought GA was just for rich guys too so they adopted an expansive fee for service system and privatized air traffic control. Now their entire aviation industry is dying from the bottom up and it has cost them more than they can ever imagine.

Edit:sp
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me b zola Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 11:06 PM
Response to Reply #67
78. Good post
Money and connections to people who have it are the largest obstacles in earning a pilots license. My understanding is that once you pass the instructed class, you then need to log tons of hours that are not included in your school tuition, with a licensed pilot in an approved plane. I have heard several people say that getting access to a plane and a willing pilot for these hours is quite difficult=lots of money and/or the good fortune to have access (friends) with the money.
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MajorChode Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 11:48 PM
Response to Reply #78
79. The same can be said for any job that requires school or training
If you're trying to earn a living with a pilot's certificate, you face an uphill battle because there's no shortage of people wanting to do so.

For just a recreational certificate(sport pilot) you need as few as 20 hours in the aircraft. For the written test you can download all the study materials from the FAA's web site and take the test for about $100. Even if you do it in a brand new aircraft it can cost as little as $3,000 for the instructor, hours, fuel, materials, and everything else.
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neverforget Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-19-09 01:07 PM
Response to Reply #61
88. I'm a student pilot. My wife and I both work, have a mortgage and a 5 year old
girl in kindergarten. We are not rich as we barely make $70,000/year in Portland. I am saving money to finish my private pilot certificate. This is something I have always wanted to do. And what's more, the pilots I have met and know are not rich. They are people like me who have fallen in love with flying and have paid their own way for training and their own plane. Most don't even own their own plane but rent them from FBO's. I am a regular folk who works for a living. Please stop with the broad brush generalizations.
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Hannah Bell Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 05:15 PM
Response to Reply #88
96. $70K = higher than US median household or family income.
In 2007, the median annual household income rose 1.3% to $50,233.00. Yours = roughly top 25%.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_income_in_the_Un...




2009 Portland median income for 4-person family = $70K. Three-person family = $63K.

http://www.pdc.us/housing_services/resources/median_fam...

2009 Oregon median income, 3 person family = $55K

http://www.ocpp.org/cgi-bin/display.cgi?page=2009povmed...


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neverforget Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-21-09 11:26 AM
Response to Reply #96
101. I guess I should take a pay cut.
:eyes:
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TxRider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-21-09 11:52 AM
Response to Reply #21
102. General aviation airports ARE "our" infrastructure.
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myrna minx Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:14 PM
Response to Original message
27. K&R n/t
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Blue_Tires Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:14 PM
Response to Original message
28. time for a law revision...
or simply cut off the funding...
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ChairmanAgnostic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:22 PM
Response to Original message
32. Egegick Airport, Alaska, got 9,500,000
and registered 0 flights for the year.

ZERO NIL NADA NOTHING NONE 0

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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:24 PM
Response to Reply #32
33. Did the drug planes land and not register?
Nothing else makes sense!! :evilgrin:
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yurbud Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:32 PM
Response to Original message
34. and the rich always claim they aren't using public services...
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:57 PM
Response to Reply #34
35. They're about to discuss this on GEM$NBC
after the break
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ddeclue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 05:36 PM
Response to Original message
39. As a general aviation pilot I could make the same argument about highways and privately owned cars
or harbor facilities for people who own boats.

General aviation serves as a training ground for both civillian and military pilots and serves general transportation, natural resource protection and humanitarian needs as well.

These airports often times provide close access for a national emergency response to smaller communities in the event of fighting wild fires and other natural disasters.

They also serve law enforcement and air ambulance purposes too.

Those who think that general aviation is just about the guys flying Gulfstream V's are really clueless about general aviation.

A good used Cessna 172 can be had for the price of a decent new car between 25,000 and 35,000.

Not everyone who flies these planes is a multimillionaire, indeed in places like Alaska, there really isn't an alternative to general aviation.

This OP is just an unjustified bashing of General Aviation.
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TxRider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 10:19 AM
Response to Reply #39
45. In truth, this is actually the airlines going after more of your money....
As most of these funds come from tax on airline tickets, to support small regional airports. It has since the end of WWII.

The airlines want to defund general aviation, close small airports, and pocket that 15% airline ticket tax themselves....

Careful what you get up in arms about.
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ddeclue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 02:51 PM
Response to Reply #45
47. Ummm NO small airports are funded by taxes on Avgas.
NOT by taxes on airline tickets - those go to pay customs and bomeland security enforcement.

I have every right to get up in arms about people who know nothing about general aviation or the value it contributes to society and then proceed to ignorantly bash it.
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TxRider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 03:50 PM
Response to Reply #47
50. True avgas tax also goes to that purpose, but it is miniscule in comparison
Edited on Fri Sep-18-09 03:51 PM by TxRider
The amount of funding through avgas tax is minuscule in comparison

"The Airport Improvement Program is a United States federal grant program that provides funds to airports to help improve safety and efficiency. Improvement projects relate to runways, taxiways, ramps, lighting, signage, weather stations, NAVAIDs, land acquisition, and some areas of planning. The money is raised through taxes on airplane tickets sold to the public.<1>

Funds under the program go to the airports used by airlines to offer scheduled passenger service, and to general-aviation airports with no scheduled passenger flights. As of 2009, the latter category includes 2,834 airports.<1> That component of the program has been criticized: "Critics say the number of subsidized airports with no commercial flights is excessive at a time when larger airports are struggling to deal with delays in air traffic, and that much of the money the general-aviation airports get benefits only a few private pilots."<1>"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airport_Improvement_Progra...

Only a portion of ticket taxes goes to security screening.
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ddeclue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 04:31 PM
Response to Reply #50
52. No you fail to understand that huge airports like Hartsfield and O'Hare
get funded through those passenger taxes and cost a lot more to run than some converted WWII training field that has 20 flights a day.

The AvGas funding MORE than pays for the upkeep of the airports in question - indeed the money has been going into a trust fund which for many years the Congress won't spend because it would make the deficit look worse.

General Aviation more than pays its own way and the OP here is just engaging in fact free bashing and is lumping in GulfStream V's with Cessna 172's making no distinctions at all - this thread really is idiotically ill informed.
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TxRider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 06:33 PM
Response to Reply #52
60. From my understanding it does not
Edited on Fri Sep-18-09 06:36 PM by TxRider
Last figures I could find for the Airport improvement fund... Year 2002 in millions

Ticket Tax...........................$ 5,759
Segment Charge.......................$ 2,072
Cargo Waybill Tax....................$ 590
Commercial Fuel Tax..................$ 696
GA Fuel Tax..........................$ 207
International Departure/Arrival Tax..$1,258
Frequent Flyer Tax...................$ 151

sub total:...........................$ 10,733
Trust Fund Interest4.................$ 941
Total Trust Fund Revenue.............$ 11,674

GA Fuel tax I assume gas+jet = 207 million out of 10.7 billion.

GA airports are generally what, 15-17% of AIP spending? Or about 1.6 billion.

Where am I in error? Have those ratios changed since 2002?
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MajorChode Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 07:37 PM
Response to Reply #60
62. Here's the part you're missing
I have no idea how they are dividing up the fuel tax between commercial and GA. Much of the commercial IS GA. The FAA isn't funded 100% by the AIP anyway, so one could use the same argument for people riding around in air carrier jets. As far as I know the AIP funding for GA airports has never exceeded $1.2 billion and some of those airport may actually have some air carrier traffic.

Quite a few of those GA airports are also reliever airports for hubs and other major air carrier fields and they eat up a considerable amount of the AIP budget because they have to conform to ICAO standards for air carriers. So even though air carriers use them very infrequently, they still need them.

The USA today article was a hack piece. I see they consulted with Marion Blakey (aka Flakey Blakey), the Bush appointee as FAA administrator who had zero aviation experience and wasn't even a pilot.
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TxRider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 07:47 PM
Response to Reply #62
65. Commercial is charter and airlines.
Edited on Fri Sep-18-09 07:49 PM by TxRider
I agree with you, the NAS system in the U.S, is unique in the world.

We need to keep it as it is.

My point was that Airlines would like the billions in the ticket taxes to go in their pockets.

To do so they have to demonize the AIP and have it destroyed, or at least drastically changed.

So they push these stories of GA airfields as pork for the rich. They actually serve a much wider purpose for the general public.

But Avgas tax doesn't even come close to paying the bill.
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MajorChode Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 09:06 PM
Response to Reply #65
66. Ticket taxes don't come close to funding air carrier ops either
There's about a 50% deficit between the FAA budget and the AIP, so Joe taxpayer is subsidizing air carrier ops also. I suppose if you believe in the fee for service bullshit that the political right loves so much, this is wrong, but if you actually have more than a couple of synapses actively firing and you can consider the overall benefits that aviation as a whole (including GA) offers to everyone the price is small compared to what is gained in return.

It's very hard to say if the aviation fuel tax is covering the bill for non-air carrier ops. Air carrier airports of various categories make up about 1/3rd of the airports that receive AIP funds and they take the lion's share of the money. I suspect that if there is a differential, it's quite small and probably less than the differential associated with what air carriers contribute.
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TxRider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 09:27 PM
Response to Reply #66
70. Not to mention bonds... etc.. yeah yeah
It was 30% from general fund last I saw over AIP funding.

I like our aviation system just like it is, as far as I know we are the only country on earth where basically every town even rural ones has an airfield close by that the general public can use.

Not to mention the utility these fields serve in emergencies etc.

But the majority here seems to think of them as rich man's welfare, what's a guy to do? And the airlines want to repeal the tax so they can pocket it, it's not a pretty picture for GA.
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MajorChode Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 10:01 PM
Response to Reply #70
75. The benefits are incalculable
I know someone just a few days ago that was severely burned when an HVAC he was working on exploded. He was in Brownsville, TX and they took him via Airvac to Parkland in Dallas where he spent days in ICU. Without a GA airport in Brownsville he probably would have died.

There's also all sorts of other businesses that greatly benefit the community like aerial applicators, check haulers, box haulers, lab test haulers, etc. All of these things reduce the costs of hundreds of other things like food, banking, medical, and priority shipments. Not to mention the jobs it creates and the other industries it benefits.
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lonestarnot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 09:20 AM
Response to Original message
42. Wealthcare, not healthcare slugs never cease to amaze.
:puke: K & R!
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sofa king Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 09:26 AM
Response to Original message
43. My area recently had a dust-up over a tiffany airport.
Turns out that there are more rich people who don't fly around here than there are who do. The flying rich wanted to be able to fly into their little airport whenever they wanted. The driving rich decided the noise was a nuisance, and restricted the hours the airport could be used to a couple hours a day, which effectively closed it.

All this took place in the upper Shenandoah Valley (upper = southern), which, when the atmospheric conditions are right, roars all day long to the sound of dozens of passenger planes flying down the Blue Ridge along a major north-south traffic route. Navy aircraft practice terrain avoidance through here at least once every week, and that gets really loud, especially when the VMI grads fly over the campus at about 150 feet. The medical evacuation helicopters are in daily use. Oh, and there's a major interstate that caters mostly to 18 wheeler traffic, and their howls can be heard from the mountaintops. There's even a guy who wanders around mornings and evenings on a powered paraglider.

So the valley ain't exactly quiet. But someone doesn't want those planes flying in for alumni and party weekends. Sounds like a personal problem to me.
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Gin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 09:40 AM
Response to Reply #43
44. I wanna be rich!
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Quantess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 05:36 PM
Response to Original message
57. Not socialism.
It's welfare for the rich.
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MajorChode Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 09:15 PM
Response to Original message
68. Ah yes, USAToday. Now there's a beacon of journalistic integrity
Sorry folks, if you think this piece of journalistic trash even comes close to being objective, you're mistaken.

Practically everyone that contributed to the article has a stake in the air carrier industry or is anti-GA. They interviewed the CEO of ATA which is the mouthpiece of the airlines and they also interviewed Flakey Blakey who was appointed by Bush as head of the FAA with zero aviation experience and who now works for the airline industry to the tune of millions. But did they check with the head of EAA or the AOPA or the NBAA to get the other side of the story? Nope, you only get one side of the story with the USAToday. That's why they are nothing more than union-busting rag that isn't fit to line birdcages.
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 09:21 PM
Response to Reply #68
69. Interesting
Thanks for another perspective.
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TxRider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 09:29 PM
Response to Reply #69
71. Take a little time and read up on the AOPA web site
What he says is true.
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Taverner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-18-09 10:50 PM
Response to Original message
77. Vanity Fair has an excellent piece written by Tom Wolfe on the subject
Trust me - read it
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-19-09 05:48 AM
Response to Reply #77
81. Will do
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SharonAnn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-19-09 01:09 PM
Response to Reply #81
89. Oooh, that's a great article at that link. Love me some Tom Wolfe!
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-19-09 01:11 PM
Response to Reply #89
90. Yep that was very good
:hi:
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TreasonousBastard Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-19-09 01:01 AM
Response to Original message
80. I'm not a pilot but did make my living out of general aviation for three years
and spent a lot of time at jetports all over the Northeast.

Articles like this are just trying to stir shit. GA is heavily subsidized, just like everything else in the country, and serve a lot of purposes other than keeping billionaires out of security lines at O'Hare.

Yes, the wealthy do use these airports, and probably disporportionately so. And even those old Pipers still running aren't necessary in the strictest sense. But, these airports do take a lot of stress off of the major airports, are necessary for emergencies, are often part of Air National Guard facilities, and cost less than what we spend on lakes, streams and fisheries so other people can have fun with their waterskis and bass boats.

Should we spend the same on feeding the poor and all the other straw arguments brought up to trash this sort of spending? Sure, and we should be able to do both.



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MajorChode Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Sep-19-09 12:14 PM
Response to Reply #80
85. It's not even in the same ballpark really
You can't compare GA airports to purely recreational activities. Although certainly some people use them for that, they are much, much more.

In rural communities, a local airport is just as important as an exit off the freeway. Many large businesses that do business in rural areas look to the local airports as their access point. If there is no airport, they are likely to go somewhere else. So for a very small investment (minuscule in the scheme of the entire nation) there is a huge return. Add that to everything else I've mentioned and you start to realize these airports are more about utility than recreation.
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GodlyDemocrat Donating Member (388 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 05:19 PM
Response to Original message
97. This is one failure of transportation spending as stimulus
The stimulus bill has us improving airports in Alaska. Why?
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Hangingon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Sep-20-09 06:01 PM
Response to Original message
99. Don't forget Murtha's airstrip
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billyclem Donating Member (137 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-21-09 12:26 PM
Response to Original message
103. For those in heavily populated areas
Take a nice drive some weekend out to the less populated areas and visit a few small GA airports. One airstrip, a light beacon, a windsock and a small building with some radios is not a luxury facility. There are some that are receiving a lot of federal funds to buildup out of proportion to traffic; but, they are a very small percentage and are near the population centers.

The small GA airports receive much of their operating funds from tie-down/hanger fees from aircraft owners. And before there are more rants about rich airplane owners here is a point for you to ponder, 75% of the GA aircraft in service were built by the owners. I have built three. It takes a lot of time and dedication but it costs less than a car. I am retired and far from rich.

For those near wilderness or other wild areas, when you hear about a search being conducted for someone, at what type of airport do you think we volunteer pilots gather to organize for the search?

:hi:
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kestrel91316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-21-09 12:33 PM
Response to Original message
104. Most the airplanes that fly in and out of GA facilities are single engine
(propeller) Cessnas and Pipers and such, IIRC. Hardly what the hoi polloi fly around in. They are the planes that The Little People start out in aviation in.

My dad used to fly Cessnas and teach flying, when he wasn't flying jets in the Air Force. He supplemented his income that way, IIRC. Not bad for a kid from a dirt poor ranch family in NV in the Depression.

We were middle class, but we got to fly in private planes because of GA airports.
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