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Aviation User Fees are One More Bad Idea to Lower the Deficit

User fees in aviation seem to be the bad idea that will never go away.  For as long as I have been associated with aviation I have heard talk of user fees hitting the industry.  The current proposal from the White House calls for a $100 per-flight fee to help lower the federal deficit.

For those not familiar with the industry that may not seem like a huge deal, and it isn’t, for the major airlines who will simply pass on the fee to their customers which works out to practically nothing per passenger.  For general aviation users $100 could easily be a large percentage of their overall costs.

Supporters of the fees argue that everyone using the system should pay their fair share, but I guess that all depends on your definition of fair.  Currently the air traffic control system is funded largely by taxes on fuel that are substantially higher for general aviation users than commercial airlines.

The following excerpt from an article at gives great insight into the current system and what really should be considered fair.

Paying the 21.9-cents-per-gallon tax on noncommercial jet fuel, operators of a Gulfstream IV business jet would pay about $87 in fuel taxes. The commercial jet fuel tax is 4.4 cents per gallon; even with a much higher fuel burn, operators of an Airbus A320 would pay about $68 in fuel taxes.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that general aviation aircraft are already paying their fair share.  Unfortunately it appears that the people who are making the decisions don’t seem to understand the industry.

The aforementioned article also points out the ambiguities in the wording of the proposal which further shows the lack of true understanding by the authors.  I’m sure it is not really surprising to anyone that a government proposal would be filled with ambiguities, but it has to call into question the proposals validity.

User fees don’t appear to be a reality in the immediate future, but they also don’t appear to be going completely away.  Having used the current air traffic control system I totally agree that getting the NextGen system up and running is of the utmost importance, but doing it at the expense of the people who use and support that system just doesn’t seem to make sense.

January 17, 2012 I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

Citation Ten Prototype Makes First Successful Test Flight

While I worked at an FBO in Austin, TX I was fortunate enough to see aircraft of all shapes and sizes.  From big airliners to little tiny(and I mean real tiny) experimentals.  With all of the different aircraft that I saw, I don’t think there was one that I loved more than the Citation X.  For lack of a better word, it was just downright sexy.

Now Cessna has taken it one step farther with the new Citation Ten.  At first look it appears to be the exact same as the Citation X, but there are a few differences.

The Ten is a little bit longer(15 inches) providing more leg room for the passengers.  It is also is able to get to altitude more quickly and is more fuel-efficient giving it a longer range(3242 nautical miles).

It also boasts the Garmin G5000 avionics suite which utilizes high-resolution multi-function displays to give the pilots all the information they could ever want.  Garmin’s synthetic vision technology also provides a virtual view of runways, terrain, traffic and obstacles.

Obviously there is not much real footage out there, but there is a cool little promo video on YouTube, as well as some very cool images on Cessna’s website.

I don’t know that I am ready to give my heart to another plane yet, but Cessna has certainly raised their game to the next level.

I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.

Red Tails: The Story of the Tuskegee Airmen

Aviation is one of those rare topics that has almost universal interest.  There is just something about the wonder of flight that intrigues just about everyone.  This may have been even more the case back in the World War II era when flying was a luxury for the rich, and a relative infant in the military.

Such was the case of the Tuskegee Airmen who had a passion for flying and an unflinching desire to serve their country in a time of war.  Much has been written and produced concerning these heroic men so I will leave the specifics of their actions to those who have undoubtedly done a better job than I ever could.

With the upcoming release of Red Tails, which details their story (trailer can be found below), I thought it would be appropriate to bring some attention to the previously released The Tuskegee Airmen (trailer also can be found below).  It was a great film done by HBO which also told this story.

The original film was a great historical representation of what these men went through as well as a small sampling of their heroic actions. It gives a nice perspective of who these men were and what they accomplished.

Going through a formal flying training program, as I currently am, is hard enough.  I cannot begin to imagine how much more difficult it would have been to also have to battle racial barriers that paid no attention to your abilities but simply the color of your skin.

Red Tails appears to be a little more “Hollywood”, CGI, and pyrotechnics than the original, but I sincerely hope that it will be a movie worthy of the men that it is based on.  I did find it to be a nice touch that Cuba Gooding Jr.  was cast into the current movie as he was in the original.

The official website for the movie provides a lot of great information about the movie that got me even more excited about its upcoming release.  The movie will be in theaters Jan. 20.

Red Tails Trailer



The Tuskegee Airmen Trailer

I Written By

I'm Dave and I am a proud Avgeek. It goes way beyond liking airplanes. It is a passion that cannot be subdued.