...And Here, Darn it, Are The Heartbreakers
Final Compilations by ANN Editor-In-Chief/Dog Walker, Jim
It is both the most "fun," and most difficult task, facing the
ANN staff at the end of every year -- determining who, or what, did
the most to promote the cause of aviation in the past 365 days...
while also chastising those people or entities that did all they
could to undermine the many successes the aerospace community has
managed to accomplish.
Alas, 2008 saw more
than its fair share of downers, aviation-wise. Sure, "stuff"
happens... but a few folks, issues, or entities seemed to go out of
their way to create problems for the world of aviation.
So... it is ANN's annual obligation to recognize Ten of our
Aero-Heartbreakers for 2008... in something of an informal order,
starting from the 1st to the 10th.
Let us know what you think of our selections... whom YOU would
have liked be included, or omitted, from such a list. In the
meantime, we hope those who had something to do with this year's
selections think a little more positively about the welfare of this
industry, so that future lists become harder and harder to
Be it ignorance, arrogance or just plain incompetence, these
were the folks or topics that made our lot a whole lot more
difficult and immeasurably injured the aviation world in the past
Shame on those issues, folks, or groups that made our lot so
much tougher in 2008... but our top selection... and all those who
populate both Houses of Congress have a reason to be ashamed of
themselves (aeronautically-speaking) in 2008.
Their performance/behavior was just 'plane' embarrassing...
Aero-Heartbreaker #1: Congressional Hypocrisy
One of my favorite
quotes, of all time, is attributed to the late and oh-so-great Will
Rogers. He was to have said, at some point that, "thank God
for not getting all the government we're paying for."
As 2008 comes to a tumultuous close, I'm here to tell you we
should all be on our knees, thanking God, that this is the case. If
there was ever a year when the hypocrisy of our elected leaders had
reached an all-time high, 2008 threatens to be the watershed.
I can't begin to tell you of all the idiocy that we could
enumerate and describe… we'd be here for days if we so much
as took a decent stab at it. But, the fact of the matter is that we
have elected more than our fair share of posturing idiots. There
isn't an industry out there that can't take your breath away with
tales of woe about government interference, over-regulation, and
just plain bad lawmaking. But aviation, once again, has more
than its fair share of sorrowful tales to tell.
From the senatorial and congressional headline seekers who whore
themselves for the cheap headline over nebulous airspace issues, to
the folks who failed economics 101 and tout the "benefits" of user
fees, to the showboating antics of congressional hearings in which
business leaders are taken to task for the use of aviation tools
(that under critical examination show themselves to save far more
than they cost); the aviation world has gotten screwed, in no
While bad decision-making, poorly thought out rule-making, and
the headline oriented rants of lawmakers worry us to no end…
it's the hypocrisy of these folks that drives us round the
bend. Ultimately, we have no one but ourselves to blame for
those who we have elected, but the aviation industry, in
particular, has to take these folks to task in far more public and
aggressive terms for their blatantly errant statements, their
fraudulent grandstanding, and the damage they do to a constituency
that they are ultimately responsible to.
And more to the point, we want these lawmakers to understand
that aviation is a critical industry to the future of America and
our economic well-being, as it is a particularly crucial pillar on
the foundation of our transportation infrastructure.
While some of our nations lawmakers were bad mouthing the same
aircraft that they, themselves, covet (and yes, Mrs. Pelosi, our
memory does stretch back to the point where the government
Gulfstream no longer seemed to be big enough for your ego…),
they need to remember that aviation is much of how business in this
country gets done… and destroying or damaging that tool can
only hinder our future economic recovery.
ANN, for its part, plans to get far more aggressively involved
in correcting some of the hype and nonsense that has been coming
out of the Washington puzzle palaces in recent months, but we
desperately implore aviation's alphabet groups to be far more
aggressive in their oversight and relationships with the Washington