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Tue, Mar 21, 2017

Barnstorming: The Fight of Our Lives

Of All the Foes GA Has Faced, Will Privatization Be the Worst Yet?

News/Analysis/Commentary by Jim Campbell, ANN CEO/Editor-In-Chief

As feared, the long-awaited ‘other shoe’ has dropped… and in a way that may determine the ultimate health and well-being of the GA community for the foreseeable future.

After much speculation, the President has denoted that he is inexplicably in favor of ATC Privatization…. Despite the damage done by similar programs all around the world and the over-whelming evidence that the result would be a selfish power-grab by the airlines that may come to decimate our ranks – even more so than they are already.

There is much that the President claims to stand for that I agree with and much that I don’t… but the ATC Privatization stance is a critical one for us and for all those who love and support a positive future for the aero-verse… especially the aspect that is enjoyed by civil pilots who want nothing more than to enjoy the freedom of the skies.

…Like free Americans or something… yeah, a novel thought, that.

While I’ll, no doubt, have much more to say about the battle at hand as the evidence presents itself, there are a few critical items I need to emphasize as we prepare for the aviation battle of the century (which is not hyperbole… because if this proposal passes, there won’t be much left to civil aviation once the airlines do what they have always done… act in their own interests and none other – and not always in a sensible or commercially feasible way).

Let’s start with this… if Privatization passes, the airlines will, ultimately be responsible for what happens to US airspace and, over time, civil aviation will get less and less access and pay more and more for what little access it gets. Under such circumstances, the barely sustainable model for GA as it has existed since the turn of the century becomes downright unfeasible… behooving each and every one of us to dispense with our myopic disinterest and inactivity and FORCE ourselves to get involved… to be vocal, to be active, to vote accordingly, and to make sure that the world knows that the GA world is not going to be shut down easily… if at all.

The various aviation associations REALLY need to get their act together. The strength of our collective response, on this issue, will be critical and will require the BEST efforts of all involved to head this nonsense off at the pass. And few believe that we, collectively, are up the task at hand.

I have my own opinions and insights as to who is best prepared to lead the fight for our salvation… but the pervading issue is that we need a unified, cohesive response even more than any particular leadership in this regard. I’m of the opinion (with a lot of inside info I’m reluctant to publicize… because those who oppose us may use it to divide us), that few of the alphabets are ready, and willing, to take this issue on in the way that it must be opposed… but we simply can’t afford holes in the dam… so, we MUST work cohesively, in an informed, organized way to put forth an action plan that we will ALL adhere to – so that the Sport, General and Business Aviation may be available to us all long into the future.

SO… what say YOU? Please take a look at the attached survey and let us know what YOU think so that we may analyze your responses and prepare an appropriate follow-up.

FMI: ANN Readers... Please Speak Up and Be Heard!, Direct Link to Survey -- https://goo.gl/forms/QQj5H7PHl06cybga2

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