ATC Privatization Proposed in White House Budget

Discussion in 'Hangar Flying' started by rbrochey, Mar 16, 2017.

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  1. Mar 16, 2017 #1

    rbrochey

    rbrochey

    rbrochey

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    Didn't figure this would take long. From EAA hotline
    [FONT=Trebuchet MS, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]
    T O P S T O R Y
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    ATC Privatization Proposed in White House Budget
    An endorsement for the privatization of air traffic control was included in a budget proposal released by the White House on Thursday morning, a move that would put the future of general aviation and its long-term access to the National Airspace System at risk.

    Members should be getting the alert in inbox.
     
  2. Mar 16, 2017 #2

    bmcj

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    AAAAARRRRRGH!
     
  3. Mar 17, 2017 #3

    rv6ejguy

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    Americans really fear this. The ATC system has been privatized here in Canada for 20 years and we are the 2nd biggest system by aircraft movements in the world. The system works fine and the annual fees for small GA aircraft are small. I'd have to check my last invoice but I think it was around $70 for the year.

    Nav Canada is the private entity running the show across the whole country.

    Hopefully if it goes that way in the US, you'll have similar experiences as we have here.
     
  4. Mar 17, 2017 #4

    rbrochey

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    If this were Canada but it's not.
     
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  5. Mar 17, 2017 #5

    TFF

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    No offense but most Americans fear being Canadian. I believe it is really like that no matter where you are from; your system is your system, and you dont want the other guy's. Does not matter if you are Russian, French, Canadian, whatever. Canadians would not have French and English speaking provinces if that were not true.
     
  6. Mar 17, 2017 #6

    rv6ejguy

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    We used to have the government and military here run the ATC system. When Nav Canada was about to take it all over, we expected the worst and everyone was upset too. It went fine as it turned out and nobody talks about the old system any more.

    Americans don't have a monopoly on government waste, red tape or ineptness. The same sort of folks rise to government positions here or in most other countries I suspect. I feel we were lucky to rid ourselves of these overseers and get some good, dedicated people to run ATC here. Most of the actual controllers probably just had a different name on their pay stubs after the transition.

    This doesn't mean it would work out the same for the US, it just means it CAN work with the right people and organization in place

    I've certainly seen other industries go bad after being privatized, our energy sector in this province for one.
     
  7. Mar 17, 2017 #7

    rbrochey

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    My problem with it is that I know from my own experiences once working as a counselor in a private prison how much those private prisons actually cost the tax payer as opposed to state run facilities... they had NO incentive to help keep the inmates from coming back... they made money on keeping the head count up and services down. That said, I think privatization is fine for some things... but certainly not ATC for a variety of reasons not the least of which it may bother at least me that the safety of our skies will go out to bid. I read that this and many other miniscule cuts are being done to raise money for the great wall... I know politics are taboo in here but at least help the EAA address this. This is about us.
     
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  8. Mar 17, 2017 #8

    rv7charlie

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    +1 to rbrochey's post. The USA is obviously a different place from Canada. The number one reason to not accept this is that it's turning over a law enforcement duty to private companies. This is just dangerous. We've been down that kind of road before, with 'private contractors' like Blackwater.

    But beyond that, as rbrochey says, there's the issue of money. Invariably here in the USA, when we turn what's logically a government function over to private companies, the taxes remain and we begin paying 'fees' for the private companies' services. Even regulated monopolies can get trashed. Need examples? Spend some time looking through the Montana Power debacle.

    Ayn Rand does not have the fix for every problem, and we need to learn that, here in the USA.

    Charlie
     
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  9. Mar 17, 2017 #9

    rbrochey

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    This from the Washington Post

    "White House endorses plan to remove 30,000 FAA workers from federal payroll"

    This is part of the same budget and this is important to all of us (Americans) in here. General Aviation has been his with so many roadblocks, high Insurance fees, operating cost's, etc. I worry how much it can take before it becomes a footnote. I hope I'm wrong but really we need to pay attention to this. It may go nowhere but an ounce of prevention...
     
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  10. Mar 17, 2017 #10

    tspear

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    Canada does not have a law and a history of a hundred years of always contracting with the lowest cost bids. :D
    As a former Beltway Bandit (government consultant based in the Washington DC area), I can attest to how this thinking screws up projects, cost estimates.....
    The vast majority of the time, if the private sector and the federal workforce were given the same requirements, and you did not mind the slower pace, the federal workforce was cheaper and matched or bested the private sector in quality. Where the private sector is "cheaper" in comparison is they often dump or remove some requirements or have compressed timelines for implementation and operation. But both of these options come with a cost.
    I actually built a software system for a federal agency to help them track outsourcing versus keeping it in house, costs/benefits... So I got to see lots of data.

    Tim
     
  11. Mar 17, 2017 #11

    Victor Bravo

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    Government operated airspace system has public service and public safety as its (intended, stated, hoped-for) first priority. Government has an obligation to provide as many no-fee services to the public as possible within existing tax revenues. Government has a fiduciary duty to the citizens.

    Private firm operating the airspace system has higher profit and lower costs as its (guaranteed, boardroom-driven) first priority. Private corporation has a legal obligation to its shareholders to maximize profit by charging as much as the market can possibly bear, and reducing their costs (services) all the way to the "pain point" of their customers and perhaps a little beyond. Corporate has a fiduciary duty only to their shareholders.

    Assume there will be the same number of incompetent managers, lazy workers, technical problems, and idiot mid level leadership for both cases.

    Even if the "user fees" are reasonable as they are in Canada, if they were paid to the US government as a tax at least those taxes are regulated and approved by the voters. If those "user fees" were paid as a private payment for service to a corporation, the user has no vote, no regulatory authority over those fees, etc.

    Our government here in America has a long history of minor and moderate ineptness, good intentions that never came to fruition, excess bureaucracy, and numerous successes for our way of life.

    Our corporate /capitalist private sector here in America has a long history of malfeasance, theft, breach of contractual obligation, breach of fiduciary duty, negligence and disregard for public safety, victimization of innocent civilians, and frequent outright criminal negligence... all in clear and unashamed pursuit of profit above all else. This is a fundamental part of the corporate culture.

    Many of us here in the US have had more than enough experience with large corporations trying to get a customer service human being, manager, problem solver, etc. on the phone. Hours and hours of recordings, press 1 if you want to pay your bill now and press 2 through 9 for another hour of awful music. When someone does answer the phone, well, they are usually not in a position to provide the help you want. Thousands of American phone company jobs lost, millions of American phone customers frustrated, and it gets worse every year. All because outsourcing your phone company call center saved THEM money.

    So which is the lesser of two evils?
     
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  12. Mar 17, 2017 #12

    BBerson

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    When services are controlled by the government, it is a monopoly.
    When services are controlled by a single large corporation, it is a monopoly.
    Monopolies can charge any rate and also offer poor service.

    The answer is proven. Free market. Free market means free choice, the opposite of forced market. Free market requires multiple competitors fighting for market share with low prices and good service.
    The consumer needs choices to keep rates lowest possible and good customer service.
    Those with high rates and poor service or cheat will soon go out of business.

    I think the free market innovations would bring the cost of ATC to near zero with electronic equipment.
    Imagine the cost if every phone call was still directed by a phone operator.
     
  13. Mar 17, 2017 #13

    rbrochey

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    Free market is the answer for some things... like choices in a Big Mag or a Whopper... not airspace and a host of other things. Turn experimental aviation over to free market forces and you will put the final nail in the homebuilt aviation coffin. There is so much push back on this (and other) "careless" budget proposals that I doubt it will go anywhere, still, aviation groups need to stay tuned in.
     
  14. Mar 17, 2017 #14

    BBerson

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    There is only about 5000 airplanes in the air at any time. https://www.reference.com/vehicles/many-planes-air-given-time-4a753da2d8c225b2
    A small computer at each major airport could easily handle the controlling with far less errors than humans.
    ADS-B makes it all possible.
    The future pilot will have a cockpit display to monitor the progress, in the rare chance of a computer conflict.

    Pilots today don't have that ability, they must assume the controller is correct.
     
  15. Mar 17, 2017 #15

    rv7charlie

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    BBerson,

    I gotta ask. Do you have a pilot's license? Where do you fly? What do you fly?

    Your statements seem to indicate, at best, naivete about how the airspace system works, and a grossly distorted view of the 'free market' and what it can achieve.

    Let's explore a 'free market' approach to air traffic control. I'm dissatisfied with the service I'm getting, and decide I can do better. So I start my own. Set up a web site & turn on my radio. My prices are the best available; I'll give you any routing into LAX you want, for only $10.00. OOPS; somebody else just undercut me & is offering the service for $7.50. Wups; now there are 50 people offering clearances into LAX. Just call your favorite, or the cheapest, or call several. Pick the one that gives you the exact routing you want, when you want it, and fly it. See a problem yet?

    Of course, we could just let everybody bid to the the only supplier & pick the lowest bidder. Woops; now we have a.._____..You fill in the blank. Then the low bidder says 'Aw, shucks. I'm not making ends meet at this great price that I bid, to get the work. I'm gonna have to raise my prices. And when this private company decides they don't like the way I fly, or I'm in the way of MegaAir (private ATC's call; it's now their 'private' airspace), and they cite me for an airspace violation. Does this private company enforce the rules? Can they fine me whatever they want? Can they come take my plane? How do I defend myself? Or, MegaAir will pay them more if they allow them to fly at low altitude over my (private) airstrip, and I've got to meet their price to fly out of my own strip...... Don't kid yourself. This stuff happens.

    While we're at it, why not privatize the police forces & fire departments. Can't pay for protection? Your house burns. Miss a payment? No investigation when you're robbed or your wife is raped.

    BTW, (different subject with the same theme) this is pretty much what you're going to get for health insurance, if we get the changes currently proposed. The new bill basically says, 'Find a way to get rich enough to afford health care, or die trying.' Free market, you know......

    Charlie
     
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  16. Mar 17, 2017 #16

    Vigilant1

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    If it is done right I don't see why privatization would be a problem or why it should be reflexively rejected. The folks sitting at the scopes don't need to be government employees. Policy needs to be set by the government, rules need to be set by the government, execution of daily ops does not need to be handled by government employees. If we can get good results in a more efficient way, I'm all for it. Government employees are expensive, and a government workforce is not a flexible workforce.
    But I'm sure I'm an outlier on this issue. I don't even believe I have a right to have the taxpayer supporting my hobby. That guy earning $30K a year, trying to raise a family, etc does not owe me a runway paid for with his taxes (local, state, or federal).
     
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  17. Mar 17, 2017 #17

    rv7charlie

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    Don't know the tax rules in your state for aviation funding (likely minimal; the FAA handles *everything* related to ATC), but federal ATC is funded by gas taxes, which we already pay when we fly. If you buy avgas, you pay for ATC (& everything else the FAA does) every time you buy gas, even if you fly a Cub off a grass strip in your back yard and live far enough from controlled airspace that you never appear on a radar. That guy earning $30K a year doesn't pay for your flying. But he *does* pay a bit for MegaAir and their like to jam so much air traffic into hub airports.

    The 'MegaAirs' *create* the need for elaborate ATC, by jamming so much air traffic into a very limited number of airports. And make no mistake, if this passes, you and I will be paying even more for the MegaAirs to get in and out of their hubs, and you and I get *nothing* for our money, unless we try to fly into those hubs.

    The guy at the scope is already 'private.' He's a citizen, just like you & me. If ATC goes 'private', The feds will still collect your gas taxes. But instead of a dozen layers of bureaucracy, you'll now get two dozen. You lose the guy at the scope on the federal payroll, but you'll now be funding the dozen layers in the 'private' company. Oh, and you get to pay 'fees' for all that extra private 'service'.

    Guys, I read Ayn Rand when I was a kid. I don't normally quote stuff from the Bible, but now might be a good time...

    "When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put aside childish things."

    Charlie
     
  18. Mar 17, 2017 #18

    Topaz

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    ShockBlast-Life-on-the-edge-Dennis-Maitland.jpg

    Moderator Note: This thread has been reported to the mods once already. Seems like it's mellowing back down again and returning to just discussing ATC privatization as opposed to political ideology, so I'm not going to close it. Yet. But take this as the gentle warning it's intended to be, and recall the HBA Code of Conduct, especially item 5. Please limit the discussion/opinions/rants accordingly. The end is only a button-click away.
     
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  19. Mar 17, 2017 #19

    BBerson

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    It should not cost anything more for the pilot to use ATC. Just like driving on the public road is free almost everywhere, paid by gas tax. Same gas tax we all pay can pay for ATC. By free market, I meant the companies that sell the airport control computers to the local airport. The airport computer is like an intersection traffic light. The pilot inputs a text for the destination and the computers provide the instructions every second in controlled airspace. The autopilot responds to ADS-B route instructions automatically. The "pilot" monitors the instruments.

    The FAA can be the police with random oversight of the system, same as roads.
    I've been a pilot 45 years. Still waiting for the system that makes sense. This whole automated system was invented in 1945 by private industry.
     
  20. Mar 17, 2017 #20

    rbrochey

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    To be clear. I did not open this thread to argue or politicize the well documented dubious benefits of privatization... I wanted to point out to the aviation minded and aircraft builders in here that the EAA is concerned about any changes in the ATC system that may negatively impact experimental aircraft use, and the builders who have and are working for months, years and decades on building a plane. If such a proposal were to be initiated one of the first things you would likely see would be the 'For Sale' section in here getting piled up with half finished projects. The important thing is to watch the developments, talk with your local EAA chapter and let your voice be heard if it needs to. Thats all.
     
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