# ATC Privatization Proposed in White House Budget

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#### rbrochey

##### Well-Known Member
Didn't figure this would take long. From EAA hotline
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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.

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HBA Supporter
AAAAARRRRRGH!

#### rv6ejguy

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. #### rbrochey ##### Well-Known Member 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.
If this were Canada but it's not.

#### TFF

##### Well-Known Member
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.

#### rv6ejguy

##### Well-Known Member
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.

#### rbrochey

##### Well-Known Member
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.

#### rv7charlie

##### Well-Known Member
+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

#### rbrochey

##### Well-Known Member
+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
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...

#### rv7charlie

##### Well-Known Member
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.
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) 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

#### Topaz

##### Super Moderator
Staff member
Log Member

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.

#### BBerson

##### Light Plane Philosopher
HBA Supporter
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.

#### rbrochey

##### Well-Known Member
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.