DOES THE FAA REALLY PROMOTE SAFETY?
One of the mission statements of the FAA is to promote safety in Aviation. My contention is that the FAA does not promote safety for General Aviation and makes flying GA dangerous.
I own a 1954 IFR certified Bonanza with steam gauges and no auto pilot. To install an STC’d GPS and auto pilot would cost me almost as much as the value of my airplane. Yet if one buys or builds an experimental airplane, they can install non STC’d avionics at one-third of what STC’d products cost, and these products have been proven to work as well as their STC’d equivalent. I know that it is very expensive for a manufacture to get STC approval. The cost is just not justified to install STC’d avionics on an older aircraft. However wouldn't it be safer for me to fly in IMC with any auto pilot. Also it would be safer for a VFR only pilot to have use of an auto pilot if caught in IMC or for night flying. The FAA should allow non STC’d products to be installed in older certified airplanes in the name of safety.
I believe that the IPad, with APPS such as Foreflight and WingXPro, is the safest invention for GA since the introduction of GPS. The FAA has allowed us to download digital charts for years. Now the FAA wants to eliminate any individual from using this service. Additionally the FAA wants to charge a premium to suppliers that provide chart subscription programs. Again this is not promoting safety in Aviation.
Over Thanksgiving we lost a Rockwell twin turboprop that departed Phoenix from Mesa Falcon Field (FFZ). Three young children and three young adults were killed when they flew into a mountain VFR at night. The FAA, over the objections of the Phoenix pilot community, lowered the Class Bravo to 5000 feet from 8000 feet just west of the Superstition Mountains. The Class B is now 5000 to 9000 feet leading into the Superstition Mountains whose height is 5057 feet. One can request a clearance into Class B in this area, however I have been told by pilots that fly this route it is hard to get a clearance from ATC. WingX created an amazing simulation of this flight using their VFR chart and synthetic vision that shows there was no way to clearly fly this route staying under Class B. You can see this on You Tube. Even without synthetic vision the chart was lit up in “RED” that means if you continue you are going to hit the mountain.
This is what the FAA wants to take away from us by charging who knows what to continue using WingXPro and others. My understanding is part of fuel taxes we pay provide cost for these services from the FAA. I know that Jeppesen has lost subscriptions to the IPad. Fees from Jeppesen run anywhere from $750 for a section of the United States to $2000 for complete US coverage. I hope Jeppesen is not behind requesting a price increase for the others. The FAA has lost sales on paper charts as more pilots are using iPads. If the price becomes prohibitive to pilots for these APPS it could put companies like Foreflight and WingX out of business as pilots can no longer afford these programs.
It is my contention that the FAA is not promoting safety for GA and will cause more useless accidents and deaths if it remains on it’s current path.
UPDATE ON BARR
The Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, several months ago cancelled the blocked aircraft registration program (BARR). BARR allowed any aircraft owner or operator to block any trip from showing on the numerous internet aircraft tracking programs. I had my N# blocked as I didn’t want anyone to know when I would be out of town or where I was. LaHood decided you could only block an N# if it was a matter of national security. AOPA and NBAA brought suit, and I am proud that my testimony was part of this suit. Congress told LaHood to reverse his decision and allow anyone to block their N# with no explanation needed. The law suit was scheduled to be heard in Federal Court December 5. LaHood backed down this week and now anyone, no reason needed, can block their N#. LaHood has been the worst Secretary of Transportation that I have ever encountered. Its a great day for America, just email the FAA and request a blocked N#.
Our current President is the worst enemy to Aviation that this Country has ever seen. He needs to be voted out of office next year. Please remember to vote, as your vote will count heavily to future of Aviation in the US.