Unspinning the Spin: A Liberal Rant by the Conservative Wall Street Journal

It is bad enough that the mainstream media tries every trick in the book to manipulate the outcome of our major elections … and, more often than not, they succeed. Their greed and power know no boundaries. No surprise, then, that the media applies these same propaganda tactics to prop up industries and bogus programs, such as NextGen and the Av-Gov Complex co-conspirators’ latest stab at privatizing ATC.

A new opinion piece was published yesterday by the Wall Street Journal editors. One reader’s comments summarize it very well: “…Although I think the FAA is completely inept and has bungled the NextGen rollout on all levels, some of the WSJ’s statements were very unfair (aka the old ‘World War II technology’ argument), and I fear the airlines being in charge even more.”

Another reader’s comments are drawn from his profession, as an airline pilot with extensive knowledge about labor and aviation politics:

“This article has absolutely nothing in it except for many errors and convenient omissions. For example, the comparison to the 1960’s is totally inaccurate because today all aircraft have the ability to fly direct, point-to-point with GPS and other similar navigation devices that all airliners have, even the “older” ones. The United States has complete, 100% radar coverage, so the statements referring to enroute delays are totally incorrect. Plus, it states that Schuster’s proposal “isn’t perfect” without pointing out what those imperfections are.

This is “airline deregulation” all over again, but this time targeting ATC. As far as FAA “oversight” goes, just look at the fines the airlines have accumulated for improper maintenance—and those are only the cases that were caught.

The true problem lies in the terminal areas of the busiest airports and neither NextGen nor any other fancy-sounding baloney has come even close to resolving that. All it has done is increase the noise levels for airport neighbors.”

Here’s a PDF of aiREFORM’s analysis of the WSJ piece, with numerous rebuttal notes added as footnotes:

Click on the image below for a scrollable view; the PDF file may be downloaded.

Clearly, this will not be the last of an ongoing series of lame propaganda pieces. The collusion by members of the Av-Gov Complex – called a ‘collaboration’ – will not end until they pull off yet another change that serves industry profits at the expense of everyone else. A Congress weakened and compromised by too much focus on fundraising may eventually capitulate to this fraudulent campaign.

FAA Offers $10 Million Giveaway to Buy Support for NextGen

The NextGen program that is destroying communities while supplementing airline profits has been needing more money to advance further. But, the program is seeing increasing resistance, especially from impacted homeowners. So, in order to garner more support and create the appearance of public acceptance needed to convince Congress to invest more public money into NextGen, FAA has announced an investment of $10,000,000 to subsidize ADS-B Out installations on small aircraft.

(click on image to view source article at AOPA.org)

(click on image to view source article at AOPA.org)

The new program will rebate up to $500 per aircraft to as many as 20,000 owners, which FAA believes to be roughly one-eighth of eligible aircraft. Bear in mind, rebate eligibility is restricted to single-piston-engine, fixed-wing aircraft that have not yet added this equipment, which FAA is requiring no later than January 2020, for all pilots who want to access ‘busier’ airspace. In other words, while NextGen is a program aimed at serving the airlines, FAA is directing its supposedly scarce resources to the lowest performing, personal-use aircraft … the vast majority of which will never have an urgent need to fly near any of our thirty busiest airline airports.

As some of the smarter online commenters have noted, what usually happens when a federal subsidy is announced is the industry jacks up the price of the product/service being subsidized. And also commonly, the subsidy is just a ‘gift’ for a huge number of recipients who had already planned to purchase the product/service anyway. So, in total, it is effectively FAA giving $10 Million to the aviation electronics industry. As if on queue, the aviation media reports that alphabet-group lobbyists are ‘applauding’.

20160607scp.. portion of article re $500 ADS-B subsidy, alphabet groups (GANews)

(click on image to view source article at GANews)

Congress never put this $10 Million scheme through an appropriation process. Congress never authorized this substantial expenditure. This $10 Million is just FAA, acting arbitrarily and on its own, as a lobbyist seeking to tip to the balance toward more NextGen funding by Congress. Which begs the question: if FAA has $10 Million or more to arbitrarily spend, how else might they spend OUR money to serve the Public?

How Might FAA Better Invest $10 Million?

Here’s two simple ideas (readers are encouraged to share their ideas, too!):

  1. for the NextGen-impacted people of Phoenix, offer a small subsidy to the airlines to fly the old departure routes out of KPHX. Try this for just 2-months, pay Southwest and American a couple million tops to cover their added cost, and see what it does to noise complaints and residential quality of life.
  2. for the NextGen-impacted people in the NYC area, take advantage of the current major project to upgrade the LaGuardia terminal (at KLGA). This is a great opportunity for a ‘test’. For a period of at least 6-months, get the airlines to voluntarily reduce their daily schedule by say 25%, and hourly flow rates to say a maximum of 25 takeoffs per hour. With these lower and more manageable KLGA traffic levels, revert to the old (and since-abandoned) noise abatement departures such as Whitestone Climb. Get the airlines to voluntarily make this happen, then see what a scaled-down LaGuardia does to improve efficiencies and reduce impacts for both JFK and Newark. The results may be surprising.

A Very Good Article About KSFO NextGen Impacts, Causing Sleep Loss in Pacifica

The article, by Mike Moffitt, includes an excellent collection of images, and some very sharp reader comments. Here is one spot-on comment by a reader who sees the whole picture on what FAA is REALLY doing with NextGen…

QUOTE

“…The FAA’s been plotting and planning the NextGen system for the past 20 years. They wanted to change air traffic routes in 1994 and they knew it would require public environmental review. So did they do any reviews?

NO. Instead, they spent 20 years’ worth of our tax dollars crafting the changes, figuring out how to get funding, getting congressional approval, obtaining the support of their unions and making collaborative deals with airlines and manufacturers. Then in 2012, once it was ready to implement the changes, the FAA got Congress to pass legislation that waived the longstanding requirement to conduct public environmental review of new air traffic routes! Now they aggressively sell NextGen as ‘green’ and waste taxpayer money conducting months and years of after-the-fact ‘studies’.

Basically, the FAA plotted for 20 years to screw over the public it’s supposed to serve. THAT’s the story that needs covering!….”

Click here to read the original article at SFGate.com, or read the PDF copy below. Note especially the pair of images, showing before and after flight tracks for KSFO and KOAK (see the images marked Image 2 and Image 3).

Click on the image below for a scrollable view; the PDF file may be downloaded.

One interesting (albeit off-target) comment at the SFGate article webpage suggested new and longer runways at KSFO. This is just bunk. The length of the SFO runways, or even adding a new runway, will do nothing to mitigate these latest NextGen impacts. The root of the problem is FAA’s focus on aiding airline profits, and facilitating new routes without meaningful environmental review. Fact is, airlines want to take selected airports and explode their ‘hub’ model, with high percentages of passengers never even leaving the airport … just passing through, connecting from an arrival flight to a departure flight. Airport authorities like this model, too, as it increases FAA grant revenues. But, it stinks for people under the new concentrated routes.

What needs to happen is take away FAA’s control, which is being abused, and return meaningful local community control that ensures a balance, to include noise reduction and mitigation, maybe even hourly operations limits and curfew hours.

A Rebuttal of JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes’ Recent Call for Faux-Modernization

(click on image to view original tweet)

(click on image to view original tweet)

Boston Business Journal has printed an opinion piece by the CEO of JetBlue, Robin Hayes. Very similar pieces have appeared in the past few months, offered by other airline CEOs and the lobbyist Airlines for America, all spreading the same unsubstantiated claims that ATC privatization and NextGen implementation are needed. It strongly appears that, this week, the rotation went to JetBlue, hence the piece. And, given the mainstream media’s consistent subservience to commerce, it comes as no surprise that Mr. Hayes’ opinion piece was eagerly accepted and passed on for public consumption.

Here is a PDF copy, with highlighted footnotes added by aiREFORM.com:

Click on the image below for a scrollable view; the PDF file may be downloaded.

FAA’s NextGen Noise Has No Limits

The California Redwoods are a national treasure, a deep sensual experience. The Redwoods are yours to see, feel, smell and ponder … but you won’t want to hear them.

KSFO.20160425scp.. sossantacruz sign along road in redwoodsBring hearing protection; the experience has been destroyed by FAA’s NextGen.

‘Just Say No’ to a Third Runway at Heathrow

The impacts are already too large at two runways, and the air travel industry is evolving to reduce the need for Heathrow as a major international hub. So, let’s be done with this ridiculous idea of adding a third parallel runway.

Consider how technologies have changed. There was a time in the U.S. when all transcontinental flights had to stop at ‘hubs’ in the mid-continent, making for very busy airports in places like Wichita, Kansas. These former hubs are now all but ‘ghost-airports’, because we developed more powerful engines and larger fuel capacities, enabling much longer flights.

London’s Heathrow Airport should follow that same path, and the role of this airport as a major international hub should decline substantially. Geography made London a logical (and necessary) refueling hub location for Transatlantic flights, but that necessity has ended in recent decades. We now have direct flights from the U.S. West Coast to Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Oslo, Copenhagen, Munich, Istanbul, Dubai, etc. So, we really do not need to stop anymore, in London or Dublin or even Iceland.

It makes far more sense for flights between North America and Europe to carry passengers directly from actual origin cities to actual destination cities. The carbon impact is minimized, the air traveler’s time-cost is minimized, and noise impacts upon airport neighbors are also minimized. And one more benefit: an evolved system with more thin routes takes pressure off of major U.S. hubs like KJFK, KBOS, KCLT, KORD, KPHX, and KSFO … and this has potential to greatly reduce the local impacts being magnified by the ongoing NextGen implementation debacles.

We can have better air service for people. We can minimize impacts on neighborhoods and the planet. The key to moving forward on this is to get national regulators and politicians to quit perpetuating inefficiencies, to quit subsidizing the airlines with excessive airport expansion. And in the UK, this means:

NO THIRD RUNWAY at HEATHROW!!

The ‘machine’ that keeps pressing for a third Heathrow runway is motivated by greed. Here is a copy of a recent news article about their campaign efforts, with analytical footnotes added by aiREFORM.

Click on the image below for a scrollable view; the PDF file may be downloaded.

MHFC: How FAA’s NextGen Debacle is Impacting Portola Valley

United Airlines dominates the airline hub at [KSFO], and schedules too many arrivals in too little time. Arrivals from the LA Basin cause ATC to bend airplane routes, especially when also working San Jose [KSJC] arrivals from Seattle, Portland, and other Pacific Northwest locations. Arrivals are brought down to low altitudes, and their routes are widened out, often with long stretches of low & level flight. Here are three images (two KSFO arrivals and one KSJC arrival) showing the mess this creates over the Portola Valley area.
KSJC.20160407at1212.. ASA408 ARR from KSEA (flightaware)
KSFO.20160407at1214.. SKW5439 ARR from KSAN (flightaware)KSFO.20160407at1217.. SKW5243 ARR from KSBA (flightaware)

An incredible airshow: Michael Huerta’s Flying Circus.

20160408.. Michael Huerta's Flying CircusIn service to the airlines, FAA has carefully worked to bypass environmental review procedures while also embarking on a scheme to abandon wholesale decades worth of noise mitigation procedures. In their effort to increase ‘throughput’, turns are being made lower and closer to the airports, for both departures and arrivals. This would reduce fuel consumption by a small amount, but the savings are routinely more than lost when excessive airline scheduling necessitates that ATC must issue delay turns (even entire delay loops) during the enroute/cruise portion of the flight.

It is really a circus. ATCs work harder, and pilots also work harder. More delays are incurred, all so that FAA can justify increasing the repetitive-noise-pattern impacts on neighborhoods that previously had no aviation noise issues.

Aviation Noise Psychology: How Repetitive Routes May ‘drive you crazy’

KPHX.20150829.. noise meter held by C.McGlade

The article research included purchasing a sound-meter. Many aviation noise activists are investing in this type of equipment, so they do not have to rely on noise measurements commonly manipulated by FAA and FAA’s ‘industry partners’.

Here is an article worth reading: ‘Why the Phoenix Sky Harbor flight-path noise may drive you crazy’, by Caitlin McGlade, published in August 2015. A PDF copy of the article is provided in this Post, with highlights (and one footnote) added by aiREFORM.

The article covers much of the impacts on specific neighborhoods, but the most interesting part of the article is how well the writer reviews the psychological impact of aviation noise. See especially the sections from page 2 through page 6 of the PDF copy: ‘The Unpredictable’, and ‘The Low-Frequency Rumble’.

The article also refers to a 214-page study of noise impacts by the KPHX RNAV routes, done by Landrum & Brown in early 2015, and paid for by the City of Phoenix (view a PDF copy here).

Click on the image below for a scrollable view; the PDF file may be downloaded.

The footnoted point cannot be over-emphasized: FAA and the industry are flat-out lying when they sell NextGen as an improvement in U.S. commercial aviation safety and a way to reduce airline emissions. They are using these as selling points, but the REAL OBJECTIVE of NextGen routes is to discard decades-old noise abatement routes, so as to help the airlines grow larger profits. Here is a closer look, debunking these two selling points:

  1. On the safety point, U.S. commercial passenger aviation is very safe, with a proven record showing the vast majority of fatal accidents are caused by fatigue, inattention and poor decisions (by both pilots and controllers, who commonly are quite bored and lulled into complacency, then easily distracted, even by personal electronic devices). FAA has presented no evidence substantiating the claim that the new routes being implemented under NextGen actually ‘improve safety’, because there is no such evidence. Their claim is simply an empty selling point.
  2. On the emissions point, think of it this way: under the ‘NextGen’ banner, ATC is issuing turns lower and closer to airports. This reduces total fuel consumption for each flight by a small fraction of a single percent (but, cumulatively, it adds up to millions saved by airlines in fuel costs and pilot-time costs). By comparison, major airlines lock passengers into traveling 10%, 20%, even more than 30% actual flight distances to get from point A to point B via major airline hubs. For example, suppose you are flying from Portland, OR to Burlington, VT (and this is just one example; the concept applies to hundreds of U.S. city-pairs). You could theoretically fly three ways: nonstop-direct (which we would all prefer), or via a hub along the direct route (which enables airlines to offer more flight options), or via a hub away from the direct route (which enables airlines to fill all their seats). Clearly, the least efficient choice, in terms of both time and emissions, is via the off-route superhub; a flight on Delta via the Atlanta superhub, increases flight distance by 32%, from 2,064 miles (direct KPDX-KBTV) to 2,717 miles (via a KPDX-KATL-KBTV routing). Current aviation fees strongly incentivize the overdevelopment of major hubs in cities such as Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Minneapolis and Phoenix, and this produces nonstop, highly impactful streams of arrivals and departures.  So, the key point is, if FAA really cared to reduce emissions, they would not waste their efforts trading local noise impacts against miniscule emissions reductions, as they are doing with these NextGen RNAV routes. Instead, they would push for an airline fee structure where each passenger ticket would reflect total direct-miles flown – and be priced proportionately, so as to strongly disincentivize tickets that route passengers via out-of-the-way superhubs. If FAA successfully implemented this one simple and rational change, they could then brag about reducing overall U.S. airline emissions by easily 10% or more … much, much more than the insignificant savings on NextGen RNAV routes.

See also:
  • 10/30/2015 – NextGen: A Formal Complaint by Phoenix Neighborhoods
  • 6/24/2015 – GIGO: Lessons Learned from FAA’s Bad NextGen Deployment at Phoenix
  • 6/22/2015 – The Investigation of the KPHX NextGen Departure Procedures Implementation
  • 6/4/2015 – [QUOTE]: Floor Speeches by Rep. Gallego & Rep. Schweikert
  • 6/1/2015 – City of Phoenix Files Lawsuit Against FAA’s NextGen Implementation
  • 5/18/2015 – A Two-Hour NextGen Reprieve in Phoenix
  • 4/18/2015 – ANALYSIS: Flight Tracks Showing Noise Impacts in the Phoenix Area
  • 10/16/2014 – Video of Regional Administrator Glen Martin, Pausing in Disbelief While Reading FAA’s Written Statement to the People of Phoenix

[QUOTE]: A Fluff Interview of American Airlines’ CEO Doug Parker

QUOTE

“…The entire interview is one huge lie….”

– a typical reader comment in an AviationWeek article, featuring a fluff interview of the American Airlines CEO

When interviewed, American Airlines CEO Doug Parker coughed out the obligatory plug for ATC privatization with this comment:

It’s of the utmost importance to continue the strides we’ve made to make the United States the safest country for aviation, and we need to find new ways to fund innovation and better efficiencies, including Air Traffic Control reform. Our industry is at a crossroads right now in Washington as we’re seeking a transformational change to the way the U.S. ATC system is financed and governed.

The strides made by American/USAir include using Categorical Exclusions to impose NextGen procedures that are destroying quality of life near the largest airport hubs dominated by American. In fact, the list of NextGen-impacted airports includes nearly every major hub with a schedule dominated by American: Charlotte, Chicago-O’Hare, Phoenix (approximately 51% of flights), and Washington-National (approximately 50% of flights), as well as LaGuardia (approximately 30% of flights), and Boston (approximately 24% of flights).

If Doug Parker and American Airlines REALLY wanted to make customers happy, they would recognize they serve not only passengers but also communities. They would then insist that FAA manage and downsize hub scheduling, even disincentivizing airline hubbing, to ensure the residents of each community are well served yet not inundated with excessive repetitive noise impacts and aviation air pollution.

Click here to read the original blog post, or here to read an archived PDF copy with aiREFORM annotations.

Those Hypocritical Pickpockets (…all represented by lobbyist Airlines for America!)

Jim Hightower does a great job shining a bright light on absurdities in our modern life. He is a Texan, a progressive, a creative thinker, with a knack for pulling laughs out of even the driest people.

In his latest article, he takes aim at the greed and hypocrisy that compels our four remaining ‘major’ passenger airlines to nickel and dime on all sorts of fees. Here’s a scrollable PDF copy:

Click on the image below for a scrollable view; the PDF file may be downloaded.

Now, this is extremely hypocritical, because the lobbyist for the U.S. airlines, Airlines for America, is chronically pressing Congress to end fees and taxes that are used to fund ATC, build infrastructure, and maintain safety. Their main argument is that the fees depress public demand. Huh; might bag fees, change fees, obsolete fuel surcharges, and other ‘airline’ profit-generating schemes actually be discouraging people away from flying?