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dseagrav

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If you were ever planning to fly in real life, or want to see general aviation continue in the real world, you really should consider joining the AOPA -RIGHT NOW- or you may lose the chance forever.The white house has submitted its budget for the 2007 fiscal year, and the new FAA budget, which is required to be decided by September, includes a 400% increase in fuel taxes and substantial user fees. The total cost of private flying is expected to increase over 500%.The reason for the increases and funding changes is that the government no longer wants the FAA to be tax-supported and wishes to move the costs of operation to pilots. We're being forced to foot the bill for a system designed to put us out of business. The airlines want a next-generation satellite-based surveillance system to replace the existing radar system, which would allow them to fly more smaller jets and replace dispatchers with computers. They try to justify this by pointing out that Europe has this system already - and in Europe, there is no general aviation. Private airplanes are almost exclusively business jets owned by the very wealthy. The rank and file take the airlines; the private skies are reserved for their masters.I am not exaggerating in the least - I have no political agenda and represent no group, except that I am an AOPA member. But I am not typing for the AOPA. I'm typing for pilots. Our fellow pilot in the white house has sold us out. The implementation of these fees will END GENERAL AVIATION AS WE KNOW IT. And that's what they want. The airline lobby and their backers want the common rank and file chained to the ground where they "belong".The news will try to spin this in their favor - Talking about how this will make ticket prices cheaper, and about how rich corporate fatcats and their private jets should pay a "fair share" - But don't be fooled. The goal of these fees is to make sure that a general-aviation "flying car" like the ones envisioned in the past will never exist; and those that do exist will be the privilege of the wealthy. Your children will never fly. Never again will someone look up in the sky and see a Cessna or a Piper and dream.Please, for the sake of pilots present, past, and future; FIGHT THIS.Join the AOPA. Write your congresscritters. MAKE NOISE. We cannot allow this to succeed.

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Yup, welcome to Europe indeed! The UK CAA has been required to turn a profit for years. This is why it costs $1300 to do a CPL or IR flight test. $700 to issue a license. I doubt you'll see a 500% increase in overall costs, I reckon your costs will easily double though :((>>in Europe, there is no general aviation. Private airplanes are almost >>exclusively business jets owned by the very wealthy. The rank and file >>take the airlines; the private skies are reserved for their masters.>>Despite the huge costs, GA is still alive and well, esp in the UK.I think the cause is being exaggerated as that statement is rubbish. There is, despite the expense, a healthy private GA population in Scandinavia, Ireland, Holland, Germany, France and especially in the UK. Spain and Italy less so, but then there is less money there too.The UK in particular is very very active despite being just about the most expensive of all the European countries. In the UK, it costs about $8,000/year to run a four place single and about $100/hr on top of that to fly it. Fractional ownership is a popular way to own GA aircraft in the UK.Regardless of that, you will take a hit :(( It is depressing news all the same.

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Can you point me to the text of the proposed budget discussing the specific user fees? I know the EAA (I am a member) and AOPA have been lobbying heavily against these fees, but this is the first I've heard of a budger proposal with specifics. Google is pulling up nothing other than previous discussions on the issue.-John

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Sadly, the honeymoon is over. Welcome to global warming consideration.

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Welcome to the real world. Why should the US taxpayer be expected to meet these costs rather than the users, especially as flying is only a hobby for private pilots?Also, remember the term general aviation describes any flight other than a military or scheduled airline flight, so it's much wider than light private aircraft.

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That is a huge can of worms you are going to open.Why should we pay social security then? We're probably never going to collect it.Maybe people who don't drive should be exempt from paying highway taxes?I would like to be exempt from paying taxes to local schools since I have no children in them.Why are my taxes subsidizing farmers in the midwest? I will never eat their corn.You can't segregate. The airlines don't pay ANYTHING toward the system- maybe they should foot the bill, since quite frankly, they are the ones who really use it.As a VFR pilot, my use of the system can be pretty much limited to taking off/landing. I don't use VORs, NDBs, Centers, and if I choose I can avoid FSS and all the other services too.

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mgh,In the US, GA flying is viable and practical form of transport and was (previously) considered part of the transportation infrastructure. In many ways for many people it still is. In the UK it isn't, it is invariably easier and quicker to drive to most UK destinations that most people want to go to. Because the UK has such a well developed commercial air structure for such a small country, it is cheaper, easier and quicker to jump on an Easyjet to go further a field. If it wasn't for the European Union's love of tax, regulations and bureaucracy, and if the EU aviation used one language (which it doesn't) then the same could be said for GA in Europe. But alas, trans Europe GA travel is for the very wealthy or determined adventurer only.

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This whole thing is just to benefit the airlines anyway. I would have much less of a problem paying for satellite-based ATC if I had the ability to use it, but the features they want to add have nothing to do with a 152. They aren't adding any significant new functionality, no better weather or better coverage, they just want to have computer-controlled dispatching so they can stop paying dispatchers, and they want to use more regional jets so they can pay pilots less. The whole thing is just the airline management trying to fleece everyone from the top down.

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How do you know you'll never collec social security? You might be glad of it one day.People who don't drive don't pay car tax, fuel duty, insurance, etc.Your education was presumably paid for by other people paying taxes to local schools.How do you know you have never eaten a product containing corn from midwest farmers?

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GA Flying may well be a viable and practical form of transport in the US. That's still no reason for it to be subsidised by the general taxpayer.

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We still pay a nice size fuel tax already it's not like we are using the whole system for free.

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Also, we pay a higher tax than the airlines do. For private use, avgas is taxed at 19.4

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You are right-highways and roads should also not be subsidized by the general taxpayer either-after all cars are also just another viable and practical form of transportation. :-)By the way-Ga traffic makes up about 80% of the total air traffic in the US-but uses an extrememly small proportion of the services (most Ga traffic is vfr). Guess who uses the majority-yet wants Ga to pay for it?

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Really hope this proposal doesn't pass. My local FBO is on its last legs as it is, between high fuel prices and rising insurance premiums, and an increase in fuel taxes coupled with new user fees for all ATC and FSS services could be curtains for them. Having been to Oshkosh a few times, and seeing the intangible benefits of GA for kids first hand (drug-free environment with a strong sense of personal responsibility, and respect for history and the men who made it), I'm very hopeful that GA will still be an affordable proposition for my two preschool-aged boys in a decade or so. These new fees could sink that dream in a hurry.John G.

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>Also, we pay a higher tax than the airlines do. For private>use, avgas is taxed at 19.4

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I was referring to the comment suggesting that GA is most significantly for hobbyists.

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I have been planning to see how this shakes out before I start my rotor PPL. It's already expensive enough now without these increases. Any increase beyond what it is already and I will just stay a virtual pilot.________________________________________________________________________________________________Intel D975XBX2 'Bad Axe 2' | Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 @ 3.20Ghz | 2 GB Super Talent DDR2 800 @ 893Mhz | Big Typhoon VX | eVGA 8800GTS @ 575/900 | Seagate 2x 320GB SATA RAID-0 | OCZ GameXStream 700W | Creative X-Fi | Silverstone TJ-09BW | Matrox Triplehead Setup

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I'm very>hopeful that GA will still be an affordable proposition for my>two preschool-aged boys in a decade or so. These new fees>could sink that dream in a hurry.>>>John G.>>.And if global warming is ignored, your boys might not even have anywhere to takeoff from?'Waterworld' was a film, it could well become reality.

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Dave - Waterworld was science fiction, and long on "fiction". And I'm not prepared to sacrifice grassroots aviation, or our modern global economy, to a theory that might not even be correct. I grew up in the '70's watching Canadian environmental propaganda aimed at kids, predicting all kinds of dire consequences if we didn't change our dependence on fossil fuels. And none of those predictions came to pass, mostly because market-driven technology (with a little push from government regulations) resulted in cleaner, more efficient engines for cars and aircraft. And general aviation's turn is next, with a number of innovative new engines for small planes in development. But they'll never see the light of day if general aviation in the U.S. is strangled by this proposed new fee structure.New bumper sitcker idea: "They'll have to pry my $100 hamburger from my cold, dead fingers.":D

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Thanks for posting that. I'd encourage everyone to read the comments as well, because many of them state the GA side of the argument more persuasively than the original pro-airlines editorial does for its side, IMHO.Any article that purports to paint GA pilots like me as "wealthy individuals" worthy of excessive taxation misses the mark, IMHO. I don't feel very wealthy when I'm tooling around for 50 hours a year VFR in a 32-year-old Cessna 150 with faded paint and worn carpet, making minimal use of ATC services along the way. Lucky, yes, but wealthy, no.John G.

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{Sorry; First paragraph redacted... that's going too far. My sincerest apologies to anyone who read that and was offended by it. I am not racist or anti-semetic, and I do not intend to devalue the sacrifices of the holocaust.}I would have no problem giving consideration to the other side of this argument if it weren't a series of misrepresentations and biased half-truths designed to mislead the public and ensure that I can't fly anymore. This won't "force corporate jets from the runway" like the commenter in your linked article wishes, and it won't prevent the rich from jetting wherever they wish - They can afford to pay. It won't make ticket prices substantially cheaper - The airlines will lower prices by some token amount and pocket the remainder. It won't remove any tax burden from the public - The government will put that tax money to other uses, or in their own pockets. The only thing this does is ensure that myself and people like me can't fly.

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>You are right-highways and roads should also not be>subsidized by the general taxpayer either-after all cars are>also just another viable and practical form of>transportation. :-)>>By the way-Ga traffic makes up about 80% of the total air>traffic in the US-but uses an extrememly small proportion of>the services (most Ga traffic is vfr). Guess who uses the>majority-yet wants Ga to pay for it?the latest ATA offer excluded all piston driven aircraft from the bill. the AOPA appears more interested in representing NetJets and Corporate a/c than they do in the 172 and sr-22 ranks........

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>I would have no problem giving consideration to the other side>of this argument if it weren't a series of misrepresentations>and biased half-truths designed to mislead the public and>ensure that I can't fly anymore. This won't "force corporate>jets from the runway" like the commenter in your linked>article wishes, and it won't prevent the rich from jetting>wherever they wish - They can afford to pay. It won't make>ticket prices substantially cheaper - The airlines will lower>prices by some token amount and pocket the remainder. It won't>remove any tax burden from the public - The government will>put that tax money to other uses, or in their own pockets. The>only thing this does is ensure that myself and people like me>can't fly."my" arictle? i was simply showing you a discussion of BOTH sides of the aisle, or did you not read past the article?i am happy you realize what cheapskates airlines are though. the travelling public feeds on this though with their insatiable appetite for cheap air fare. the problem with the airline industry is bad management, but us looking in the mirror as we are also the problem.

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