Monday, September 26, 2011

Petition to to remove "Aviation User Fees" from Obama's budget proposal

There's a petition on the "We the People" section of to remove "Aviation User Fees" from Obama's proposal. Sign the petition here:

It's worth mentioning that the petition acknowledges the need for additional taxes, and every pilot I've talked to agrees that an increase in existing tax revenues would be preferable to adding the infrastructure, bureaucracy, and overhead needed to collect a $100 fee for ATC interaction.

In case you're interested, Here's Obama's proposal:

Here's the exact text proposing "User Fees:" (pp. 22-23)

More equitably share payments for air traffic services.

Roughly two-thirds of the air traffic control system’s current costs are financed by aviation excise taxes.  Most of the tax revenue is collected from commercial aviation through ticket taxes, segment fees, international head taxes, and fuel taxes. General aviation users currently pay a fuel tax, but this revenue does not cover their fair-share-use of air traffic services. All flights that use controlled air space require a similar level of air traffic services. However, commercial and general aviation can pay very different aviation fees for those same air traffic services. For example, a large commercial aircraft would pay between $1,300 to $2,000 in taxes for a flight from Los Angles to San Francisco while a corporate jet flying the same route and using the same Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) air traffic services would pay about $60 in taxes. To reduce the deficit and more equitably share the cost of air traffic services across the aviation user community, the Administration proposes to establish a new mandatory surcharge for air traffic services. This proposal would create a $100 per flight fee, payable to the FAA, by aviation operators who fly in controlled airspace. Military aircraft, public aircraft, recreational piston aircraft, air ambulances, aircraft operating outside of controlled airspace, and Canada-to-Canada flights would be exempted. The revenues generated by the surcharge would be deposited into the Airport and Airway Trust Fund.  This fee would generate an estimated $11 billion over 10 years. Assuming the enactment of the fee, total charges collected from aviation users would finance roughly three fourths of airport investments and air traffic control system costs.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Unusual aircraft at Shafter-Minter airport

On our way back from Las Vegas, my coworker August and I stopped for lunch and fuel at Shafter-Minter Airport (KMIT). There were some unusual aircraft parked there, including two crop-dusting helicopters and a Fouga Magister jet.

Friday, May 6, 2011

10th Anniversary of my First Solo

May 1st, 2011 marked the 10th anniversary of my first time leaving the Earth in an aircraft alone. I had been planning a flight over the Sierra Nevada mountains near Yosemite into the high desert, and conditions on 5/1 were perfect. Below are my photos from the trip.

Sorry about the lack of detail (especially in the Sierra Nevada mountains) - the side windows on my airplane are crazed and in need of replacement. Soon, I promise.

Set 1: Flying over the Sierra Nevada Mountains via Mammoth Pass:

Set 2: Flying from Bishop, CA to Beatty, NV over Death Valley:

The desert photos are my favorite. I have to go back there and explore some more. The world is just different out here, compared to the forest and field covered Southeast.

Edit: If you're wondering, here's (roughly) my route of flight:

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Flying over Lake Tahoe

I took the Cessna 172 up to Lake Tahoe just to see some snow. ;) I didn't have the Canon with me, so these shots were taken with my HTC Evo phone.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Flying around San Francisco

It's time to take the Cessna in for annual maintenance again. Yippee!! It was a beautiful day, though, so I decided to take the scenic route from Palo Alto airport (KPAO) to Livermore, CA (KLVK) via the Golden Gate Bridge. I snapped some photos along the route:

Capitola by the Sea

Jan 17th was a very warm day in NorCal. Kim, Will and I set off towards the coast in search of some beach lounging. I took these photos in Capitola Beach, just south of Santa Cruz, CA.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Quick & Dirty theory on mcwolles' "Waterfall"

mcwolles made an amazing 3d working representation of M.C. Escher's "Waterfall" :

It is nothing short of awesome. Below is my quick & dirty guess as to how it works: