Tag Archives: FAA

Happy Trails, Part 48

Not quite four years ago I wrote a blog post worrying about the potential advent of in-flight cell phone use.

As far as I know, the Federal Aviation Administration hasn’t allowed passengers to gab out loud at 35,000 feet into their cell phones.

Which brings me to this point: My wife and I are planning to spend the vast bulk of our retirement years tethered to terra firma traveling in our RV across North America.

Air travel has become difficult enough as it is. We have been fortunate and blessed enough to be able to travel by air over the years since 9/11: Greece, Scandinavia, Israel, Germany, The Netherlands, Belize, Hawaii.

Almost all of those flights have been pleasant. The one that will stand out for the rest of my life was the flight from Frankfurt, Germany to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport while sitting across an aisle from a toddler who screamed at the top of his lungs for 10 whole hours.

I cannot fathom for a single instant how I might have reacted had I been forced to listen to some yahoo blabbing on his cell phone for that entire time, too.

I trust the FAA will keep its wits and never in a zillion years allow such in-flight idiocy to occur.

I do know that my wife and I plan to continue our travel aboard our pickup and fifth wheel RV. There will be no such nonsense to endure while tooling along our nation’s highways and byways.

Please, please, FAA: no cellphones in flight

 

Sully weighs in on goofy idea

Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger became an American aviation icon in the span of just a few minutes.

His jet airliner took off, ran into a flock of birds, lost power in both engines and Sully then had to make a split-second decision; he chose to land the aircraft in the Hudson River. He did so with precision and professionalism. No one was hurt.

Sully became a hero. They made a movie about his exploits; they cast Tom Hanks in the starring role as Sully; Clint Eastwood directed the film. So, when someone as iconic as Sully says it’s a mistake to privatize the nation’s air traffic control system, I believe his words are worth heeding.

The U.S. House is considering a plan to turn the air traffic control system over to a non-profit system; the White House has signed on as well.

It’s not as nutty a notion as turning prisons over to private firms, but this one is still pretty strange.

“I know what works and what doesn’t. Our air traffic control system is the best, the safest in the world,” Sullenberger says. “Why would we give such an important valuable national asset to the largest airlines — the same airlines … who often put expedience and cost-reduction ahead of the safety and welfare of others?”

Read more from The Hill here.

Indeed. Remember, too, how some of the major air carriers have suffered some serious public relations damage owing to the behavior of employees and their treatment of passengers. I have little faith in the airlines’ ability to handle the task of controlling air traffic.

I’m going to stand with an iconic pilot with 50 years of general aviation experience. If Sully says the air traffic control privatization idea stinks, that’s good enough for me.

Ted Cruz: Texas-sized embarrassment

Ted Cruz is my senator. I accept that he’s one of two men who serve in the U.S. Senate on behalf of Texas.

I didn’t vote for him in 2012. I likely never will vote for him for anything. Still, he’s my senator.

And that gives me the right to declare that I am ashamed of him. Deeply so, in fact. His latest shameful attack has been leveled at the State Department, the Federal Aviation Administration and the president of the United States over his idiotic suggestion that the FAA ban on U.S. flights to Israel is somehow intended to do actual harm to our strong ally in the Middle East.

http://www.politico.com/story/2014/07/ted-cruz-faa-ban-state-department-109322.html?hp=l21

This guy is a Harvard-educated lawyer, right? He’s supposed to be a bright guy, correct? What on God’s Earth is he suggesting here? It cannot possibly be that President Barack Obama actually wants Israel to be wiped off the map, which is what the Hamas terrorists want to happen.

Hamas launched the conflict in Gaza by firing rockets into Israel. The Israelis have responded with tremendous force to put down the uprising. The terrorists have ratcheted up their own response by landing a rocket near the major international airport outside of Tel Aviv.

The FAA suspended U.S.-carrier flights for less than two days. The ban has been lifted. Cruz, though, has suggested the FAA, the State Department and the White House are politically motivated, that they want to harm Israel.

Commentators on the left have compared Cruz’s fire-breathing rhetoric to the stuff that came out of Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s mouth in the 1950s, when he accused the State Department of hiring communists.

I’m wondering now if Ted Cruz’s reckless implications today will produce the kind of response that McCarthy drew from his critics.

Flight ban was no embargo

The Federal Aviation Administration has lifted its brief ban on commercial U.S. jet service to David Ben-Gurion International Airport.

Did the FAA knuckle under to some ridiculous political criticism? I hope not.

http://www.politico.com/story/2014/07/faa-lifts-flight-ban-to-tel-aviv-109319.html?hp=r5

The FAA had banned the flights into Tel Aviv’s air terminal, citing security concerns created by Hamas’s rocket attacks on Israeli civilians. One rocket landed about a mile from Ben-Gurion, causing the FAA to suspend U.S. air carrier service to the massive airport.

Then came the ridiculousness from the likes of former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. Their complaint? They called the flight-service suspension an “economic embargo on Israel” that punished the Israelis unfairly.

Bloomberg even went so far as to board an Israeli El Al Airlines jet from New York to Tel Aviv, and fly to Israel to make some kind of bombastic statement criticizing the suspension.

Cruz, of course, wasted no time plastering this decision — which was made independently by the FAA — on President Obama. This has become a common theme from Cruz and other loudmouthed Republican lawmakers: Let’s be sure to politicize this any way we can and, oh yes, be sure to put the blame squarely on the president; and in this case, let’s be sure to imply that he is following some kind of “anti-Israel” policy, which of course is standard for someone with “pro-Muslim” leanings.

Their stupidity is mind-boggling.

And to think Republicans still rail at those who — they contend — still want to blame George W. Bush for the nation’s economic mess and all these foreign-policy crises.

Well, the ban on U.S. carriers’ flights to David Ben-Gurion has lifted. That’s a good thing. The FAA assessed the security risk and determined that it’s OK to fly there.

Take it from me, as one who’s flown in and out of that terminal: You haven’t lived until you’ve been interrogated by an Israeli airport security official prior to boarding an outbound flight from David Ben-Gurion International Airport.

They know how to protect themselves against terrorist attacks.

As for the FAA, they were being extra cautious. Given the stakes involved, I’m glad they locked down those flights.

FCC has lost its collective mind

I have drawn this clear and unequivocal conclusion about the Federal Communications Commission.

Most of its members have lost their minds. They need to be committed, institutionalized, given treatment. They need an intervention of some kind.

This news is horrifying to the extreme.

The FCC has voted 3-2 to consider lifting its ban on in-flight cell phone use by airline passengers.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/12/travel/fcc-cell-phones-on-airplanes/

I’ll concede right now that humanity has made plenty of terrible decisions. Enslaving human beings perhaps is tops. Going to war is right up there.

However, I’m thinking that the day we allow passengers to yap to their hearts’ content at 30,000 feet above the planet’s surface while sitting in cramped seats next to other passengers just might rank with the worst decisions in all of human history.

What might happen next? Beats me. The FCC vote means only that the panel will consider it. The Federal Aviation Administration has to sign off on it as well, given that the FAA regulate air travel.

I’ve said before that a decision to allow this kind of activity aboard commercial aircraft is likely to spell the end of my domestic air travel forever. I also know that I hardly am alone in this belief.

Flight attendants and their union leadership are adamantly opposed to allowing it. I daresay that flight deck officers are opposed as well. I also believe a majority of air passengers oppose this notion.

So, how is it that the FCC even can consider this ridiculous notion?

Therein may lie the origin of the assertion I made at the top of this blog.

Three of the FCC’s five members have lost their minds.

Say it ain’t so, airline companies

I awoke this morning, walked out of the bedroom and heard the chatter from the TV and what I heard was the most horrifying bit of travel news I’ve heard in years — and it had nothing to do with crappy weather.

What I heard was that airline companies might be considering lifting the ban on in-flight cell phone use by passengers.

That is the worst news I’ve ever heard as it relates to any form of travel.

The Federal Aviation Administration recently lifted the ban on in-flight use of other electronic devices: I-Pads, laptops, those sorts of gadgets.

But cell phones? Oh, my goodness.

The “Good Morning America” talking heads said this morning that it will take “up to a year” to decide whether to allow this idiocy on board jetliners.

The initial reaction from flight attendants is encouraging: They hate it … with a passion.

Passengers aren’t happy about it, either. One guy compared the annoyance of sitting next to someone blabbing on a cell phone to “sitting next to a crying baby.” I disagree. The cell phone user is much worse. The crying baby doesn’t know any better. The moron flapping his/her gums on a cell phone on a crowded airplane certainly does know better.

The FAA will have to consider this one very carefully if it’s halfway serious about lifting the ban. Any decision to allow this kind of activity aboard a jetliner is going to guarantee that I never — not ever — will fly commercially again.

I hope I’m not alone. Indeed, I suspect the threat of losing millions of other passengers just might be enough to persuade airline companies and federal regulators to scrap this idiotic idea.

Please, please, FAA: no cellphones in flight

The Federal Aviation Administration has just removed restrictions on the use of electronic devices in flight.

Airplane passengers now can play Internet games, surf the Web, send emails … all that kind of stuff.

Has doomsday just inched a little closer?

I refer to the possibility of the FAA lifting restrictions on in-flight cellphone use. I hereby beg the flight regulators to never, ever let that occur.

I am ignorant as to how the technology works at 30,000-plus feet in the air. I guess these gadgets can pick up a signal from somewhere to operate. As for cellphones, I always have presumed they run on towers back on Earth. You get too far from a tower and you lose your connection.

There’s a fundamental issue involved with allowing cellphones aboard commercial airliners. It’s called “passenger safety.”

So help me — and I’m not alone in stating this — I don’t know what I would do if I had to sit for any length of time next to a passenger gabbing on a cellphone about nothing in particular.

I hope my fear about the FAA’s next step is unfounded. I hope the regulators understand the risk that passengers are putting on themselves if the FAA allows them to gab incessantly on cellphones while cruising tens of thousands of feet above Earth’s surface.

I’m OK with allowing emails and Internet surfing. But the FAA has just reached the outer limit of what I believe is acceptable aboard a commercial airplane.