Atc privatization

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drseti
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Re: Atc privatization

Postby drseti » Sun Sep 24, 2017 10:58 pm

All,
Remember the basic non-towered airport radio protocol, which has us all say the intended recipient at the beginning, and the end, of each transmission? Well, this forum is a shared frequency too, so perhaps a similar procedure might be in order here.
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
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chicagorandy
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Re: Atc privatization

Postby chicagorandy » Sun Sep 24, 2017 11:29 pm

No interest in a fracas, but I could use an education. I'm starting off with no bias one way or the other, but it does seem to be a 'hot' topic.

I've yet to do any personal research on the subject of privatization beyond knowing first-hand NOT wanting it was purt near the 'theme' at AirVenture Oshkosh this year.

Air safety is of course the primary purpose and I have NO problems with that, I do find it almost amazing that most any government program functions at lower cost and higher efficiency than a private concern could offer. I dunno. Would an Amazon ATC be able to do it better, faster cheaper? I'd have to wager they could do it more 'modernly'.

The article mentioned Europe as being a privatized success? Is that true? And how would their traffic volumes compare to US major cities?

The article also strongly suggests that nothing is going to actually get done in Washington, and there is a school of thought that the less THEY do, the better off we all are - lol

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MrMorden
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Re: Atc privatization

Postby MrMorden » Mon Sep 25, 2017 9:44 am

TimTaylor wrote:I would think telling someone to "screw themselves" might be a bigger reason for banning.


Maybe. It would be totally worth it. :D
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Re: Atc privatization

Postby MrMorden » Mon Sep 25, 2017 10:07 am

chicagorandy wrote:No interest in a fracas, but I could use an education. I'm starting off with no bias one way or the other, but it does seem to be a 'hot' topic.

I've yet to do any personal research on the subject of privatization beyond knowing first-hand NOT wanting it was purt near the 'theme' at AirVenture Oshkosh this year.

Air safety is of course the primary purpose and I have NO problems with that, I do find it almost amazing that most any government program functions at lower cost and higher efficiency than a private concern could offer. I dunno. Would an Amazon ATC be able to do it better, faster cheaper? I'd have to wager they could do it more 'modernly'.

The article mentioned Europe as being a privatized success? Is that true? And how would their traffic volumes compare to US major cities?

The article also strongly suggests that nothing is going to actually get done in Washington, and there is a school of thought that the less THEY do, the better off we all are - lol


Personally, I think the primary resistance to privatization is "that's not the way we've always done it." It's the same reason we have primarily carbureted engines, in spite of the fact that carburetors on automobiles have been banned for thirty years. Aviation is insanely reluctant to embrace any changes; part of that is warranted conservatism in the interest of safety, but a large amount of it is an anti-innovation "we should do things the way they've always been done" mindset.

I'm not sure Europe is a good model for us to emulate, since they have onerous fees for even small airplanes. A better model is the Canadian "Nav Canada" system, which is fully privatized, and has won awards as "best ATC system worldwide" for several years. Their model puts the primary burden on large air carriers (who see the most ATC benefit), with small airplanes under 6000lb or so paying a nominal fee annually based on gross weight for unlimited use of the system, something like $70 per year for something up to Cessna 182 size...very minimal.
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Re: Atc privatization

Postby drseti » Mon Sep 25, 2017 10:23 am

Andy, I knew most cars were fuel injected, but had no knowledge of carburetors ever being banned. Can you cite a reference? My carbureted Rotax 912ULS is 20 pounds lighter than its fuel injected counterpart, the 912iS. In already weight-challenged LSAs, this is significant, so I see no reason not to continue using carbs where they show some sort of advantage. (BTW, of my four motorcycles, three are carbureted, and only one is fuel injected).

As for the modest fees charged for GA ATC in Canada, I can cite numerous examples of services once offered for free, which were then allowed to charge a very modest fee, which itself crept up over the years to unreasonable proportions. This happens both in government and in private enterprises, which is why I am as opposed to FAA user fees as I am to ATC privatization. Once an entity (whether private or government) is given the authority to tax, that tax never goes away, and consistently rises.

Economics aside, I have major safety concerns. Canada seems to be able to pull it off, but their air traffic is a small fraction of ours in the US. And, god forbid there should ever be another 9/11, do you think any private enterprise could get everybody on the ground as quickly and efficiently as DoT did under Norm Mineta's leadership? (I don't often praise George W.'s administration, but this is a case where they did things right.) When public safety is involved, I have no problem with it being entrusted to public entities.
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
Prof H Paul Shuch
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Re: Atc privatization

Postby MrMorden » Mon Sep 25, 2017 11:40 am

drseti wrote:Andy, I knew most cars were fuel injected, but had no knowledge of carburetors ever being banned. Can you cite a reference? My carbureted Rotax 912ULS is 20 pounds lighter than its fuel injected counterpart, the 912iS. In already weight-challenged LSAs, this is significant, so I see no reason not to continue using carbs where they show some sort of advantage. (BTW, of my four motorcycles, three are carbureted, and only one is fuel injected).

As for the modest fees charged for GA ATC in Canada, I can cite numerous examples of services once offered for free, which were then allowed to charge a very modest fee, which itself crept up over the years to unreasonable proportions. This happens both in government and in private enterprises, which is why I am as opposed to FAA user fees as I am to ATC privatization. Once an entity (whether private or government) is given the authority to tax, that tax never goes away, and consistently rises.

Economics aside, I have major safety concerns. Canada seems to be able to pull it off, but their air traffic is a small fraction of ours in the US. And, god forbid there should ever be another 9/11, do you think any private enterprise could get everybody on the ground as quickly and efficiently as DoT did under Norm Mineta's leadership? (I don't often praise George W.'s administration, but this is a case where they did things right.) When public safety is involved, I have no problem with it being entrusted to public entities.



"Banned" was the wrong word. In the mid-1980s the EPA mandated fuel emissions and economy standards for light passenger vehicles which were essentially impossible for carbureted engines to meet. There was no ban, but instead a de facto ban created by the standards. As a result, no passenger cars in the USA were manufactured with a carb much past about 1990.

Fuel injection being heavier than carbs is an implementation issue, not a set-in-stone fact. The Rotax intake could be made of plastic instead of cast aluminum, and could use lots of other lightweight components. It also has a stupendous amount of redundancy, that adds weight. Pointing to one particular engine and saying "see, fuel injection is a heavy pig!" doesn't really tell the full story. BTW, I agree carbs are fine. But they are not modern or efficient comparatively. If Rotax had worked hard to keep the dry weight of the engines the same, the 912iS would be flying off the shelves and nobody would find much fault with one. Weight is really the ONLY disadvantage.

It sounds like you are saying that fees or taxes, charged by private or public entities, increase over time. I agree, but that is an argument neither for nor against either type of payment. Again, the structure of any proposal determines whether I'm for it or against it, not whether it's public or private.

"When public safety is involved, I have no problem with it being entrusted to public entities." Okay. But ATC does not exist in a vacuum. What about the stellar safety record of the airlines, all of which are private? I don't think you can say safety is purely in the sphere of government. Could the 9/11 ground have happened as well with a private ATC system? I don't know, but neither do you, because it's never been attempted. Unknowable.

One nice thing about private entities: they have both criminal and civil liability. They screw up, you can sue them or put them in jail. Public entities have sovereign immunity, and can only be held accountable if the entity waives that immunity or the court rules that it doesn't apply. A public ATC controller can smash two 747s together, and NO charges can be filed or damages recovered unless one of the preceding mentioned conditions is met.
Andy Walker
Athens, GA
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2007 Flight Design CTSW E-LSA

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Re: Atc privatization

Postby foresterpoole » Mon Sep 25, 2017 1:25 pm

MrMorden wrote:One nice thing about private entities: they have both criminal and civil liability. They screw up, you can sue them or put them in jail. Public entities have sovereign immunity, and can only be held accountable if the entity waives that immunity or the court rules that it doesn't apply. A public ATC controller can smash two 747s together, and NO charges can be filed or damages recovered unless one of the preceding mentioned conditions is met.
[/quote]

You know you actually my be onto something I have never thought of: Who in their right mind would underwrite that type of liability or work under those conditions? It's easy to say let's put it into the private sector, but what happens if two controllers do in fact lead to a metal bending (and good lord forbid) large casualty incident? Even if an underwriter would cover the claim, I'd doubt they would renew the policy the next year, or the premiums would be so sky high (pun intended) that the added costs could either bankrupt the company or cause a dramatic price increase trying to cover it. Add the controller's themselves into the mix, even if they were not at fault, some lawyer will see them as scapegoats and try to pin it on them. Most insurance companies will settle rather than go to court (we see this in the trucking industry all the time), which really just creates vultures (lawyers) who will sue you for an accident that was not even your fault, but might have a payday. What's to stop the "I was late because of ATC routing so I'm going to sue you for the cost of the Brides dress and the cost of the wedding we missed (It's asinine, but it HAPPENED and the trucking company settled). While we enjoy the safe and friendly skies, someone is thinking of a worst case loss incident and the dollars signs (possibly billions) that just one incident could create.

This might be in the weeds, but does anyone know how Canada or Europe handles the liability end of their systems???
Ed

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Re: Atc privatization

Postby MrMorden » Mon Sep 25, 2017 1:47 pm

foresterpoole wrote:
MrMorden wrote:One nice thing about private entities: they have both criminal and civil liability. They screw up, you can sue them or put them in jail. Public entities have sovereign immunity, and can only be held accountable if the entity waives that immunity or the court rules that it doesn't apply. A public ATC controller can smash two 747s together, and NO charges can be filed or damages recovered unless one of the preceding mentioned conditions is met.


You know you actually my be onto something I have never thought of: Who in their right mind would underwrite that type of liability or work under those conditions? It's easy to say let's put it into the private sector, but what happens if two controllers do in fact lead to a metal bending (and good lord forbid) large casualty incident? Even if an underwriter would cover the claim, I'd doubt they would renew the policy the next year, or the premiums would be so sky high (pun intended) that the added costs could either bankrupt the company or cause a dramatic price increase trying to cover it. Add the controller's themselves into the mix, even if they were not at fault, some lawyer will see them as scapegoats and try to pin it on them. Most insurance companies will settle rather than go to court (we see this in the trucking industry all the time), which really just creates vultures (lawyers) who will sue you for an accident that was not even your fault, but might have a payday. What's to stop the "I was late because of ATC routing so I'm going to sue you for the cost of the Brides dress and the cost of the wedding we missed (It's asinine, but it HAPPENED and the trucking company settled). While we enjoy the safe and friendly skies, someone is thinking of a worst case loss incident and the dollars signs (possibly billions) that just one incident could create.

This might be in the weeds, but does anyone know how Canada or Europe handles the liability end of their systems???


It's no different from airlines and airline crews. They have a very high incentive to "get it right" and not cause incidents, and so they are generally very successful at it. You can't sue an airline because you don't make a meeting, because they have terms of service about that, and generally courts agree that delays are a known risk of air travel. Just like you can't sue the power company because a storm knocks out your power for two hours and makes you miss an episode of Gilligan's Island.

There are many mission-critical functions performed by private companies, and they survive the liability problem. Sometimes they have to write big checks or send an employee to jail, but most of the time they do okay.
Andy Walker
Athens, GA
Sport Pilot ASEL, LSRI
2007 Flight Design CTSW E-LSA


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