Around the Airport

Thursday, November 20, 2014

FAA, The Original EPA


Did you feel that America?  When you woke up, could you sense the change in your status?  Only yesterday you were an upstanding citizen merely washing your car as your kids played with their radio controlled quad-copter.  Today though you’re the parent of criminals doing something that could cost you tens of thousands of dollars in fines.  What is it?  It’s their toy of course.  Haven’t you heard?
If you’ve been following politics in 2014, you most surely have heard about the EPA’s attempt to regulate non-navigable waterways.  What are non-navigable waterways?   Well, in short, they’re that ditch in your yard and the pond you built into the landscaping.  Yes, that’s right.  The EPA wants to have regulatory control of your ditch.  And what does that mean to you?  For starters, washing your car at home could generate huge fines if it can be determined anything other than pure water flowed off your vehicle and into the drain.  Even silt, fine dirt, could land you in big trouble.   Crazy isn’t it?  But that’s not your problem.

No, your problem is that cute little 8” toy quad-copter you bought your kids.  As of November 18th, that toy falls under the jurisdiction of the FAA.  And, like every plane in the country, it is subject to the rules of airspace.   But wait, you’re off the hook because your kids aren’t flying their toy in any airspace, right?  Wrong!  It’s time to get educated.
You see, the FAA was the original EPA.  In fact, in many ways the FAA was, and still is, a primary incubator for onerous government oversight ideas.  Long before the EPA, TSA, DOE, and others, the FAA had established itself as an eight headed hydra willing to test the governmental limits of ethics, bureaucracy, and common sense.  It restricted free enterprise, stood in the way of advancement, made up rules on the fly, told pilots how they could live, companies when they could operate, and collected data on everyone so it could be used against them should the need arise.

The amount of medical information alone that is collected on pilots would startle most civil liberties champions.  If you want to enjoy the greatest freedom known to man, you’re going to have to tell them if you have herpes.  Whatever the condition, real, possible, or imagined, the FAA insists on knowing about it when you renew the medical required to have a license.  And just to be sure you don’t forget to list a doctor’s visit, occasionally they find some poor soul who forgot to report a trip to the emergency room for a cut to the hand and fine her a couple grand and take her license just to make a point; DON’T CROSS US OR YOU’LL BE SORRY.   On its finest day, it is a disgusting, irregular, vindictive beast ruled by agents that would make the Matrix envious.

If you’re getting concerned, you should be.   Would you like to know how your kids were turned into criminals?  Basically speaking, the NTSB is to the FAA what the FISA court is to any government agency that wants to snoop on Americans.   Little more than a federal organization designed to find the most convoluted and expensive solutions to problems that don’t exist, the NTSB rules so often in favor of the FAA that to describe it as often isn’t telling the whole story.  The official story, just like the FISA court, is that it is unbiased and makes decisions based on facts and logic.  The real story is that the NTSB lives and breathes to give support to any governmental agency, especially the FAA, anytime it asks for backup.  And guess what, the FAA asked for it.
Yes, just like that poor soul who forgot her visit to the ER, a gentleman was recently targeted for using his quad-copter, also commonly called a drone, to capture some video of the University of Virginia.  The FAA, for whatever reason, got involved and decided to make an example of Mr. Pirker.  A $10,000 fine is what he got for “operating an aircraft in a careless and reckless manner”.  That’s the catch all phrase the FAA has used to kneecap pilots for generations.  Like a cop planting drugs on a clean driver, when the FAA has nothing on a pilot but really wants to get the bust, this is the wording they use.  Fortunately though, a federal judge disagreed with their verdict and overturned the fine.  That’s when the agency called their friends at the NTSB.

You know where this is going, don't you?  Upon hearing the case, the NTSB ruled in favor of the FAA.  Unfortunately for your kids, in order to pass this judgement on Mr. Pirker, they also had to define what an aircraft was.  This is what they came up with – any device used for flight in air to include manned or unmanned, large or small.   Did you get that?   The NTSB just gave the FAA regulatory control over everything from spaceships to paper airplanes.  Did I mention that includes the airspace all the way to the ground?
Just in case you’re sitting there in disbelief, for the purpose of clarity, let me spell it out .  The FAA now has regulatory control over ever square inch of airspace in your yard starting at ground level.  If you fly a model anywhere in that airspace you are subject to FAA interpretations of use and you could be fined.  Of course, with them having achieved this so easily, I’m sure the EPA is insanely jealous and will be working overtime to get control of your ditch.  If you don’t want to be fined for the water dripping off your car, you better call your representatives and give them an earful.  Sadly though, it’s too late for your kids.  They’re practically felons and all they did was enjoy the great American dream of flight.
Sorry, kid; you shouldn't have been filming your dog with that toy.

1 comment:

FOGGY said...

Yeah,
The "water in the ditch" thing was first implemented in the good old People's Republic of California (where I used to live for 30 years) back in the early '90's.

I would have a hard time remembering all the "visits to a health professionaL" recently - the ER in McMinnville, cuz my kid bro. thought my blood vessels would explode from high blood pressure .... it didn't, and after two hours of lying on a gurney wired to the hilt, the ER staff dismissed me without any treatment; since I had a doctor's appointment a few days later, and there were no symptoms associated with the risks of hypertension - which I've had since high school.

Oh, and then there's that visit (X3) to the foot doctor for plantar fasciitis..... oh, and then the dentist a week later to extract a couple of teeth .... WHEW !! I'll need a full page or two to list all those visits, dates, times, facilities, addresses, doctors, nurses, PA's, Hygienists, ultrasound techs, etc. etc.

God forbid you should have a hangar at an airport that accepts Federal grants; cuz the Federation to Abolish Airplanes will own you. A box of tissues on a table with a desk lamp on it, that is next to a fridge with (GASP) beer inside is illegal, along with all those airplane parts strewn about the floor; as they are all considered a "non-aeronautical activity". How DARE I have such sacrilegious objects fraternizing with my powered parachute ( not to mention the enclosed trailer to house the PPC, or the Van to pull the trailer.

When I die, I am going right straight to Hell. I hear there's a lot of thermal activity there. Always wanted to get a glider rating.

"Bravo Zulu" ....... "FOGGY" :)