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READERS WRITE: Air traffic: Responses to "Airborne rush hour," @issue, Sept. 5

READERS WRITE: Air traffic: Responses to "Airborne rush hour," @issue, Sept. 5
A fix needed to fly forward
The AJC editorial gave several false impressions about the FAA funding debate. The first is that if Congress doesn't do something by Sept. 30, the air traffic control system will suddenly stop. Wrong. Congress routinely passes funding extensions, and it's likely that this will happen again because the situation is complex and has proponents on both sides.

As to the debate itself, space will not allow a full rebuttal, but everyone must understand that all people in aviation, including private, corporate and airline operators, agree that additional funding is necessary for the NextGen air traffic control system. The debate is about the method for funding, whether through additional fuel taxes or through user fees.

Finally, I make a challenge. The next time you are waiting at Hartsfield-Jackson to take off, look around and tell me how many corporate jets you see "taking up space." The answer is most likely zero.

JEFF SCHLUETER, Schlueter of Sandy Springs is a private pilot.

Airlines trying to land more user fees

I was disappointed that the AJC had swallowed uncritically the airlines' campaign to flimflam the public into paying still more of their bills. I pilot both business jet charters and small, light aircraft, and am a frequent airline passenger. The airlines' arguments, which you parrot, are intentionally misleading.

Aside from the weather, which user fees can't cure, air traffic delays result from too many airliners trying to use too few runways at the same time during the airlines' massive hub-and-spoke traffic surges. Airlines such as AirTran, Southwest and Jet Blue, that fly point-to-point, have far fewer delays than Delta and American, that fly hub-and-spoke. Business jets, which avoid hub airports like the plague, have nothing to do with it.

While it is true that general aviation aircraft must use the same air traffic system as the airlines, that system was custom-designed for the airlines' special needs. General aviation could do with a vastly simpler and cheaper system. Cars use the same interstate freeways that heavy trucks use, but the roads are built massive and expensive for trucks. So trucks pay much more in taxes, though we all pay fuel taxes. That's fair. If the intent is to provide FAA with ample, reliable funding, the answer is the bipartisan House bill, H.R. 2881. Not user fees.


High school grads are great performers

Georgia politicians such as school superintendent Kathy Cox want to put a happy face on Georgia's dismal SAT scores by referencing participation rates that are high in comparison to other states. This is hogwash. Sadly, the AJC and other media outlets fail to point out that Georgia has one of the highest dropout rates in the country. So those who make it to senior year and take the test are truly the creme-da-la-creme of our high schools. And they are performing horribly. Come on AJC, tell the whole story.


By: Jeff Schlueter, Stephen D. Leonard, Michael McCann
For the Journal-Constitution

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