The Lost Promises

So, Reveille sounds at 0530 this morning as it always does for me.  Only I know longer hear the bugler or the voice over the 1MC calling, “Reveille, Reveille, Reveille, all hands turn…”  After years of hearing the calls, I just wake up naturally now.

One morning after rousing awake a while back, I was going through different websites.  I was on Avweb, a great source of aviation news.  A letter titled, “What Happened to the LSA Dream?” appeared in their features and columns under “Avmail.”

Wow!  Did this one ever hit home!

The author of the letter remembered, as I do, when industry leaders made promises: Flying airplanes for $30,000 and kits for $15,000.  “A plane in every garage!”

This is just not the way real life is.  Again, as with almost every facet of our lives, the insurance industry has created a great deal of the problem.  At least, many industry leaders now report this problem as the main reason as to why their new LSA airplanes cost $80,000 and more.  And there is research available to bear the truth of what is happening to be Big Three – Beech, Cessna, and Piper.

Product liability is out of control.  Frivolous lawsuits have to stop – they are impacting the American Dream.  Wait!  Let’s rephrase that; the gratuitous lawsuits are quickly destroying the American Dream.

Back when I was a student pilot in the early 1970s, I flew all over the southern half of Florida.  Somewhere in the garage, I have an old Miami sectional from 1972 that has all my training cross-countries lined out.  On that chart are dozens of little grass airstrips – Mom and Pop flying schools and FBOs.

Today, only one or two remain. 

This is not an exaggeration.  Increasing insurance premiums and the threat of frivolous lawsuits literally closed almost all of those easy access general aviation airports.  Now the industry has forced those of us who would rather operate off grass runways onto concrete, asphalt, or some other hard surface – runways to which we would prefer not to expose our tires.

In these times, most pilots would not know what to do with an airplane that had to operate off a grass surface…


© 2011 J. Clark

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