Members of my family know how NUTS I’ve been about airplanes all my life. I even had the blessing of having a boss who owned a Cessna 172 and would entice me to better sales performance by offering little rewards of brief flying lessons.
I had actually been thinking of taking some professional lessons here in Baltimore until the past week when I read a series being done in USA Today entitled “Unfit for Flight.”
The series tells how the FAA practically ignores the manufacturers of private planes, allowing some manufacturers to sell brand new planes having the safety features only required back in the 1970s. The Piper Cherokee that killed JFK jr is an example of such “grandfathering” of safety laws.
I wrote an irate letter to the editors of USA Today, and yesterday they called me and said that it would be published. Here it is:
Letter to the editor of USA Today:
In light of my previous negative experience working in industries impacted by various federal and state regulatory agencies, I have been following your series “Unfit for Flight” with growing and heated indignation. Your series dramatically enforces my long-held opinion that these agencies, overwhelmingly stuffed with executives and cronies from the very industries each agency is supposed to be regulating are really there for the purpose of promoting the regulated industry, not for protecting the public. Of course, there is some weight to the argument that these corporate insiders’ technical and subject-matter expertise is needed in order to understand and make wise decisions regarding the policies and regulations that they promulgate. However, wouldn’t it be better to have these agencies staffed by representatives of the public they serve, with perhaps one or two subject-matter experts from the industry being regulated? Perhaps such a solution is way too “populistic” for today’s age of corporate bullyhood.