Stupid National Security Trix

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by IJ Reilly, Jul 25, 2003.

  1. macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #1
    A few days ago I alluded to the arbitrary and capricious restrictions being placed on general aviation in the name of "national security." One example is the essentially free-floating 30 nm temporary flight restriction area (known as a TFR) following all of the President's movements outside of Washington (which is covered by an effectively permanent restriction of its own). The outcomes can be comically ludicrous, as in this case, but it is also quite easy to see where the promulgation of rules lacking any logic beyond political convenience can threaten lives and liberties.

     
  2. macrumors 601

    Backtothemac

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    #2
    My best friend is a private pilot here, and recently was given notice about the 30 nautical mile restriction. When people file flight paths that day the FAA will notify them of all flight restrictions. Thus, it was the pilots mistake.

    This is a good policy, especially if it were to save the life of the President.
     
  3. thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #3
    No, not quite. Filing a flight plan is not required for VFR flight. Consequently, they are only rarely filed for VFR flight, which accounts for something like 90% of all general aviation operations. These rolling TFRs have also caused extensive groundings of aircraft based at airports unlucky to find themselves in proximity to one of the President's fund raising trips.

    This is terrible policy. It is nonsensical, and it is unfair, and ineffective besides.
     
  4. macrumors 601

    Backtothemac

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    #4
    You do not have to file a flight plan for VFR, or IFR, but you are an idiot if you don't. This is direct quote from my father who has been a pilot for over 40 years. And you always cancel the plan when you reach the destination. So, I don't know who gave you your stats, but their wrong.
     
  5. macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #5
    there are a lot of things/people inconvenienced whenever a top official like the president travels. having a moving restricted airspace is, imo, simply a reality.

    i'd seen articles of town/cities that bush has visited where his mere presence had blown police overtime budgets for the year. personally, i think the fed should reimburse for such things (unless it's political rally -- then the party should). but needing such security is a reality.
     
  6. macrumors 68000

    pivo6

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    #6
    I have to agree with BTTM. My father in law was a pilot and despite only being rated for VFR, he always filed a flight plan. Is it necessary? I think it is. Does it inconvenience some? Sure. When the President travels in a town, they always block off the roads, even interstate highways. I don't find this much different.
     
  7. thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #7
    Flight plans are required for all IFR operations. Most general aviation pilots are either not instrument rated or instrument current, and even for rated and current instrument pilots flying an IFR certified airplane, IFR is still not a practical alternative for many operations, including the one in question. It also makes no sense to "cancel the plan when you reach the destination," because by then, by definition, you don't have a flight plan because it's closed.

    I don't know what "stats" of mine you think are wrong, but assuming it's a reference to the proportion of IFR vs. VFR general aviation operations, this is a figure that comes from the weeks after 9-11, when VFR flight was prohibited and then greatly restricted.
     
  8. thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #8
    There's little equivalency here. First, the street closures don't cover nearly 1,000 square miles, and prevent anyone from driving a private vehicle within that area. Can you imagine the howls of protest from drivers if they did? But that is precisely what is happening in general aviation. Second, these presidential TFRs pop up with little advance notice, creating a huge trip-and-fall hazard for all VFR pilots. Can a pilot find out about them? Sure, and most will check -- but the system is hardly foolproof. So, third, if a pilot happens to blunder into a presidential TFR, the risk of having their craft turned into chaff is unreasonably high. That's a pretty severe penalty for missing the most current information, don't you think?

    This, btw, is only one example of the many nonsensical restrictions placed on general aviation after 9-11. Fact is, general aviation has been made a convenient whipping-boy for national security.

    Very, very few general aviation pilots file VFR flight plans. I don't know of a single one who does it frequently, let alone for every flight.
     
  9. macrumors 68000

    mcrain

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    #9
    Why did the secret service not know that the president was travelling within a certain distance of a pipeline was was regularly patrolled by VFR, low-flying aircraft?

    You can blame the pilot all you want, but there also has to be a little blame for the SS's failure to look a little into the future and anticipate problems like that.
     
  10. macrumors 601

    Backtothemac

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    #10
    Um, yea, you have to cancel or close the flight plan when you reach the destination, and of the 10 pilots I spoke to this morning that I know, all said the same thing. You ALWAYS file a flight plan. If you do not, then how are they going to know where to look for you if things go wrong.

    As said earlier, it is good sense to do this and is no different than making motorists take different routes when the Presidents limo is coming through. Would you say the same thing if it was a Dem in the White House? I think not. I personally think that this is just another shot at Bush for nothing other than common sense policy.

    And sorry, but as I have said, it is not required to file a VFR flight plan, but any "good" pilot would.
     
  11. macrumors 601

    Backtothemac

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    #11
    I will agree with that, except the FAA will notify all towers within the TFR. Oh, and Riley, sorry, but as long as you do what the F-16's say, they won't turn you into Chaff.
    :D
     
  12. thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #12
    1. Pilots very rarely file VFR flight plans. This is a fact, and if you need to have this fact verified, I'd suggest you have a look at the NTSB accident database (it's online). You'd have to search long and hard to find a single reportable accident or incident involving a VFR operation where a VFR flight plan had been filed. That's because they very rarely are.

    2. It is very different then "taking a different route," for reasons I have already pointed out (and many others reasons I've yet to mention).

    3. Sorry, you are not in any position to judge what "good" pilot would or would not do.
     
  13. thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #13
    Really? And how do you know what they are telling you to do?
     
  14. macrumors 601

    Backtothemac

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    #14
    Um, actually I am. See, my father has been a pilot for over 40 years. I had my pilots license at the age of 14. I have not been current since 92 though. Good pilots file flight plans. As I have said before ignorant ones do not. If the ones in the NTSB database have no flight plan filed, then they are stupid. As for filing a VFR flight plan, the tower where I live requires it on all flights over 100NM. So, I know that may be different where you are, and if you are running touch and goes for fun during the day, then no, you don't file a flight plan, but if you are going any distance, then yes, you file a flight plan.
     
  15. macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #15
    radio, hand signals and "body" language, i would think.
     
  16. macrumors 601

    Backtothemac

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    #16
    It is the little thing called a radio. ;):D :)
     
  17. thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #17
    First, that "little thing called a radio" isn't required equipment for flying in most of the United States, and second, assuming the airplane in question is so equipped, on which of the 760 available channels can you expect to talk to the nice man in the F-16?
     
  18. thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #18
    I don't know anyone who files a VFR flight plan. Zero, zilch, nada. If I took a poll at my airport about this question, I'm sure I'd hear belly laughs all around, especially if I added your assertion that pilots who don't file one are "stupid." In fact, I'd probably have to duck a few times. And what airport requires one? Be specific here, because I'd like to check it out.
     
  19. macrumors 601

    Backtothemac

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    #19
    Ok, first no VFR flight plans, no no radio. WTF. How do you talk to the tower for clearence? Yell out the window? You HAVE to have a radio in a plane. There is no way around that.

    I would say that I would switch to the universal distress channel of 121.5MHZ. That is probably where the man in the F-16 would be. But that is just me.
     
  20. macrumors 601

    Backtothemac

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    #20

    Well, let me correct myself. Bama Air requires all of its pilots to file a VFR plan if the flight is over 100NM away from the tower.
     
  21. thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #21
    Yes, the signals are standardized (eg, wing rocking). Private pilots have been urged to learn the interdiction procedures, and I now carry a reference card with me whenever I fly -- but, by definition, an incident of this kind will happen without notice and unfold very quickly, and I also suspect would be quite scary. If it ever happens to me, I hope I have the presence of mind to do the right thing in a timely fashion. My life, and those of the souls on board, will be at stake.

    Attempting (probably in vein at this point) to keep this thread on topic, my point was that the presidential TFRs are overreaching, arbitrary, and harmful to many real people. What's worse, they are only one of many similar impositions.
     
  22. macrumors 601

    Backtothemac

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    #22
    Given 9/11 how can you say that. The TFR is large enough to keep all traffic out of the area, then that is what it is supposed to do. We have people that fly everyday, that do not file a flight plan, should but don't. Good pilots do because it just makes sense to do so. As for the restrictions on the TFR, it is to protect the President. This will carry over to other administrations. It is a bad idea, and overreaching because it hasn't saved a President's life yet. If some wacko decided to try to take out the President by ramming a Cesnna up his ass, and an F-16 took them out, then I bet it would have been a good idea.
     
  23. macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #23
    it is a pain in the ass. same as when a president travels i-94 from downtown chicago to o'hare airport -- they shut it down. (and we often don't know until all the arterial streets are gridlocked)

    but, i don't see a way around it, save the president staying put in D.C. and i don't think that's healthy for democracy.
     
  24. macrumors 601

    Backtothemac

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    #24
    I agree with you 100%. It is a pain in the ass, but it is necessary. The first time they did not do it, he would get killed, and then the CIA would have to take the heat again, along with the SS, and the FBI.


    Better safe than sorry.
     
  25. thread starter macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

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    #25
    Well of course you can't fly into Class B, C or D airspace (short of a radio failure or prior arrangement, in which case you'd want to brush up on your light gun signals), but that's only a tiny fraction of the airspace in the US. Quite a few of the airplanes based at my airport are antiques -- they have no electrical systems at all, let alone radios. Most of these guys will carry a hand-held when they fly, but good luck actually understanding what they're saying.

    Yes, I'd go to 121.5 (which I also try to routinely monitor on the second COM), and hope for the best -- because, from what I understand, most military aircraft are not equipped to work the civil frequencies. For a life-or-death situation, this just isn't good enough, and I think it's only a matter of time before some hapless private pilot gets blasted from the sky, because these TFR violations are occurring with predictable frequency.
     

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