The Security State: It’s Getting Worse For Ordinary Citizens–General Aviation is now Targeted.

Submitted by Charlton Stanley (Otteray Scribe) guest blogger

cbpThis has not gotten much national press….yet. I had been hearing of these events through the aviation grapevine, but did not know for sure it was actually happening until the story of Gabriel Silverstein broke on the AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) news web page. Mr. Silverstein is a New Jersey businessperson who was returning from a business trip to California with his husband. He had filed a flight plan, and landed his Cirrus SR22, a small private aircraft, in Oklahoma for a fuel stop. At that time, he was subjected to a ramp check.  By Federal Air Regulations, a ramp check is supposed to be done only by an FAA official. On a standard ramp check, the pilot has to produce documents showing the airplane is airworthy, is registered, and has the paperwork on board as required under Part 91 of the Federal Air Regulations. The pilot must show his or her pilot’s license and medical certificate.  The Oklahoma ramp check was brief, and he went on his way. He had to stop for fuel again in Iowa City. Upon arrival, he went into the FBO (Fixed Base Operator) office to pay for his gas, take a break and file a new flight plan. When he returned to his plane, he found it surrounded by officers, being searched without his permission, and with no explanation. The officers said “Probable Cause” was the K-9 dog had “hit” on the baggage compartment. The officers ordered him to be quiet, and if he asked any more questions, he would spend the rest of the day in the back of a police cruiser in handcuffs.

CPB stock photo by Gerald L Nino
CPB captions this as being at their Air and Marine Operations Center

One officer handed Mr. Silverstein a business card identifying him as being with the Department of Customs and Border Protection.  Mr. Silverstein says the brown uniforms and shoulder patches he saw that day were identical to the one worn by the officer on the right in this stock CPB photo. On their web page, the CPB identifies this location as being at their Air and Marine Operations Center. I think we can safely assume this is not the main operations room, but only part of the operation.

Geography was not my favorite subject in school, but last time I looked, both Oklahoma and Iowa are a long way from any international border.

More Border Patrol and Homeland Security goodness over the jump, including a video interview with Mr. Silverstein.

This link is to the AOPA news page. There is a video  interview with Mr. Silverstein where he gives his explanation of what happened (sorry, I can’t get it to embed). Since AOPA first broke that story, they have followed up with another account: Fresh reports of aircraft searches, CBP has little to say

CPB stock photo by James Tourtellotte
Two CBP Air Interdiction officers stopping a small twin-engine plane on a runway.
Reason given? “Suspicion.”

James Fallows of The Atlantic has also covered the story in some detail. The pilot accounts he reports are chilling. Apparently, the simple fact that one is flying from west to east across the country is enough to arouse suspicion and bring out these guys to greet you.

In one incident, the officers wanted their dog to jump up on the wing of an airplane. The owner said he would allow it if the officer would take personal responsibility and sign a document attesting that he would pay for repainting the plane if the dog’s paws scratched the paint, and it would have to be witnessed by all the other 19 officers present.

Some of the pilots detained for these “ramp checks” report that when CPB agents can’t find anything, they seem to become increasingly angry and frustrated.

There has been at least one report where an agent started taking inspection plates off an airplane. That is illegal, since those inspection panels should only be removed (and replaced) by an FAA certified and licensed aircraft technician.

The CPB has developed a huge electronic net called the Air and Marine Operations Surveillance System (AMOSS). According to an online statement:

“AMOSS utilizes extensive law enforcement and intelligence databases, and tracking and communications networks to provide a single display that is capable of tracking over 24,000 individual targets.”

The CPB admits to monitoring FAA and military radar systems, but its full capability is unknown.

There are increasing numbers of heavy-handed searches. In one incident, a 70 year old glider pilot was forced down and arrested after flying over a nuclear plant, despite the fact no flight restrictions are shown on any chart, there are no NOTAMS (Notice to Airmen), and no listed TFRs (Temporary Flight Restrictions). Additionally, gliders, being unpowered aircraft, have the right of way over all other air traffic except balloons. Glider pilot Robin Fleming is interviewed here by AOPA:

When his case went to court, the charges were dropped, provided he sign a statement agreeing to not sue the law enforcement agencies and officers involved in his illegal arrest and detention.

This is just another chapter in the growing police state the US is becoming in the name of the “War on Terror” and the “War on Drugs.”

The floor is open for discussion and additional stories if any aviators out there have them. Personally, I would love to get a response from the CPB explaining just what they hope to accomplish by these draconian stops with no probable cause other than a general aviation plane is flying from west to east.

I am offering an open invitation to Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Acting Commissioner Thomas Winkowski to log on and explain themselves.

84 thoughts on “The Security State: It’s Getting Worse For Ordinary Citizens–General Aviation is now Targeted.

  1. Troubling story OS. I look forward to Napolitano’s response! It is scary that this kind of heavy handed actions can be taken with little or no probable cause. These guys have way too much time on their hands.

  2. I do not fly but this is really sad. How much longer before we have to file driving plans when we travle between states? Are we going to be searched at the borders when going for vacation from Virginia to North Carolina or Maryland?

    Why cant we stop this? What is going on? It seems we the people are impotent to stem this tide? Why?

    Because we all want free sh*t from DC. And that gives them power over us.

    They give us baubles and trinkets and they take our liberty. Just like our ancestors gave the Native Americans beads and blankets. Those baubles and bangles are coming at a steep price.

    The govt b-crats are protecting their jobs. Most of the government needs to be cut back and some departments need to be eliminated. Stop government hiring and stop govt pensions, give them 401k’s instead and make them pay for their own dam health insurance. Eliminate congressional pensions as well. You want to spend 30 years in congress? Put your own god dam money in a 401k, who the fuk do you think you are?

    We run these sons of b*tches, they dont rule us. Lets start acting like the god dam boss instead of being treated like the hired help.

    Lets start suing these government agencies, local, state and federal and bringing civil suits against individuals who are letting these pissants run amok.


    apologies for the bad language, I am really tired of b-crats who think they own me.

  3. Thanks for speaking up.

    Another area where law enforcement is violating the very laws that they are supposed to enforce.

    This pattern of violations conditions Americans to accept unlawful behavior – it is easier to acquiesce than to fight.

  4. Holy crap, OS. That’s pure Gestapo tactics. A sure sign of how quickly and how far our nation has fallen.

  5. The military industrial, homeland security, fear complex has to justify its existence, or risk funding cuts. Money that could be spent to improve American lives is going instead to make them fearful of every move they make, every uniform they see and every person they pass that looks “different.” The Orwellian State is becoming a reality. It’s stunning that the corporate controlled media is generally purposely useless around these matters and these gestapo tactics are accepted by the vast majority of the ambivalent, ignorant, or obsessively fearful populace. Democrats are spineless to fight it and GOP wants an authoritarian state that controls how people act.

  6. As this behavior continues, it will as history has proven, become unbearable and give rise to an armed insurrection.

    I just don’t get how these guys believe in the great American freedoms yet behave as brownshirt /intolerant/authoritarian thugs who do everything they can to create a police state.

    It really is only a matter of time before someone or many someones say enough is enough and start putting a stop to this assault on democracy and liberty.

    For you brownshirts who are monitoring these comments,

    My name is, Stephan Patterson, Palmer, Alaska

  7. This is not directly related but can probably be connected. I have been posting on F/B about the NSA and yesterday when I went to play a stupid game on my iphone which I rarely do until recently, the logo of the NRA actually came on the screen and stayed a few seconds. I was dumbfounded and still am! What was the NRA logo doing on my cell phone? btw, all the data of the game had been missing and when I went to check it later it was being re-installed. I woke up last night and deleted the games. They are ones that are one the iphone since I do not purchase these things. It begs the question….

  8. I want to put to rest the myth that pilots and plane owners are rich. Most are ordinary people. Some are wealthy, yes. However the average general aviation airplane is 40 years old, and both of the two airplanes I have owned cost less than my Jeep. So, get over it. Some aviators even build their own airplanes to save money. Costs no more than restoring an old car.

    So as for “rich” “white” pilots, I see some folks have not been around small airports much.

    IIRC, Mr. Silverstein is a real estate agent and small businessman.

  9. voltaic:

    the GOP? what the fuk?

    Last time I checked we had a democratic administration, the press votes for democrats, the majority of federal government employees vote for democrats, the heads of the majority of the federal agencies are run by democrats and you think it is the GOP?

    The GOP are a bunch of wussies because they are not defunding this stuff.

    Oh did I mention there is a democratic majority in the senate and that the head of the IRS is a democrat?

    The GOP wants to stop abortion and give ultrasounds to women as well as make them pay for their own birth control. None of which is happening.

    However the other stuff is happening and it is happening under a democratic administration.

  10. Nancy,
    You encountered marketing cookies. The games you were playing had to come from somewhere, and the way many program writers recoup their money is to host ads. Some ads are random, and some are targeted. For example, if you play an action game, you might find ads from the NRA. Play one involving animals, and a PETA or ASPCA ad might pop up.

    The more important thing to know is the government has a way to track you in the same way. That is why I don’t have a smart phone. I have a flip phone that does exactly two things. It makes and receives phone calls. I do not have voicemail set up and no numbers stored in the phone memory.

  11. Looks like they’ve moved from terrorizing those WWB (walking while black/brown) to the those FWW (flying while white)

    Those charges should have been dropped without any promise to not sue the bustards.

  12. OS:

    a good friend of mine has a 30-40 year old “twin tail doctor killer” and is an engineer working for a construction company. He is not rich either. It also takes a good amount of money to do upkeep so he forgoes other things.

    So it isnt only the rich who fly as you say.

  13. bk,
    I used to be friends with the guy who kept his little Cessna plane tied down next to mine at the local airport. Elderly black gentleman. Former Tuskegee Airman and P-51 ace. It can happen to anyone.

  14. OS, It’s just all you rich pilots complaining about this and the closing of Miegs Field. You should fly commercial and get the full body cavity search just like us regular people. Remember that idiot from a couple weeks ago?

  15. nick,
    I remember. There is one in every crowd when you write about aviation. I had a troll in a Daily Kos diary recently who seemed to think all general aviation should be outlawed, and that everyone should fly commercial. I never did understand that reasoning except she kept talking about Cory Lidle crashing into an apartment building.

    There really ought to be a Snopes page on the urban myth of the “rich white pilot.”

  16. OS, I have been to the EAA Convention in Oshkosh. That would dispel the myth, mostly regular folks who just love aircraft..and beer!

  17. Interesting…. How close is the airport to 100 miles of the international border…. Give or take 100 miles from the posting Gene did earlier….. This is crazy….. Welcome to the Happy Police State….

  18. Like the guy in the “antidote” video I posted above, the whistleblower true patriot has made a public statement about why he is resisting Big Brother:

    The individual responsible for one of the most significant leaks in US political history is Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old former technical assistant for the CIA and current employee of the defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. Snowden has been working at the National Security Agency for the last four years as an employee of various outside contractors, including Booz Allen and Dell.

    (Guardian, includes video interview). Right on brother!!!!

  19. Revolution
    We must revolt.
    If we do not have a Revolution and remove the tyranny that now controls our government, we will lose it forever.
    The only answer now is a Revolution of non violence. We must overthrow the fascist Big Brother

    July 4th shall be the first protest

  20. The combination of more and more police state tactics, false flag
    operations and hoaxes such as Sandy Hook, Boston Marathon, Aurora
    Colorado movie theater, 9/11, “killing” of fake OBL – who actually died in December, 2001 etc. is partly why we see more nut case events such as in
    Santa Monica ( which might well actually be another inside job).

  21. Why was CBP even involved in this to begin with? And the dog “hitting” on it. I wonder how many times this dog has false positives. Maybe that doesn’t matter if the hound’s name is “pre-text Rex”

    Where was the reasonable suspicion this aircraft crossed an international border? Was that articulated? and what about this Business Card. I would have expected a commission card to be displayed. Anybody with a business card and a good tailor could claim to be a LEO. No commission card, no proper identification of the person being a LEO and hence questionable authority to do as they are doing.

    Abuse is becoming more of a factor with these types of actions. Terrorists and drug runners are not everywhere.

  22. Bron,

    You may not realize this, but the GOP instituted the “Patriot” Act, they allowed the phone companies to hand over info without a warrant and then gave the telecos immunity, they started wars over WMDs (lies, on top of ies), they started Guantanamo, they approved of torturing enemy “combatants”, they started offshoring of torture to black sites. Shall I continue? I’m not a Democrat since they are just as distasteful as GOP, and even have weaker spines (if any) when it comes to civil liberties, but to say that GOP only pushes policies that are not instituted is being partisan blind.

  23. G.Mason 1, June 9, 2013 at 3:33 pm


    We must revolt.

    If we do not have a Revolution and remove the tyranny that now controls our government, we will lose it forever.

    The only answer now is a Revolution of non violence. We must overthrow the fascist Big Brother

    July 4th shall be the first protest
    Identify your enemy.

    It is that which does damage to public freedom.

    Who ya gonna call?

    You and everyone else can’t do anything without believing someone else.

    If you can’t believe who wrote the document government officials take an oath to uphold, the U.S. Constitution, what has happened to you:

    Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied: and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manners and of morals, engendered by both. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. Those truths are well established.

    (James Madison). The security state is founded on your not believing that.

    And you will suffer charges of blasphemy if you refuse to adhere to the Wartocracy.

    All you have to do is be peaceful.

    At all costs.

    It will destroy them.

  24. voltaic:

    if I remember correctly both dems and repubs voted for that hateful thing.

    And both dems and repubs knew what was going on in regard to all you said right above.

    I think the GOP is more to blame, they should have known better. Dem politicians for the most part are authoritarians as has been amply demonstrated in the last few years.

    Both parties need a time out and the adults, if there are any left in the United States, need to take back the asylum from the inmates.

    A big part of the problem is the b-crats, they are mostly democrat and I imagine they think they are supporting the cause. But they arent and I think they need some re-education on the role of government, civil liberties, individual rights and their role in the big picture.

    These arrogant fuks at the heads of these agencies and the management 3-6 tiers down should lose their jobs, their pensions and never be allowed to work in government again.

    Any congressman or senator who became a millionaire while in office had better prove how they made that money and they better prove it in a court of law or it gets confiscated and they go home with no pensions either.

    This BS has been going on far too long, time for the pendulum to swing the other way.

  25. The Guardian’s source for the leaks from the National Security Agency has outed himself as 29-year-old Edward Snowden, a GED holder high-school drop-out* who later tried to join the U.S. Army Special Forces and developed a knack for digital security systems, leading to his most recent position as a $200,000 a year NSA-contractor with Booz Allen Hamilton based in Hawaii. Snowden left the U.S. and stationed himself in Hong Kong in advance of his planned campaign of top secret document leaks, and is hoping to be granted asylum in Iceland, according to a Sunday bombshell report in The Guardian by Glenn Greenwald, Ewan MacAskill and Laura Poitrass.

    According to their report, Snowden is currently in fear for his future and his life, but also at peace with the choice he has made to release the documents on U.S. electronic surveillance. He said he fully expects the U.S. government to seek punish him.

    One thing the privacy-rights advocate seems not to have fully considered is the role of the media and, especially, of amateur Internet sleuths in the United States in making his life unpleasant and stripping him of all privacy in the months ahead. He is about to become one of the most highly-scrutinized public figures in the world.

    Snowden said he voted for a third party in 2008, though he did not specify which third party he voted for — the Libertarian Party, the Green Party, the Constitution Party and others ran candidates that year — and had been wanting to be a whistleblower since before Obama was elected, but held off in hopes surveillance policies would change more than they have under the Democratic president.

    “A lot of people in 2008 voted for Obama. I did not vote for him. I voted for a third party. But I believed in Obama’s promises. I was going to disclose it [but waited because of his election]. He continued with the policies of his predecessor,” Snowden said in an interview The Guardian posted online.

    * The first version of The Guardian piece described Snowden as a high-school dropout, which raised a lot of eyebrows as the U.S. Army does not take people without either a high school diploma or a General Equivalency Diploma, with very rare exceptions. The paper later clarified that he holds a GED.” Atlantic Wire

  26. Welcome to das Reich! They even have the uniform color correct: brown. Now all they need are armbands.

  27. Karl Smith the white pilots are not dealing drugs, stealing, robbing cars and houses or carrying guns and killing each other.Until those black kids figure out that it is wrong to commit crime they will be targeted.

  28. “The leak of NSA information is particularly troubling for Booz Allen because of its close relationship with the CIA and other American intelligence agencies. As the Guardian noted, Booz Allen Vice Chairman Mike McConnell served as director of national intelligence under the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush. McConnell was also a Booz Allen employee before taking the DNI job.

    Other Booz Allen employees with high-level ties to the intelligence community include James Woolsey, who has been both a CIA director and a Booz Allen vice president at various times in his career; Melissa Hathaway, a former Booz Allen executive who served as an aide to McConnell during his time in government; and Dale Watson, the former assistant director of the Counterterrorism Division of the FBI who began working at Booz Allen after his retirement from the FBI in 2002. ” International Business Times

  29. “Americans are among the most easily frightened people on earth.”

    “America has only one political party, the Property Party, and it has two right wings.”

    — Gore Vidal

    What he said.

    Do not go outside on a sunny day, Americans. You will cast shadows and they will “follow you home.”

    If it wasn’t for fear itself, Americans would have nothing but reactionary panic, mystic dread, and abstract angst with which to terrify themselves.

  30. Jaundice: a state or attitude characterized by satiety, distaste, or hostility (synonyms: animosity, animus, antagonism, antipathy, bad blood, bitterness, gall, grudge, enmity, rancor)

    “Charles Oman, in his classic study of war, spoke of the veterans of the battles of the Middle Ages as ‘the best of soldiers while the war lasted … [but] a most dangerous and unruly race in times of truce or peace.'” — Robert Jay Lifton, Home from the War: Vietnam Veterans, neither victims nor executioners

    When Jaundice Comes Marching Home
    (after the popular Civil War song, “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”)

    When Jaundice comes marching home once more,
    Guffaw! Guffaw!
    We’ll know what its masters have in store,
    Guffaw! Guffaw!
    A shiver of terror to run up the spine,
    At the thought of what’s next if we don’t fall in line
    Oh they’d like us scared when
    Jaundice comes marching home

    When Jaundice comes snarling home this time
    Guffaw! Guffaw!
    We’ll spit in its face with a jeering rhyme
    Guffaw! Guffaw!
    Our leaders who screwed up and shot our wad
    Will tell us they did it for country and GAWD
    But we’ll know they lie when
    Jaundice comes snarling home

    When Jaundice comes limping home to hate
    Guffaw! Guffaw!
    The wars that it lost and the shit on its plate
    Guffaw! Guffaw!
    The ones who deployed it to bomb and kill
    Now find that they’ve used up the easy thrill
    So they’ll have to hide when
    Jaundice comes limping home

    When Jaundice comes sneaking home to hide
    Guffaw! Guffaw!
    The failure and waste and our wounded pride
    Guffaw! Guffaw!
    Of no further use is the man in pain
    Who can’t be recruited to do it again
    So avert your eyes when
    Jaundice comes sneaking home

    When Jaundice has marched in its last parade
    Guffaw! Guffaw!
    And laid down to sleep in the endless shade
    Guffaw! Guffaw!
    We’ll have us a wake for the late deceased
    From whose awful clutches we’re now released
    How we’ll all breathe free when
    Jaundice has died at home

    Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright 2012

  31. “We are a symbol using class of life, and those who rule the symbols rule us.” — Alfred Korzybski

    Solipsistic Schizophrenia

    We lost the day we started this disaster.
    We win the day we stop this “war” so dumb.
    If not, we’ll simply spiral down much faster
    to depths of stupid no one sane can plumb.

    Our generals claim powers to intuit
    a time to come when they will surely know
    just what they plan to do and how they’ll do it
    although they have no evidence to show.

    They can’t say what the fighting ever brings us,
    but still they say we’ll fight for endless years.
    This hopeful hopeless tune they daily sing us,
    so as to keep alive our needless fears

    The Taliban have not one plane to fly in,
    Nor boat to paddle over oceans vast.
    So what they’ll launch from where to keep us cryin’
    remains a mystery designed to last.

    We’ve long embraced the tactics of dissembling:
    the uttering of vapid empty noise
    which seems to not have left the “bad guys” trembling
    or shocked and awed by all our high-tech toys.

    But soon we’ll send more drones to shoot mosquitoes
    while dying of malaria ourselves,
    which comforts those who sell the troops burritos
    and other fast-food junk from off their shelves.

    It seems we’ve scared our own selves nearly shitless
    Surrendering all semblance of control
    To those who see us terrified and witless
    Each time themselves as saviors they extol

    We’ve let some word-like noises pass for meaning,
    and written spell-marks that transcribe no thought.
    Our rulers sell us symbols void of meaning.
    They’ve offered nothing — which we’ve gladly bought.

    Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” copyright 2013

    Fly Untied (not a misspelling).

    Remembering twelve years of U.S. military briefings in Iraq and Afghanistan (formerly known in Saigon as “The Five O’Clock Follies”) predicting “signs of fragile progress” real soon now — or, perhaps in twenty years.

    The Solipsistic Sprouting of “Green Shoots”

    We lost the day we started this disaster.
    We win the day we stop this “war” so dumb.
    If not, we’ll simply spiral down much faster
    to depths of stupid no one sane can plumb.

    Our generals claim powers to intuit
    a time to come when they will surely know
    just what they plan to do and how they’ll do it
    although they have no evidence to show.

    They can’t say what the fighting ever brings us,
    but still they say we’ll fight for endless years.
    This hopeful hopeless tune they daily sing us,
    so as to keep alive our needless fears

    The Taliban have not one plane to fly in,
    Nor boat to paddle over oceans vast.
    So what they’ll launch from where to keep us cryin’
    remains a mystery designed to last.

    We’ve long embraced the tactics of dissembling:
    the uttering of vapid empty noise
    which seems to not have left the “bad guys” trembling
    or shocked and awed by all our high-tech toys.

    But soon we’ll send more drones to shoot mosquitoes
    while dying of malaria ourselves,
    which comforts those who sell the troops burritos
    and other fast-food junk from off their shelves.

    It seems we’ve scared our own selves nearly shitless
    Surrendering all semblance of control
    To those who see us terrified and witless
    Each time themselves as saviors they extol

    We’ve let some word-like noises pass for meaning,
    and written spell-marks that transcribe no thought.
    Our rulers sell us symbols void of meaning.
    They’ve offered nothing — which we’ve gladly bought

    Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” copyright 2013



    Paul appears on Fox News Sunday and vowed to challenge such violations of the Constitution. “I’m going to be seeing if I can challenge this at the Supreme Court level,” he said.

    “I’m going to be asking all the internet providers and all of the phone companies: Ask your customers to join me in a class action lawsuit. If we get 10 million Americans saying we don’t want our phone records looked at then maybe someone will wake up and something will change in Washington,” he continued.

  33. Sorry for the cut-and-paste that resulted in two copies (each with a different title) of the same verse. I intended the first, although the epigram at the beginning of the second has relevance as well.

  34. When Rand Paul demands the cancellation of the so-called AUMF, the abrogation of the so-called “Patriot” Act, and demands the dismantling of the so-called Department of Homeland Security, just for starters, then I’ll consider him something more than a grandstanding political opportunist. If he has actually done these things and I haven’t noticed, then I encourage him to press ahead even more energetically. And, of course, he could demand the reinstatement of the Glass-Steagall Act and insist on a modest increase in the top marginal tax rate. Then, I would really begin to take him seriously.

    At any rate: nothing but officially declaring Peace and demobilizing the National Insecurity State will restore to America anything like the free republic that Benjamin Franklin said we could have only if we could keep it — which we obviously haven’t.

    Take away the US president’s perpetual “war” candy. Only that will free up the human and economic resources that America requires for its own rehabilitation. Starve the Beast of War. Good things follow as the night follows the day.

  35. OS

    it was my first thought that homeland security was learning tactics from DEA and the war on drugs. sounds like nobody informed the FAA though.

    merge the two and save tax dollars. yippie

  36. America has millions of “patriotic” gun owners and 50 state militias just waiting for those 50-to-100 reported Al Qaeda jihadis to leave their far-off caves in Afghanistan, flap their arms, and fly through vast airspaces to “attack” America — the officially concocted nightmare otherwise known as “following us home.” Why do we need a trillion-dollar-a-year military/intelligence/homeland-insecurity boondoggle to handle a pathetic little “threat” like that? Especially when our traumatized soldiers kill more of themselves every year than the Taliban and Al Qaeda do. I mean, something just screams of naked war-profiteering here.

  37. I say, let those 50-100 Al Qaeda (I mean, Saudi Arabian) jihadis “follow us home.” We can just hire a couple of inner-city gangs to ambush them as they try to wade ashore at Galveston Bay. The need for our own government to terrify a continental nation of 300,000,000 people over such a ludicrous possibility would simply baffle me if the notorious American susceptibility to official fear-mongering did not have such a dreadfully long history.

  38. “… what has gone wrong in the entire misguided “war on terror,” which is pretty much everything. Nearly everything we have done in the name of fighting terrorism since 2001 has blown back in our faces like piss on a windy beach, turning those who should be allies into enemies and making the whole problem immeasurably worse.” — Andrew O’Hehir,, Jun 9, 2013 )

    See: Obama’s “Dirty Wars” — and a soiled presidency

    How the echoes from forty years ago in Southeast Asia just keep on coming:

    “We can’t knock off this stupid shit because our friends won’t respect us and our enemies won’t fear us if we stop acting so stupidly.” (Which implies that our friends respect our stupidity and our enemies fear it — precisely the opposite of the way friends and enemies actually think).

    From the Best and the Brightest to the Worst and the Dullest in only one generation. You just can’t make up nonsense as spectacular as this.

  39. When you have only the one Property Party with its two right wings, you can only:

    Exit Stage Right

    The Nation of Sheep went on bleating
    Contentedly taking their beating
    While those they elected kept cheating
    In thrall to corruption and theft

    Their Maximum Leader kept braying
    The noises that he went on saying
    A dead horse he would not stop flaying
    Until the corpse got up and left

    No thoughts were exchanged at the meetings
    But only hand signals as greetings
    Designed to be only repeatings
    Of empty hot blasts of thin air

    One man took the country to battle
    Equipped with his shiny new rattle
    Stampeding the somnolent cattle
    Who went to their doom unaware

    One couldn’t envision a better
    Conditioned flock needing no fetter
    Programmed to obey to the letter
    Whatever their TV set said

    The sound and the pictures kept flashing
    So fast that it sent their brains crashing
    Till armies deployed to go bashing
    Some foreigners till they were dead

    Since none had a name for the madness
    They called it ethereal gladness
    Which sold them on their macho badness
    Until someone noticed the cost

    It seems that the bank vault was looted
    While they their high praise loudly tooted
    Then somehow their software rebooted
    Which left them alone, broke, and lost

    The Fate Driven Herd went on lowing
    Content to keep shrinking not growing
    Their children’s inheritance blowing
    While they chewed their credit card cud

    The soldiers came home to no kissing
    Because of the body parts missing
    Great Leader thus heard a loud hissing
    As his poor performance went “thud!”

    Michael Murry,”The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2005

  40. Corrrection OS: Instead of “rich white guys” lets call them “well off white guys” (mere semantics) since, lets face facts: the vast majority of airplane owners are well off white males, typically bourgeois (or petite-bougeois) businessmen.

    There are are virtually zero proletarian aircraft owners in this world.

    Now they know what it’s like to face the arbitrariness of unlawful police actions as non-white proletarian youth encounter every hour in most of the burroughs of NYC.

  41. Karl you are simply wrong since there are a lot of blue collar jobs that allow one to own an airplane and fly it. A lot of my fellow mechanics at United Airlines had their own planes and even some of them were twins, which are more expensive. In fact, I gave flight instruction to a couple of my fellow mechanics who needed to have at least 10 hrs of flight instruction from an instructor like myself who had a lot of taildragger time. In Houston, we had a lot of firemen., and cops who had enough money and time to have their own planes. I know of another fellow pilot who has a couple of planes for his own personal use and he is NOT rich either. It just depends on how you want to spend your money and your time.

    I had a student who had a very bad case of AIDS. He was at the airport more than he was at home. So he told me the last thing his wife said as she walked out the door leaving him, ” NOW YOU CAN GO F**K YOUR AIRPLANE!” AIDS in this case is Airplane Induced Divorce Syndrome. That has struck many a pilot unfortunately.

  42. ARE,
    Your comment got caught in the moderation filter for using one of the “forbidden” words. I did a quick edit for you and cleared it for publishing.

  43. Karl,
    Way to go on missing the point. And the logical fallacy of false equivalence. How about leaving the class prejudice at home and look at the larger picture of this country sliding into a security state. This is not something at the neighborhood level, but is a cancer on our government.

    And I am sure Mr. Silverstein has run into prejudice before as a gay Jewish man who finally got to marry his partner.

  44. Thank you OS. I was unaware that we had censors on this blog for some words. Rather I thought that we were old enough and mature enough to use some words as long as they were correct and needed in the context. In leaving ones spouse, I think her choice of words were quite appropriate and conveyed her feelings and sentiments by the use of that word.

    More to your point, I think that we need to have some means of making such actions on the part of our “protectors” more costly when they overstep their bounds. I was more concerned about the pilot who was forced to sign a hold harmless waiver before they would drop the charges against him. Is that legal to do this? Using such coercive measures would seem to be illegal on its face, and thus the waiver could or should not have any legal standing. Since this is a legal eagle blog, I hope that some of our more learned folks could educate the rest of us on this matter.


    World news
    The NSA files

    NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: ‘I do not expect to see home again’

    Source for the Guardian’s NSA files on why he carried out the biggest intelligence leak in a generation – and what comes next


    Ewen MacAskill
    The Guardian, Saturday 8 June 2013

    Link to video: NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden: ‘I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things’

    Edward Snowden was interviewed over several days in Hong Kong by Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill.

    Q: Why did you decide to become a whistleblower?

    A: “The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything. With this capability, the vast majority of human communications are automatically ingested without targeting. If I wanted to see your emails or your wife’s phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your emails, passwords, phone records, credit cards.

    “I don’t want to live in a society that does these sort of things … I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded. That is not something I am willing to support or live under.”

    Q: But isn’t there a need for surveillance to try to reduce the chances of terrorist attacks such as Boston?

    A: “We have to decide why terrorism is a new threat. There has always been terrorism. Boston was a criminal act. It was not about surveillance but good, old-fashioned police work. The police are very good at what they do.”

    Q: Do you see yourself as another Bradley Manning?

    A: “Manning was a classic whistleblower. He was inspired by the public good.”

    Q: Do you think what you have done is a crime?

    A: “We have seen enough criminality on the part of government. It is hypocritical to make this allegation against me. They have narrowed the public sphere of influence.”

    Q: What do you think is going to happen to you?

    A: “Nothing good.”

    Q: Why Hong Kong?

    A: “I think it is really tragic that an American has to move to a place that has a reputation for less freedom. Still, Hong Kong has a reputation for freedom in spite of the People’s Republic of China. It has a strong tradition of free speech.”

    Q: What do the leaked documents reveal?

    A: “That the NSA routinely lies in response to congressional inquiries about the scope of surveillance in America. I believe that when [senator Ron] Wyden and [senator Mark] Udall asked about the scale of this, they [the NSA] said it did not have the tools to provide an answer. We do have the tools and I have maps showing where people have been scrutinised most. We collect more digital communications from America than we do from the Russians.”


  46. ARE,
    There are only four words the moderation filter will catch. You used one of them. On the other hand, WordPress’ spam filter has been acting strangely lately with a higher than normal number of false positives.

    You thoughts on the coerced agreement are in line with my own thinking. It seems to run afoul of the fact that a contract under duress is invalid. I think some of the lawyers here may have a take on that “agreement.”

    As for divorces. When I was looking for a plane to buy after I sold my Cardinal, somebody told me about a Beechcraft Debonair with a for sale sign on it at one of the local FBOs. I went and looked, and sure enough, it was marked for sale….with a $5,000 price tag. I went in and talked to the manager, and it seems the wife was selling her soon to be ex husband’s stuff at flea market prices. I told him I refused to be a party to something like that. It ended up that no one bought the Debonair under those circumstances. Spite like that carries bad Karma. I heard the guy got his plane back. Wifey did not want to pay the ongoing parking fees for an airplane no one would buy and she couldn’t even give it away.

  47. ” We collect more digital communications from America than we do from the Russians.”
    That said it all right there. Our federal government is worried more about the American citizenry than it is of a foreign power that has more nuclear warheads than anyone else in the world. If that is not telltale of this administration’s paranoia and ill intent I don’t know what else is.

  48. OS I have flown the Debonair a few times since I took my first aerobatic lessons in one. It had a beefed up empenage for that and it was a bit slow given the increase in weight. The Cardinal is a nice airplane and I have flown that one too since I gave instrument instruction in it for the owner. The only bad thing was the huge doors since you had to control them when you openned them with any wind blowing. Was yours an RG and why would you sell such a nice airplane?

    I hope some of our lawyers here can answer the questions raised about the coerced agreement the law enforcement guys demanded.

  49. Darren, I doubt that the government is collecting the intel out of paranoia. All it proves is that they have more access to our channels of communication than they have to the Russians. This has been going on since WWI by the way when ALL overseas telegrams were sent to the US Navy first before being sent. All return telegrams were likewise scanned. For more on this program, I suggest you read the Puzzle Palace which is about the NSA. I have a personal connection with that since my Uncle Col. Robert Jackson worked there as his last station before retiring from the Army after 34 years.

  50. ARE,
    My Cardinal was the 177B model. It was the ‘straight leg’ version. I sold it because the engine was WAY past TBO and so was the prop and hub. It needed a lot of maintenance I could not afford at the time. I am still kicking myself for selling it. It was a great instrument plane, because once in trim, pitch control was solid. You could fly an ILS like you were on rails.

    I eventually got a 337 Skymaster, but that was a real bear to maintain. There are 23 interlocks on the landing gear and if any one of them have a bad day, the gear won’t work. I had the gear hang up once on a cross country in IMC. Fortunately, it stuck in the down position. Seems a pebble got caught in the nose gear squat switch and the gear would not retract.

    I finally sold the 337 when it needed both engines overhauled, both props had been dressed so many times they were getting too thin to dress again, so had to be replaced. I sold it to the FBO who had his own shop and could do all the maintenance himself. Two months later his son took it out for a night flight after the bar closed with the inevitable result. My daughter has not forgiven me for selling it. She loved it. You can look it up. The NTSB accident number is MIA98LA090 and the date was 2/27/1998.

  51. We have failed in our parenting and education system to teach our children our constitutional rights and how we became a free self governing people and drifted into this easy come easy go “big brother” socialistic form of government which is now violating the very rights which have made America so different from the rest of the world. Now thru passive parenting and a shallow subserviant education system we are headed into the same delima which our forefather fought and died to save us from. It is time to wake up and be heard…it is still our government, at least for now…beware of the future if we do not turn around and protect our heritige by Faith, hardwork and the ethics that were handed down to us from God and our forefathers.

  52. Randy Contributed:
    “Darren, I doubt that the government is collecting the intel out of paranoia. All it proves is that they have more access to our channels of communication than they have to the Russians”
    The access might have been easier but that does not excuse the government from taking all of it on everyone. We are looking at an adminstration that attacks whistleblowers, goes after the press, limits freedom of expression, stifles dissent, investigates reporters,and has kill lists against US Citizens . If these were not sufficient elements of paranoia I don’t know how much more is needed.

  53. I have heard that the C337 is not much on one engine and has a hard time staying airborne if one fails just after takeoff. We had another accident out of La Porte airport near Houston which involved a drunk pilot and a 337. Seems a good buddy of the owner of Hydes Aviation flew into the airport and brought a bottle of alcohol with him. So they spent a pleasant afternoon drinking and telling stories. His buddy went out to his plane, started the front engine, but forgot about the rear one. He got about halfway down the runway and noticed something was amiss.So he continued the takeoff while trying to start the rear one. Unfortunately he ran out of runway, but he had enough airspeed to hop it into the air to clear the fence. The plane rolled as it came down between two houses, and crashed. A guy who worked with me at the refinery and was a reserve policeman with La Porte PD, told me that the officer who responded to the woman who complained about an airplane next to her house, found the guy upside down in the airplane, and laughing about it. He got him out, and arrested him on the spot since he reeked of alcohol.

    Another one crashed at La Porte when a guy had bought the plane the same day. He gave the cashier check to the owner, took off, but the rear enginve failed as he lifted off. Turns out the seller had flown the plane into the airport, and one person said the rear engine was not operating at all. So fortunately the pilot lived, but he made the one mistake of NOT telling his insurance agent about it. So he got to pay for a destroyed airplane.

    So I have to say that I am not too impressed by the plane, but I have not ever flown one. I know the Forest Service loves them for attack spotter planes. I like the retractable gear on Cessnas like the C172, and up. We had one couple which had a problem getting the gear down on their C172 RG. They had their tow bar in the cabin, so they slowed down, openned the door, hooked one of the gear legs with the bar, and pulled the gear down all the way. From what I know the plane lands pretty well even with the gear up and does not sustain too much damage.

  54. ARE,
    Single engine performance in a 337 is better than a Baron even with less horsepower. Max altitude with one engine in a 337 is considerably more than the Baron on one engine. The main reason is centerline thrust. You are not presenting the side of the airplane to the relative wind.

    I lost my rear engine on takeoff once when the vacuum pump departed the crankcase. It is a wonder it did not catch on fire, but when the oil pressure went to zero and cylinder head temperature headed toward the red, I shut it down, feathered the prop and told the tower I needed to land. He asked if I wanted to declare an emergency, but I told him to keep the binoculars on me, and as long as he didn’t see smoke or fire, I was not declaring. The tower guy knew me, so he just said I was cleared for immediate landing any runway.

    What I did NOT do was to retract the gear. Cycle time is 13 seconds at minimum, and when the gear is cycling, it has a -150 fpm rate of climb on one engine even at takeoff power. On one engine, it flies about like a Cessna 150 at gross weight. The rear engine is the critical one, since a pusher is always more efficient than a tractor configuration. The Wright brothers discovered that early on.

  55. The idea that ALL aircraft owner/pilots are rich (or even well-off) is simply untrue. Ask the Light Aircraft Association (formerly the Popular Flying Association) in the U.K. or ask anyone who has constructed – over several years – something like an Evans VP-1, powered by a Volkswagen engine, in their garage. I’ve seen motorcycles that cost more!

  56. Shortinals,
    We have run into this “dog in the manger” attitude before on various blogs, not just this one. People who know little of aviation are quick to savage it because it is somehow seen as an “elitist” activity that people on salaries cannot afford. While true that aviation can be expensive, and there are many well-to-do aviators, lots of folks fly for the fun of it. Two of our local deputy sheriffs are pilots, one owning his own small plane and the other rents when he wants to fly. Our former Episcopal priest is a pilot, and I know for a fact he is not rich, because I know what the church pays in salary. They also forget that for every airplane out there, somebody has to maintain it, repair it, put gas in it, run the airport office and keep the grass mowed.

    I just read an article that general aviation is slowly being strangled by regulations, airport closures when developers buy (or condemn) the land, and noise restrictions. Not to mention insurance rates going up. This latest push by the Border Patrol and Homeland Security to hassle private pilots a thousand miles from the nearest border is definitely not going to help.

    It seems strange to me that housing springs up near airports that have been there since Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic. The new residents suddenly discover airplanes make noise and have their lawyers down at city hall petitioning for the airport to be closed. An airport that was there before their parents were born, but claim they didn’t know if they built a house at the end of a busy runway, airplanes would be flying over.

    According to data collected from various sources, the general aviation industry employs 1.3 million people and contributed more than $150 billion to the U.S. economy last year. That ranges from pilots, to the guy who pumps gas, to the assembly line worker and mechanic. But it is being strangled.

    Amusing story about noise. When my oldest son was in the Coast Guard, they were still using the HU-16 Albatross as a search and rescue aircraft. The Coast Guard is like the fire department. When an emergency call comes in, they have to go. When a distress call comes in, the aircrews must get airborne as fast as possible. Under those circumstances, noise restrictions do not apply and they take off at full combat power. The Coast Guard office switchboard would light up. It was worse if they had a mission at 3:00 in the morning. People screaming at the poor operator, threatening to call their Congressman, the Mayor and anyone else they could think of because they were awakened from a sound sleep. Wonder what they would say if their own fishing boat were sinking and the USCG took their own sweet time getting there?

  57. Robin Fleming, the glider pilot who was illegally arrested after he flew over a nuclear power plant, has died. I wrote about him in this story, and the original information about his illegal arrest was in this link:

    The charges were dropped, because he had not violated any laws or Federal Air Regulations. The nuclear power plant does not have any airspace restrictions above it. According to reports, Mr. Fleming had filed a lawsuit against both the utility company that owns the plant and Darlington County, S.C.

    The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association reports that Mr. Fleming passed away at the age of 71.

Comments are closed.