Carbon-Based Flight Form
Florida was once again last to the table with its tally in the 2012 President election. I know these are close races, but couldn’t somebody have figured out that we need to count the absentee ballots sometime before Thanksgiving?
In any case, it’s now time to answer the big question: What do the results mean for aviation? Too bad it’s such a boring topic. Now, by its nature the question isn’t boring; it’s just that the possible answers to it are so vague, ambivalent or obvious that it’s hard to get excited by them. Will President Obama suddenly become a cheerleader for GA? Uh, it’s unlikely. Will he decide now that his second term is a done deal that rich guys who fly bizjets are the heart and soul of America, the job creators that power the economy? Again, very unlikely. Will he decide that aviation jobs are worth going out of his way to protect by standing up for Wichita, the way he did for Detroit? It simply isn’t going to happen.
What we’re left with is a president who is at very best indifferent to GA and the worst openly antagonistic to it. I wrote in a column a couple of years ago a line that’s been repeated by lots of folks since, that President Obama is the highest profile bizjet user on the planet, and it’s true. It betrays a lack of imagination on his part or just plain political cynicism that he doesn’t connect the dots and see that business aviation makes businesses run better and stronger and, therefore, create jobs, good paying jobs here at home, too.
Instead, we’re looking at another four years of fighting off user fees, which I’m confident we can do, and drones, which I’m worried about.
But there’s another issue that we haven’t gotten out in front of, and that is the carbon tax, whereby people who use carbon fuel pay for the privilege.
In this case, we don’t choose to use fossil fuels. We simply have no choice but to use them. There are no other alternatives.
This isn’t because we have our collective head in the sands instead of, for once, the clouds. It’s because we’ve created an engine for aviation — the turbine — that works on fossil fuel and doesn’t really work on anything else that’s available.
If we want to do the work of the world, flying hundreds of millions of people, cargo, doing rescue and defense and business work in the many, many thousands of airplanes that crisscross this globe every minute, we’ve got to use fossil fuel.
Our message has been clear on this subject too, that we’re proactive in looking for alternative fuels that work. But spending $140 a gallon for fuel made out of Javanese orchid blossoms, well, that simply won’t fly. We are looking and want to find answers, the right answers, sustainable answers, answers that are as good for business as they are for the planet.
In the meantime, we need to make clear that we are technology leaders in every sense, flying airplanes that are far more eco-friendly than ever before and flying for the good of business and all mankind.
It’s a story that might be hard for some to swallow, because it’s the truth. We need to tell it anyway, and tell it with conviction.