National AP story paints dim view of GA

April 16, 2007

The Patriot Ledger (Quincy, Massachusetts)

Dear Editor:

A story in your Monday April 16, 2007 edition (pg 5) was only partly correct when stating, "Passengers in Boston pay for Berkshires jet landings." The implication was that someone was paying for someone else's good fortune.

Correctly stated it would have continued to read "...jets landing at Pittsfield help defray ticket prices for Boston passengers."

General Aviation is loosely described as everything other than military or scheduled airlines. Yes, that is small planes and business jets. It is also traffic helicopters, sightseeing, fire fighting and air ambulance operations. General Aviation is lots of things and it contributes to what infrastructure it uses.

I own a four seat airplane and use it for business and pleasure. I pay the Commonwealth of Massachusetts an annual fee that goes to improve and maintain local airports and navigation aids. I pay a fee to the federal government by way of my fuel taxes. One is a fixed amount, the other is a "pay as I use" the system.

Like highway taxes collected at the pump instead of the tollbooth, my flying is paid-in-full, same as that jet in Pittsfield. Your car is paid-in-full as it travels Routes 93/95/128 etc.

The flying is paid for by me primarily and everyone else in general...same as I pay for boaters, hunters and users of hundreds of government controlled parks and services to which I do not regularly desire or require access. Maybe public golf courses could be included in this description.

The people and businesses in Pittsfield and the Berkshire area benefit from the accessibility of their airport. Boston is the same as is Mansfield, Norwood, Martha's Vineyard, Fitchburg, Plymouth...to name a few of the places I have recently left many dollars because the airport was there.

Presently the General Aviation community is paying (along with you) to keep the local airport open. It will not be very long before you see the advantage you have in going from Point A to Point D without stopping at Points B&C "Hubs" in between. That is what your local airport offers now and will offer in greater detail in the future.

Most important to remember is that General Aviation is already paying its users fees.

Tom Corcoran
Braintree

April 17, 2007