EAA founder Paul Poberezny, second from right, with his Waco Primary Glider in 1936.
Another Aviation Year
What freedoms would we get today?
BY PAUL POBEREZNY
Reprinted from the January 1989 issue of EAA Sport Aviation.
AVIATION TODAY IS NOT like the simple days of yesteryear but has
become more complex for many reasons. The legal system has deter-
mined, through its interpretation of law, that simplicity and practicality
is not the way. Protection is the way; liability is the concern.
Today, FAA personnel are not those of yesteryear. The FAA readily
admits that today’s personnel are of limited experience and, therefore,
historical perspective. It is easier to say why some program or request
is denied than it is to find a practical “can do” answer, as many of
those in FAA who have only a few years before retirement have said to
me. For those with the agency for such a short time and with little
practical aviation experience and many years to go before retirement,
it seems better to interpret the regulations in favor of oneself and his
or her future than be helpful to the cause and betterment of aviation…
to cover one’s butt is the simple solution. For those fine FAA folks who
read this, we are not anti-FAA, for what I have written I have both
observed and heard within the agency. And after having trekked to
Washington so very often during these 36 years, I have seen the
changes much more than most.
For many years people in aviation had pretty reasonable freedom
to operate, and with this freedom there has been little reason to sup-
port aviation organizations of their choice. When issues arrive, the
voice of the majority in general and sport
aviation has been pitifully weak for too long,
and at this time I see little change. My recent
visit to FAA headquarters in Washington
was, as usual, a very friendly and educational
experience at the many offices I visited. We
stopped at the Docket Section to review
comments FAA receives on various peti-
tions. One example was the response to the
Experimental Aircraft Association and
CAF’s petition to retain the small N numbers
on warbird aircraft instead of the proposed
billboard size 12-inch numbers that make it
impossible to duplicate the authentic mili-
tary paint schemes. The aircraft involved
range from L- 4 liaison aircraft to bombers.
With the comment period almost over, I
found we have mustered only 11 favorable
comments…and many of those poorly writ-
ten. How else can we interpret this other
than a prime example of apathy?