Monday, March 26, 2007

Transportation Security

The Transportation Security Administration is apparently admitting they are incompetent. At my home airport, Hanscom Field (KBED), we are required by the TSA to have security identification badges to walk out on the ramp to our planes that weigh less than the average car. To get a badge we had to submit ID, fill out a form, give full finger and hand prints, and submit to a background check and interview. But apparently after all of that, they still don't know who any of us are, and are now demanding that everyone previously issued a badge resubmit two forms of photo ID. On short notice, too.

On top of that, they will soon be instituting spot checks of bags and persons for "stuff you're not supposed to take out there," as I was told by a TSA officer. So now I have to get wanded down and have my flight bag rummaged through in order to make sure I can't hijack myself in a Cessna.

This is getting out of hand. The government is wasting countless dollars creating bureaucratic paperstorms, assuming every pilot is a menace, and making airports like prisons. It's enough to make me consider taking my flying business elsewhere. I would feel terrible for the flight schools and clubs at Hanscom, but I don't want to be a prisoner at my own airport. I'm not ready to leave Hanscom yet, but TSA should be aware that they risk smothering the very places they are charged to protect with their heavy-handed and wasteful policies.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Busniness Jargon

In this morning's Propwash, there is an article about the new Orbital Express spacecraft soon to be launched. It's a demonstrator of new technology that will allow servicing of satellites in orbit. But you'd never know that from the quote from the Boeing Advanced Systems president, George Meullner.
"Orbital Express is a revolutionary system that will offer customers with appropriately configured on-orbit assets new options to enhance the operation of their systems," said George Muellner, president of Boeing Advanced Systems. "This demonstration mission is the first step toward developing an operational system that can service satellites and support other space operations. Orbital Express continues our success in delivering solutions that shape new markets through the integration of people, innovation and technology."
What a long winded way to say "we can repair satellites in orbit".