...And Here, Darn it, Are The Heartbreakers
Final Compilations/Analysis by ANN Editor-In-Chief/Corporate
Insomniac, Jim Campbell
It is both the most "fun," and most
difficult task, facing the ANN staff at the end of every year --
determining who, or what, did the most to promote the cause of
aviation in the past 365 days... while also chastising those people
or entities that did all they could to undermine the many successes
the aerospace community has managed to accomplish.
Alas, 2009 saw more than its fair share of downers, aviation-wise.
Sure, "stuff" happens... but a few folks, issues, or entities
seemed to go out of their way to create problems for the world of
So... it is ANN's annual obligation to recognize Ten of our
Aero-Heartbreakers for 2009... in something of an informal order,
starting from the 10th to the 1st.
Let us know what you think of our selections... whom YOU would
have liked be included, or omitted, from such a list. In the
meantime, we hope those who had something to do with this year's
selections think a little more positively about the welfare of this
industry, so that future lists become harder and harder to
Be it ignorance, arrogance or just plain incompetence, these
were the folks or topics that made our lot a whole lot more
difficult and immeasurably injured the aviation world in the past
Shame on those issues, folks, or groups that made our lot so
much tougher in 2009...
Aero-Heartbreaker #6: eAPIS and CBP Nonsense
One of the beauties of General and Business Aviation is not just
our ability to fly in pursuit of personal enrichment or commercial
interests, but the fact that we can benefit our businesses and our
nation through interfacing with interests and businesses across the
border. This nation receives powerful benefits from those companies
that utilize aviation to pump up our side of the balance of trade
by reaching across borders to find business opportunities, sell our
services, build partnerships, and conduct American business outside
of our borders.
As critical as such functions are,
and the millions and billions of dollars that result, it is
absolutely astounding to me that moving across the border, (despite
the security issues always in play), has not just become
restrictive, it's just flat out become unworkable and convoluted. I
can't possibly tell you how long it took us to figure out how to
properly use eAPIS, and the Rube Goldberg, convoluted, poorly
designed interface that one has to deal with -- unless one partakes
in the commercial solutions that have sprung up to help people
navigate the vagaries of CBP's latest monstrosity. Once again, we
have no argument with the need to secure our borders and keep an
eye on making sure that whatever crosses our boundaries isn't going
to hurt us or otherwise create a negative scenario for a nation
that has had more than a chair of heartbreaks in this area.
However; this is a solution that was forced upon the GA and
BizAv community with little or no consultation -- not to mention
the tremendous ignorance, and degrees of complexity that are
neither needed, warranted, or explicable.
There are amazing people protecting our borders. I count members
of the CBP as some of my very best friends... but (without naming
names) I can't think of a single one of those people (that I've
come to know and trust), who look at the way eAPIS and CBP
procedures involve GA and BizAv, and find any rhyme or reason in
them. I'm talking really smart people, with his country's best
interests at heart, with inventive minds and talents in problem
solving -- who were never allowed to be a part of the
decision-making process that led to imposition of eAPIS and other
restrictive policies. We have no reasonable explanation for how
something so screwed up came to be the law of the land.
Once again the only true solution to Heartbreakers like CBP's
erratic eAPIS program, and similarly unenlightened policies, was to
work closely with the user base that ultimately would have to
employ it -- something that pretty much was ignored from the start.
They could have taken an unworkable and restrictive nightmare and
replaced it with a system that not only would have been easier to
use, but probably would have protected this nation far better.
Once again, it's a dirty crying shame... an unamerican one.