A Message From The DZO
We are fortunate enough to live in an exciting time. With so much happening around us it’s easy not to realize that there is an important reorganization happening with Air Traffic Control (ATC). If you like skydiving or are a skydiver you want to learn more about proposed bill H.R.2997. This proposal is currently in front of a full House which could privatize air traffic control. This may not seem like a big deal, until that private corporation makes the well-funded airlines the priority and the skydiving operators are left on the ground. Currently the FAA has control over ATC and they follow a ‘first come first serve’ guideline. This means when someone ‘radios ATC’ they have to work you in the order that you call. They can’t deny someone, which is a great system and has worked for years. My biggest fear is that the new private corporation will not follow this guideline and will service the major airlines first. As you know corporations have a strong desire to make money as efficiently as possibly.
Another part of this proposal is user fees. This means that every time you require ATC handling you will have to pay a fee. Let’s say that fee is $2.50 per flight. Multiply that fee by the 9,000 flights we make each year and that equates to $22,500 per year, fees which we in turn will have to pass along to you, the jumpers.
While this proposed bill seems daunting, there is some positive news. Almost every general aviation association is against this proposal, but the fight is far from over and I need your help.
You can help by writing to your congress member and telling them you are against this bill. The United States Parachute Association has drafted a letter to help get you started.
You can find a sample letter HERE or by clicking this link: http://www.uspa.org/Portals/0/files/misc_ATCSampleLetter.pdf
If you need help finding your local representative, click the following link and enter your zip code: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/.
Time is of the essence as they will be voting soon. I thank you for your help in supporting Skydive Chicago.
~ Rook Nelson, Skydive Chicago CEO