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The image of GA in the media: Commuting by plane causes media hype

If you want to see a nice example how GA is badmouthed and it’s exponents face bullying and even prosecution, here is one.

University brags with climate sinner: Professor commutes to his lessons by private plane

Apparently this guy lives in Visp (Valais) and works in Chur (GR). During Winter time this means a commute of about 3.5 to 4 hours by train or car, a bit less in summer but not massively so. So the guy is a PPL and decides to use a club plane (AS202 Bravo) to commute if weather allows from Raron to Bad Ragaz, where he takes the train to Chur. And he posts this on twitter.

Up come the papers, the linked article is only one example. How can the university allow this “climate crime” to happen, they are bragging with a climate sinner… the dogs bark madly. Unfortunately, that professor is not a very good advocate for himself or GA as he starts to mumble about that he “compensates” his sin by not having a car and being vegetarian, instead of putting the record straight! That puts my compassion for him on hold, he should know better and fight back or at least make the case that his way of commuting actually is better even in the environmental sense than some other variants available to him.

The route he flies a couple of time a year is about 90 NM, which a Bravo will do in about 40 minutes. With 30 minutes on bus and train from Bad Razaz to Chur, this makes a commute of about 1.5 hours instead of 2-3 times that much. That plane has an O320 engine which consumes maybe 7 GPH, so the whole flight will burn maybe 20 liters of fuel, so 40 for the commute.

Of course driving is socially unacceptable too, but were he to drive, he would have to make a detour (in Winter at least) of at least 100 km on top and drive 250 km each way on mountain roads, which would mean the fuel consumption would likely be higher than the one the Bravo consumes. Apart, there is a good chance that the flying time he uses for something useful counts towards his renewal time. With the train prices we have, it is also likely that it is actually cheaper to go by plane…

Nevertheless the guy is being shot at by the media from all sides and the university falls right into his back so most probably he will loose his job as he is politically unacceptable.

Super example in my view how GA pilots are being bullied and put in a corner they don’t belong. The mainstream media will have a field day with any professional who dares using politically unacceptable means of transport (which they decide what they are) instead of wasting time on expensive trains.

The one encouraging lesson from it is that the comments are in his favour of the most time… most people slam the reporting rather than the pilot.

LSZH, Switzerland

I am concerned about day/night commute to work with all weather in an AS202 Bravo (first aircraft I flew ) than the negativity of the press on GA

Obviously, annual cost of such GA aircraft is as much as owning 2-3 cars in capital & operating costs wording it that way make it more socially acceptable, if the latter is not OK then the perception has nothing to do with GA

ESSEX, United Kingdom

and also shows on Instagram her professor, who likes to commute by plane to class. This is currently causing fuel among Instagram users.
A user writes, "Wow. A classic example of preaching water and drinking wine. “Another quips:” And then quickly to St. Moritz for lunch? "

Some people need to get themselves a life, and not spending time on instagram would be a good starting point

I suppose that, as a parent, spending time on instagram means you know about 5% of what your teenage kids get up to whereas otherwise you would know only 1%

But yes this is a consideration when using a plane to meet customers. You generally have to conceal your means of travel. When I do it (rare these days) and if I cannot conceal it, I just say I rent the plane for the day. For visiting suppliers and “miscellaneous business” stuff like exhibitions, there is of course no problem because you don’t care much what your suppliers think of your hobbies, so long as you buy their stuff.

When in certain social surroundings you have to make a judgement on whether it is ok to mention this topic. Yesterday we did a weaving course (not kidding – it was great fun ) and while the teacher was telling us (during the lunch break) how she and her husband are paying £80k for their 17 year old to do an integrated ATPL course, we did not feel it was right to mention that I fly. Fair enough… who cares?

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Just point to the fact that newly published climate research concludes that the climate’s sensitivity to CO2 is much lower that what the UN preaches.
https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/10.1175/JCLI-D-17-0667.1

EKRK, Denmark

This is a UK and obviously Euro thing.

The same conversation in the US is likely to be met with “Oh yes, my brother has a plane” or somesuch. My mountain flying instructor in Canada commuted to work every day in a Cub and had only lost a day or two in 3 yrs due weather.

EGBW / KPRC, United Kingdom

Ibra wrote:

I am concerned about day/night commute to work with all weather in an AS202 Bravo (first aircraft I flew ) than the negativity of the press on GA

He only does this a few times a year and of couse only in very good weather. The article even mentions that. And it is not his plane, it’s a club plane.

This guy seems decent enough and wanted to share a light moment…. only to be attacked left right and center by the green mafia. I suppose they will ask for his resignation next. He might need a few lessons in PR though.

Peter wrote:

You generally have to conceal your means of travel. When I do it (rare these days) and if I cannot conceal it, I just say I rent the plane for the day.

Great. So we have to LIE to people we expect to have serious business relations to out of fear they will not want to know us?? Sorry, but that is exactly what we should not do if we put the common welfare of GA in front of our personal image cultivation. What are we ashamed of?

But we have to listen to all that religious banter about Vegans, about climate change and all that and just shut up and be quiet not to disturb their sensitivities? No way.

GA has such a sorry rep here in Europe because even the people who use it more than anyone else do not have the guts anymore to stand up and face the consequences for defending it.

Michael_J wrote:

Just point to the fact that newly published climate research concludes that the climate’s sensitivity to CO2 is much lower that what the UN preaches.

Will be immediately dismissed as fake news. You know, this is religion, so you can’t fight it with facts. Apart, nobody short of some PhD’s understand these reports anyhow.

But if one means of transport burns 20 liters for a given route whereas the other burns double that and takes 4 times as long, any idiot will understand it. You can even facture cost into it: I suppose he pais less for the whole rental than the train ticket would cost given the prices the trains charge.

Aveling wrote:

This is a UK and obviously Euro thing.

Definitly. And the reactions to some of this makes me regret even more than before that I did not emigrate to the US when i had the chance. Here it is at the point where the only thing we should be ashamed of is not being GA pilots but of the fellow GA pilots who are unwilling to stand up for GA.

LSZH, Switzerland

Sorry, but that is exactly what we should not do if we put the common welfare of GA in front of our personal image cultivation. What are we ashamed of?

This is a general, not GA related, comment: Unfortunately this is inherent in doing business with large-company customers. Virtually all big companies are very politicised and full of career climbers. The best way to move upwards (well, for a heterosexual male ) is to show that you are tough, so you have to deliver somebody’s scalp. Now, who do you take this from? It can be an employee (hmmm, tricky, these days), a customer (no way) or a supplier (easy!).

And I know people who don’t want to appear in pics from fly-ins, for this reason.

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Mooney_Driver wrote:

but of the fellow GA pilots who are unwilling to stand up for GA

The fundamentalists target not merely GA pilots but the entire supporting infrastructure. Here’s a speech



given by a hero of mine, Rich Stowell, at the 19th Annual NJ Aviation Conference in 2014 addressing the wider context of public perception of and involvement in GA. Many of his points are relevant.

Michael_J wrote:

Just point to the fact …

Fundamentalist religions are immune from them. See Michael Crichton’s 2004 speech Environmentalism as Religion.

Last Edited by Qalupalik at 29 Mar 14:07
London

Qalupalik wrote:

Fundamentalist religions are immune from them

Largely true. However, easy and clean facts tend to convince those who have not totally handed in their senses at the door.

When I started flying again, I had to hear all this tosh and some more until I put the facts on the table. Price of the airplane, yearly/hourly cost, fuel consumption per 100 road km vs 100 air km e.t.c. In the rather green and leftist environment I live in I expected fights on the basis of all sorts of pseudoscientific tosh, but instead… nothing was ever said again by anyone, not to my face and as far as I know not much behind the other face either.

LSZH, Switzerland

Aveling wrote:

This is a UK and obviously Euro thing.

No one in the UK has even mentioned the environmental impact of flying my own plane, so I don’t necessarily think so.

Andreas IOM
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