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December 2011 Issue

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In the pay-to-play, NextGen future the FAA is shaping, itís no surprise that someone latched onto the idea that the government should stop giving this valuable data away for nothing. (Well, except we paid for it last April, right about the 15th of the month.) But the scheme canít work. If thereís anything the website world has proven is that people wonít pay more than peanuts for digital data if thereís any way around it. If the FAA tries to recoup serious royalties from the data the way it made a return on paper chart sales, itíll kill the industry. Most people will get just the barest charts they need (paper or digital), troll the internet for bits of free data to supplement (even though free sites like RunwayFinder will vanish), and fl y with whatever stuff they have.

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