Televangelist, college boosters, Hooters on stealth fliers list
By Michael Grabell and Sebastian Jones ProPublica
In 2005, South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds faced a controversy over his use of state aircraft after the Argus Leader in Sioux Falls reported that the Republican governor often combined personal and political trips with state business.
The following year, his administration took advantage of a Federal Aviation Administration program that lets aircraft owners block flights from tracking websites. Dan Mosteller, superintendent of South Dakota’s Highway Patrol, said he took the action for security reasons on March 30, 2006. That was the same day Rounds announced his re-election campaign.
Military aircraft should be blocked.
Private aircraft should be blocked or not blocked at the discretion of the owner.
Government owned aircraft should not be blocked with very few exceptions (e.g. the aircraft transporting prisoners).
Use of the national airspace is generally considered public information because pilots - whether airline captains or recreational fliers - rely on a system of air traffic controllers, radars, runways and taxiways, lighting systems and towers that are all paid for or subsidized by taxpayers. As a result, flight data collected by the FAA in its air traffic control system - except for military and sensitive government flights - is public information. Web sites such as* FlightAware *post the data online, allowing anyone to observe the system and follow most planes virtually in real time.
I understand the reasoning that companies have about blocking their aircraft from tracking, but it sure does make sites like this less of an asset for FBOs and airports. We use flightaware often to look for incoming corporate traffic, which helps when planning parking (which is limited), or handling ground transportation. Some pilots are good about calling ahead, but when you suddenly have a G-V drop in, and your ramp is nearly full, it is a mad dash to rearrange aircraft to park it.