of the FAA is currently weathering some difficult transits. Recent inspections
on planes like the MD-80 (due to Alaska’s crash) and the 767 seem like
too little, too late. What will restore the confidence of the flying public
in this besieged institution?
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) came into being on August 23,
1958, replacing its predecessor, the CAA. The FAA began operation charged
with the responsibilities of regulating commercial air
travel, establishing flight rules and ensuring
the safety of U.S. commercial aviation. Even for a multitasking Virgo
Sun conjunct powerful Pluto, this is more than a complete flight plan.
Critics argue that regulating the business of aviation and overseeing
safety is a conflict of interest. Here, Virgo’s service priority argues
with the political agendas of the powers in charge (Pluto). All this implies
the darker nuances of Pluto: political favoritism that leads to ignoring
critical life-and-death details.
The FAA is
a bureaucratic organization. It is a Virgo with three planets in Leo.
It has pride, desire for prestige and budget money (whether used or not).
Add to this its lofty philosophical agenda (patriarchal Saturn
conjunct a normally free-spirited Moon in Sagittarius, the sign of travel).
Sag, at its most difficult, insists it is right to the point of ignoring
obvious truth. Saturn indicates an innate hesitancy—a function of caution.
These astrological priorities are felt by those in power in the FAA.
Ole Boys Club
first entered Sagittarius in 1995 and squared the Sun-Pluto alignment
of the FAA, the Inspector General of the Department of Transportation,
Mary Schiavo, accused the FAA of being a favoritist organization that
ignored obvious safety problems. She specifically cited the discount airline
Value Jet. Value Jet was unsafe. The carrier crashed a plane (after a
phenomenal history of near accidents) into the Florida Everglades in May
the public began to gain an awareness of the actual political ploys in
commercial aviation. Favors in administration, ignoring maintenance considerations
and redirecting funds—all factors of Pluto—came to light. It is interesting
that with Uranus and Venus in Leo approaching an opposition from Uranus
in Aquarius beginning in 1997 and 1998, women (Venus) would figure so
strongly in exposing necessary changes (Uranus) in what Schiavo declared
was a good ole boys club.
continues to get media coverage whenever an issue of airline maintenance
or politics comes to light. On a more mundane level, Venus rules cosmetic
effects. In airline inspections, this means visual inspection of equipment.
Recently, Alaska reported that they had incorrectly assessed the condition
of stabilizers in many jets because they used an improper specialized
(Uranus) tool. Allegedly, if someone had visually inspected TWA 800, they
may have found wiring flaws near the fuel tanks.
FAA is responsible for issuing directives concerning safety and regulations
in commercial flight. Often these directives post late, are hidden or
ignored entirely—usually with a cost effectiveness justification. Mercury in
Leo is retrograde in the FAA chart. The attitude here is, “The rules
apply, but not to our friends, and oh by the way, we’re only stating this
to have it on record. If anything goes wrong, you’re on your own.” The
pride of Leo here considers those who comply, submit and remain subject
to rule to be friends. Those becoming troublesome get dropped. Mercury
retrograde in Leo manifests here as face-saving (Leo) denial of conversations
and documents detailing problems.
problems are ground control radar and upgrading obsolete air traffic control
systems. “But it costs so much money,” argues Pluto conjunct Sun in bean-counting
Virgo, conjunct neighboring Mercury in Leo. “We don’t have that kind of
budget,” the powers claim. Actually, they do, but the funds and tariffs
have been redirected in the budget. The budget money was taken away from
aviation priorities (Mercury) to bolster more significant political pride
(Leo) favorites in federal spending.
Ahead for the FAA?
and May 2000, Saturn will be in Gemini. Saturn, king of the realm of rules
and regulations, guidelines and management, combined with the communicative
essence of Gemini, may lead to clarification of ambiguous or contradictory
doctrines. Uranus squaring Mars in Taurus at the end of August 2000 offers
a supportive nudge for overdue change. Uranus shifts Taurus’ budget and
administrative policy. Mars in the slow-going Taurus rather likes its
direction. Optimistically, it looks like things can change without negative
circumstances. The FAA must regain the trust of the public. This is unlikely
unless they issue massive safety promises that the FAA can keep.
in 2003 and 2004, the FAA will endure the transit of Pluto to its structural
Saturn and the flight safety support agenda of the Moon. This symbolizes
taking care of its people (Moon) by ensuring their safety—akin to protecting
children. Should these changes not integrate smoothly, we could experience
the same old organization with the same old problems. Instead of re-inventing
the avionic wheel, why not reallocate already appropriated funds (Pluto-Sun)
in a proper manner?
FAA has Mercury retrograde, communication on the matter would help. Writing
a note to administration officials asking about the airline ticket tax
and where it goes could be a good start. At least that’s what my radar
is telling me.