Recession fears and the specter of high living costs might worry many, but thanks to the United States Senate, Los Angeles entrepreneur David Singleton is seeing his business exploding – literally.
“It’s all very exciting. Very tragic, of course, but very exciting,” said Singleton during an annual stockholder’s meeting for his aviation-disaster clean-up company, On the Wings of Angels. The business takes contracts from area airports to do clean-up and removal of crashed aircraft and “passenger debris.”
In recent months, Singleton has seen his business grow from a small enterprise run out of the back of a rented hearse into its current incarnation, employing over one hundred employees and maintaining a fleet of fifteen debris-hauling work trucks. And with the recent defeat of an air-transport modernization bill in the U.S. Senate, Singleton believes that his business has nowhere to go but up.
“Every day, the skies above South California just get more and more crowded. Commercial traffic, personal aircraft, training flights – it’s just madness up there. We’re seeing seven [or] eight crashes a week. Massive casualties,” Singleton beamed. “I couldn’t be happier.”
The defeated FAA funding bill called for $10 billion dollars over the next decade to upgrade the air-traffic control system used by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The bill failed to come to a vote as a result of political infighting and governmental hair-pulling.
The current system used by the FAA is considered to be woefully underpowered: the aging system hasn’t seen an upgrade since the 1970’s, when a major overhaul had the main air-traffic computers moved from the basement of the FAA director’s home to a spot in a main-floor closet. The previous upgrade also saw the creation of a back-up control system, built out of a modified Addam’s Family pinball machine.
Despite the bill’s failure, FAA Director Simon Cafferty held out hope that the Senate would still supply the funding for an upgrade. “It’s definitely something that we need. $10 billion would allow us to make a lot of important changes. We’d be able to upgrade most of the machines to [Windows] XP, as well as build an outdoor shed in the backyard to house the system, “explained Cafferty, citing his wife’s concerns that the current set-up left little room for linen storage.
“As well, I’d like to see an upgrade to the back-up system. Some new flippers installed or, God willing, replace it with Frogger.”
Until that time, the skies above California will continue to be over-crowded and traffic control under-powered. And that equals big profits for Singleton’s company. “Politicians are the ones that make the mess, I’m just the one that cleans it up,” said Singleton. “Sometimes with a shovel.