Category Archives: Rants
In the words of Earl Pitts… “Ya’ Know what make me sick?” – Getting screwed by a rental car company! While planning our trip to Oshkosh by way of Rapid City, SD (KRAP), I figured we needed a car for the four days we planned to be in KRAP. So I called the FBO at KRAP and asked about rental cars. The response was that we can get you a car from Hertz and have it here when you arrive or you can get one directly from Hertz. So, I decided to go online with Hertz to see what their rates were and if maybe there was another option. Sure enough, Hertz had a rate for the FBO delivery… $90 per day plus a multitude of taxes that amounted to a total over $450 for four days! HOLY KRAP!
BTW… this is the reason we bought our ’97 Grand Marquis to keep in Arkansas. The FBO at Mountain Home, Arkansas was charging us $65 + per day for an economy class car from Enterprise. One day when I found a special deal on a car from Enterprise for $29, I asked if they would pick us up at the airport – the response – “Oh no, we can’t do that, the airport is a protected market.” – WTF – “So you’re telling me, if I walk down the road a mile or so to the fire station on the main highway, you’ll pick me up” – “I guess we could”… well that was “too much candy for a nickel” as my dad would say. SO, we paid $1400 for a car of our own, in pretty good shape, and put it at a different airport (KFLP) that charged $0.80 less per gallon for 100LL. Now, after 34 nights of use in less than a year, I have saved over $2,200 and the FBO at Mountain Home has gone out of business…
Back to KRAP… So I decided to give Enterprise another try, this time at Rapid City… imagine that, EXACTLY the same price (over $450 for 4 days) as Hertz but they were located at the airline terminal and did not provide service to the FBO. So, I decided to look at their “in town” price since their slogan on TV is “we’ll pick you up”, WOW, you could get the same crappy economy car 7 miles away for LESS THAN $200 for the same 4 days! Well, I may be stupid, but I’m still cheap…I rented the $190 car online just to see if they said anything about excluding delivery or pickup at the airport. Sure enough, I get this quote printed on my receipt…
What a racket… So much for their popular “pick you up” slogan. I understand that there may be some additional cost of doing business at the airport, but to be able to charge 141% more for the same car – I gotta call blowing snow here. So, I guess we will figure out a way to get into town, I’m sure I can get a cab to take me in for 20 bucks or so, which will still keep our rental cost below $250, that $200 saved will buy a lot of Leinenkugel’s when we get to Wisconsin!
FAST FORWARD 24 HOURS… After stewing over this CRAP @ KRAP, I got to thinking that maybe there was a local alternative to the national rent-a-car companies and the whole airport price fixing thing and after a quick Google search, I found several local companies that WOULD pick you up at the airport. I ended up calling Black Hills Car Rentals and talked to John, who said he would pick us up at the FBO for no extra charge and the rate was $37.95 / day plus tax! For a total of $193, we can be picked up at the FBO when we arrive and can leave the car at the FBO when we get ready to depart… now that’s customer service! So, I quickly cancelled the Enterprise contract and I will post our experience with the local company after we return the car, but I am confident, at this point, it will be a good one.
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PAUL’s first rant…
It’s only a matter of time… before one of these UAV’s comes into contact with another airplane. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as big of a “technologist” as anyone, but the level of technology required to keep these things separated from “the rest of us” is NOT THERE YET! Most of the UAV’s of the world are piloted by a guy in a mountain cave in Colorada in front of a computer screen with a joystick. Some, are flown locally from an inconspicuous trailer in the Walmart parking lot, but they all require a radio signal to the UAV via a satellite data link… that is where the problem starts! The system latency of a long distance, point to point satellite signal can be several seconds AT BEST… imagine a 400 MPH vehicle being controlled by someone who only knows where it was 3 or 4 seconds ago.
Skin in the game… When we are flying the RV-9A around, we are always looking for other planes, even if we are on an instrument flight plan. The most basic rule of flying is “see and avoid”… I don’t think this can be done as effectively from a cushy seat in the Colorado “bat cave”… what does he have to lose? If the drone, Captain America is “flying”, “scrapes paint” with my little plane or God forbid a 737 with 184 souls on board, he goes home a little upset and the rest of us get shipped back in a pine box!
LANDED – WTF???… Details of todays incident in Maryland can be found at this link on USA Today. You gotta love the mainstream media’s view of what happened. Look about 2/3 of the way down and see the quote “CNN says the drone landed in a marshy area near Salisbury Md.”…. LANDED!!!, I was always taught that a great landing was one you could walk away from and a good landing was one that you could still fly the plane after. Apparently, CNN thinks that any drone in a SMOKING HOLE has landed!
Time and a Place… Don’t get me wrong – I think these things have a place “in theater” during war time and “off shore” for for testing. But, PLEASE don’t put me face-to-face with this 176 Million dollar RC plane operated by Captain America until his seat is rigged with a little C-4 plastic explosive that is set to go off when we make contact!
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