Perspectives on Business and Economics, Vol. 40

92 more AWOSs would be of significant help to much of the state, it would do little to ameliorate safety issues where it matters most. One potential solution to the dangerous mountain pass issue is to expand and improve aviation sectional charts in those areas. Many of the maps for Alaska are old, undetailed, and ultimately of little use to pilots trying to get through these passes. Making sectional charts more up to date, more fleshed out and detailed, and ultimately more accurate would allow pilots to use them more readily. Creating such existing aeronautical sectional charts might seem like a straightforward fix, but problems arise when evaluating who makes these sectionals. Official aviation sectionals in the US are updated every 56 days by the Air Traffic Organization (ATO), the FAA’s operational branch (FAA, 2022b). Given that a government office is dedicated to the creation of these sectionals, most of the country’s airspace is well documented. However, since one organization is ultimately responsible for sectionals, resources often are spread thin, causing the ATO to focus on higher-priority areas like the space around major airports and flight paths. As a result, sparsely populated places, like Alaska’s mountainous interior, often are overlooked, and, therefore, new, updated maps rarely come out. The primary issue with creating Alaskan aviation sectionals is that solely the FAA, through the ATO, can produce these sectionals. This means that for progress to be made on this front, two problems must be addressed regarding the ATO: first, the size of the ATO’s team dedicated to creating and updating sectionals, and, second, the relative priority of Alaska’s issues with the sectionals compared with other projects. Solving both issues would require political maneuvering on the parts of both Alaska’s senators and representative, but ultimately the solution seems to boil down to these politicians advocating for targeted budget increases for the ATO. In the case of the first problem, if the ATO were larger and had better funding directed toward the creation of sectionals in general, then it would be able to scale up its operations and create more sectionals at a faster rate, thus moving through the backlog more quickly. In the context of the second issue, advocating for increased funding for the ATO would allow Alaska’s federal representatives to negotiate for Alaska to be granted higher priority by the ATO and more attention paid to the mountainous interior. The ATO’s Mountain Pass Working Group has much to do; nonetheless, it is updating existing sectionals and issuing new ones, but not quickly enough. So far, the Mountain Pass Working Group has “added, verified, or locationally corrected” maps of 50 frequently traversed passes in Alaska (FAA, 2021b). Although a solid step forward, these 50 represent just a tiny portion of the hundreds of mountain passes through which pilots frequently fly. Fixing Alaska’s sectionals is a challenging job that requires a tremendous amount of time and effort, with a single government office authorized to do the job. Updating sectionals is an essential step toward improving safety, but it is not something that can be done quickly without the ATO putting other, more urgent projects aside. The final proposed solution, mandating that planes be equipped with GPS units and ADS-Bs, carries a question of cost, which presumably would fall on the shoulders of plane owners. Commercial operators, their advocacy groups like the Alaska Air Carriers Association, civil aviation groups like the AOPA and the Alaska Airmen’s Association, and private pilots alike would likely offer pushback as a result. This pushback already showed itself in 2008 when groups representing small commercial operations and private pilots in Alaska pushed against the FAA’s decision to mandate that all planes have an ADS-B out transmitter. Many viewed the regulation proposed by the FAA as too sudden, exorbitantly expensive for the average civil pilot, and of little use for improving safety (AOPA ePublishing, 2008). To appreciate the problem of cost, the prices for both a standard GPS and a standard ADS-B must be considered. Garmin, an American-based multinational technology company, produces the industry standard aviation technology, including GPS and ADS-B systems. On the lowest possible end, a pilot seeking to obtain just a GPS unit could get away with purchasing a device from Garmin that effectively turns an iPad into an aviation GPS. This device costs $130 but requires an iPad, which costs anywhere from approximately $200 for a used device to $2100 for a new one (Sporty’s Pilot Shop, 2022b). At minimum, then, the cheapest