‘Aviation Vulnerabilities Are Real’

Comments and opinions from Embry-Riddle alumni and friends.

From the Editor

The spring 2016 Lift, Off the Page event featuring aviation cybersecurity faculty and alumni experts was a great success. If you missed it, watch it on our videos page.

On another note, the 2016 Lift Readership Survey is now complete. To those who took the time to share your insight, thank you. The survey indicates that by and large, you’re pleased with Lift: 62 percent say they read most or all of each issue and 70 percent keep Lift for up to—or more than—30 days. Most (58 percent) still prefer the print edition, but a growing number (27 percent) like the option of reading both the online and print editions.

Readers rate the magazine high in quality: 84 percent praise the cover and photography as consistently good or excellent; 80 percent report ease of reading as good or excellent; and 80 percent agree to strongly agree that Lift strengthens their personal connection to their alma mater. We think that says a lot.

We appreciate your suggestions for future topics and ways to improve Lift, as well. You can view more comprehensive survey results at lift.erau.edu/2016survey. Don’t wait for the next survey. We welcome your feedback anytime: liftmag@erau.edu.

—Sara Withrow, Editor

Aviation Vulnerabilities Are Real

I read the article Open Season? [spring 2016] on aircraft cybersecurity with interest. I spent 27 years with Boeing and retired in 2010. I started working with Thompson Aerospace about three years ago. Thompson is unique and approaches aircraft data as a holistic issue. It patented the first aircraft LAN, making the aircraft a node in the internet. Cybersecurity was a major factor. Security was considered the most important element and Thompson designed the first hardware security modules to manage all aircraft data both onboard and aircraft to ground. The industry has basically ignored these advances. We are at the forefront of data security and exceed RTCA DO-326, DO-355 and DO-356. I thought the article was right on in highlighting the vulnerabilities.

Craig Jones (’77, DB)
B.S. Aeronautical Studies

Kudos for Lift, Off the Page

Thank you for putting this presentation [Lift, Off the Page: Aviation Cybersecurity] together and making it available to those of us who could not view it live. I was finally able to watch it and really enjoyed it. It was very enlightening and educational.

Jack Glowen (’12, ’14, WW)
Certificates, Aviation Safety and
Aviation Maintenance Technology

The Harvard of Aviation

Lift is a great read for past, present and future graduates. The stories are powerful and remind us why ERAU is considered “The Harvard of Aviation.” Keep up the good writing.

Frank J. Donohue (’85, DB)
B.S. Aeronautical Science

Double Taxation Is Troublesome for International Pilots

I am a fortunate beneficiary of an Embry-Riddle education. I am a pilot with Cathay Pacific Airways in Hong Kong and have been for the past five years. This letter addresses the taxation issues faced by U.S. pilots based overseas. As a U.S. citizen working in a foreign country, I have to pay both U.S. income taxes and income taxes assessed by the country in which I live and work (about 17.5 percent for China). There is an IRS foreign earned income exclusion (up to $100,800 for 2015) for U.S. citizens who meet certain criteria; however, anytime I fly over international waters, this exclusion cannot be applied and I am taxed as if I’m working on U.S. soil. The only way to avoid this problem is to request flights over foreign countries only.

Being an American pilot overseas, I also do not receive tax benefits for any retirement fund that I participate in through my company, since the United States does not recognize retirement funds established in other countries.

This is a real problem and will definitely affect any Riddle graduates who seek employment overseas. To my knowledge, America is the only country that practices such taxation on its overseas citizens. For more information on U.S. tax law for pilots working overseas visit: https://www.irs.gov/businesses/u-s-citizens-performing-services-in-foreign-and-international-airspace.

Eric Hooper (’10, DB)
B.S. Aeronautical Science