November 11, 2002
I think calling it "pilot error" might not be entirely accurate, even if pilot reactions to wake turbulence cause the accident. I've heard through various sources that many pilots are now being trained to use the rudder for upset recovery in addition to aileron. Pilots are also taught that full control deflection is safe at or below maneuvering speed, which presumably they were while climbing. What nobody had told them was that repeated full rudder deflection was not safe! The pilots reacted exactly as they were trained. I think a more accurate phrase would be "training error".
Wake up America!!
Paul Bertorelli, Editorial Director, wants you to wake up and smell the coffee. I say wake up and stop the bureaucrats.
I write from the UK, where the idea of a personal briefing about weather or anything else is just a distant dream. This summer, we have been faced with an Internet NOTAM briefing fiasco that is a national disgrace. You can read more about it at http://www.telecall.uk.com/ais/news where you will see that the magnitude of the debacle inflicted on us by an unnacountable government is truly breathtaking.
One of the best parts of the US GA experience (apart from weather, airports, friendly attitudes, etc., etc.), is the magnificent FSS personal briefing. You must fight to the last Cessna to keep this service, which makes safe flying a matter of judgement rather than Russian roulette, as it is here.
Internet briefing certainly has a place in the aviation spectrum. But the temptation for desk jockeys to force it upon you without proper evaluation may prove just as irresistible in the US as it has over the green fields of England.
The recently announced larger presidential TFRs can be explained by the ever-increasing hat size of key participants.
Your 11/11/02 report of the Capstone save in Alaska is in error regarding the Capstone operation. The ADS-B data link sends the aircraft position and other information once per second on a single UHF frequency. It can only be received line of sight and will not reach a satellite. The save was probably by another ADS-B equipped aircraft that could home in on the signal with an accuracy of a few meters. This is the second time I have seen the press refer to the link as aircraft-to-satellite. You will doubtless receive messages from others.
AVweb responds ...
The manufacturer of the system, UPSAT, has confirmed to us that the ADS-B transmitter in the airplane sends a UHF signal that is picked up by a ground-based relay, which then uses satellites to relay the signal to the FAA in Anchorage and other ground stations. Technically, our statement of "The equipment sends out a signal with its aircraft's location that is then relayed by satellite ..." was correct, but I agree it is misleading. Thank you for clarifying it. However, we don't yet know whether another ADS-B-equipped aircraft was involved in locating the plane.