AVmail: November 10, 2003

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Reader mail this week about ATC privatization, the Enola Gay exhibit, sharing the airspace with mini-jets and more.


ATC Privatization

After the "performance" of the FAA controllers handling traffic for the AOPA Convention in Philadelphia last week, maybe we do need a change to privatization. Aircraft circling over ill-defined points, at an altitude and heading of their individual choice, along with no indication of the expected holding time was a recipe for disaster. It is my understanding that less than 350 aircraft landed at PNE on the first day when I flew in.

The folks in charge of Philadelphia Approach need to have their controllers watch a video of Oshkosh operations to see what "dedicated" controllers really can accomplish.

Jim Bemiss


You quoted GAMA (NewsWire, Nov. 6) as stating:

"The Bush Administration has never proposed privatization, the FAA Administrator has said the Administration is not pursuing privatization, and the House and Senate are on record opposing privatization."

If all of this is true, then why is the bill worded such that it appears to open a door to future privatization? Why not make the changes Lautenberg suggests? The last two years have amply shown that it is not important what this administration says, it's important to follow what it does. I don't think anyone seriously doubts that the current leadership would privatize the entire system overnight if it could.

The various alphabet groups that have signed onto the bill are doing it simply because there might be a lot of money spent on general aviation. This is not bad for the short term, as it's exactly the type of infrastructure deficit spending we should have been doing all along to jump-start the economy. However, long term, I have absolutely no doubt that the current leadership or its successor will use the wording in this bill to eventually privatize the system.

Jeff Boatright


Sharing the Airspace

We should remember that airline pilots are still the new kids on the block (NewsWire, Nov. 3). I can remember the day when the Boeing 707 invaded my airspace for the first time. My F-86 and I -- until that point -- had been the only users of that rarified air. I learned to tolerate their invasion; they will just have to get used to the invasion of private jets.

George Davis, USAF (Ret)


Walter Extra's Midair

So what happened to the propeller tip of the 182 that nicked the Extra 500's wingtip (NewsWire, Nov. 3)?

Einar Gunnar Einarsson

AVweb Responds:

The C-182 propeller was nicked with minor deformity on the outboard blade tips. Also, per the engine manufacturer's recommendation following any impact or sudden engine stoppage, the engine is being torn-down and inspected for any internal damage. These inspections are currently underway and I have no word yet as to the results. In light of the visual damage and the overall nature of the event, no significant damage is expected; nonetheless, we are being conservative.

Ken Weaver
President, Extra Aircraft


Enola Gay Exhibit

The display of the Enola Gay (NewsWire, Nov. 6) in no way endorses, encourages or glamorizes the use of nuclear weapons in war. It is merely an icon representing the final moments of a bloody four-year struggle in which our entire nation -- not warlike interests -- was fighting for its life. It is typical of special interest groups to sieze upon a benign symbol and make it the bow of their moral ice-breaker. The U.S. did not pursue war with Japan; it defended itself against a risky plan advanced by the Japanese to neutralize the U.S. military in the Pacific Rim and force the United States to sue for peace, or face the very real possibility of a West Coast invasion.

I find it ludicrous for groups to fix a date in time -- August 6, 1945 -- as the moment the morality of the Pacific war shifted from the U.S. to a higher reasoning. There was no glory associated with Hiroshima or Nagasaki, and the debate over whether Japan would have requested an armistice is moot because -- until nuclear weapons were used -- no such request was ever made. It is also debatable whether the hundreds of thousands of U.S. casualties predicted in the land invasion of Japan were accurate; but again, hindsight is 20-20. Demonizing the implements of war does nothing to avert war itself.

Richard Herbst


I followed your link to the Web site of the Committee for a National Discussion of Nuclear History and Current Policy and read their statements on the Enola Gay exhibit. Your news report implies that the group is protesting the exhibit, but I believe it would be more accurate to say that they are protesting the absence of material on the implications and controversy surrounding the use of nuclear weapons. It appears to me that they are not asking for a one-sided, anti-nuke treatment of the subject, but to have the issues that this technology introduced discussed at all.

Richard Palm