AVmail: December 8, 2003

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Reader mail this week about Air Force One's secret flight, noise at British airports and more.


Air Force One

AVwbe wrote (NewsWire, Dec. 1):

The flight crew had prepared for what they believed was a milk run to Washington for maintenance.

I don't really know for sure but I'd strongly suspect the flight crew was aware of things; however, if you meant the press crew, it might well be. Very hard to tell from your writing!

The plane took off at 7:25 p.m. local time, without running lights and with all the window shades pulled down.

From Waco? Seems to me that'd draw far more attention than a plain vanilla departure as had been previously advertised. Didn't you mean for arrival in Bagdad, blacked out and shades drawn?

Randy Sohn


Noise at British Airports

I find it ironic that now, after the 707s, Caravelles, DC9s, Tridents, and Concordes are now mostly just a memory, the noise issue reaches another crescendo (NewsWire, Dec. 1). How did these British residents live in the 1960s? Here in Denver, we are dealing with the same issues despite already moving the airport way out of town, modifying departure patterns, and with fewer than a dozen "loud" operations per day. I welcome the next generation of airliners with enthusiasm, especially if they look like the drawing that accompanied this AVweb article, but let's all keep the noise issue in perspective.

Martin Marlow


NASA SATS Article

Regarding the article, "Highway In The Sky Inches Nearer ..." (NewsWire, Nov. 27).

I would like to make you aware that Highway-In-The-Sky (HITS) is not "inching nearer"; it is certified and available today. Chelton Flight Systems received FAA certification of 3-D HITS navigation for all IFR procedures (including DPs, STARs, approaches, missed approaches, holding patterns, and even holding pattern entries) in January of this year. It is GPS WAAS-based and is approved for LNAV/VNAV procedures. It is shipping to customers throughout the country today. It is STC'd for over 650 types of aircraft.

Your article leads readers to believe that HITS technology is still a NASA research program, when it is actually a commercial product that is FAA-certified and available now. I would appreciate a statement to your readership to clarify this.

The real interest in this story lies in the fact that the NASA Small Aircraft Transportation System (SATS) program is spending millions of tax dollars "inventing" a technology that is now available off-the-shelf.

Thank you for your attention to the matter.

Gordon Pratt
President, Chelton Flight Systems