AVmail: March 1, 2004
Reader mail this week about the Army's Comanche helicopter, the scenic tour NPRM, and more.
Killing the Commanche
In a typical Army mentality, the system that wants to "restructure and revitalize Army aviation to meet current and future needs" killed the one avenue it had to do exactly that. As a retired Army pilot, I have watched for years as this branch of military service seemingly anti-aviation, makes all the wrong decisions concerning aviation. This one will be their worst and most costly "wrong decision." (Of course, they have always been pretty good at trying to make a helicopter do everything and bloating it out of existence.) The Air Force would never let an advanced air frame go by the wayside ... Why? Because their bread and butter is in aviation. Not so with the Army. For the Army, the bread is buttered with infantry and armor. Aviation has always been a thorn in "soldiers" sides ... because they get to wear those darn flight suits ... who do they think they are?
It takes decades to get a new, more advanced airframe into service. They just killed any opportunity for a modern military combat helicopter in most of our lifetimes. Sure they can rebuild and modernize the Apache, but at some point, the Apache will fall short. There is no breathing room now and the helicopter will become even more essential in these small-country, limited engagements we seem to desire.
The Army should bite the bullet and move all aviation assets into the Air Force where real aviation decisions can be made!
Scenic Ride NPRM
I have urged every pilot I know who has email to respond to the NPRM forum on 25 nm Scenic Rides. Unfortunately there are few responses at this time.
We have only until March 5 to respond. Oviously the short deadline is part of the FAA's agenda to have its own way. Can a special AVflash be issued urging pilots to respond to this NPRM immediately? All the responses to it have been negative so far.
The FAA listens less to substance than numbers. It is essential that pilots spend even a couple of minutes to write a few sentences objecting to this NPRM by March 5.
God forbid this NPRM becomes effective because of apathy.
We have been doing our best to get the message out, including numerous AVweb articles in recent weeks. We don't have the resources to put out an AVflash email just for this subject, but we encourage everyone to make their opinions known on the NPRM forum. Also, my understanding is that the closing date for comments was changed to April 19.
Features and AVmail Editor
As a former corporate pilot for Phillips Petroleum, a FlightSafety Corporate Jet Instructor and Examiner, and now a returnee to GA where we are preparing for the "small airplane" glass cockpit trainers, may I say, "Thank You!" Your information is succinct and poignant; and ever since I subscribed in 1999, this has been a publication I always read.