AVmail: March 29, 2004
Reader mail this week includes comments on the CVR at the U.N., birdstrike predictions, GPS orbits and more.
Wright Flyer Did Fly
Come on you guys. In contrast to what you wrote (NewsWire, Mar. 22), the Wright Experience/EAA Wright Flyer flew successfully twice at Kitty Hawk -- once in late November, and on December 3 by Kevin Kochersberger. See EAA Sport Aviation, page 32, for four pictures in sequence.
Of course, Mr. Crossfield is right (he should know, he trained the pilots). What we meant to get across was the Wright Experience replica didn't leave the track on the big day of Dec. 17, but we didn't make that clear in the article.
CVR At The U.N.
I would not be surprised that the CVR found at the U.N. Headquarters in New York City was indeed the one of the shot down presidential Falcon (NewsWire, Mar. 22).
The captain was a relative of mine; he was French and, most probably, so too was his F.O. This may explain why the cockpit conversations were in French.
Whether the conversation was casual or in emergency mode, U.N. officials will probably never tell us, for its nature could spark more ethnic massacres in this civil-war-riddled region.
Otherwise, what the heck would a Falcon CVR containing "casual conversations" in French do in an office of the U.N.?
GPS Orbit Is A Bit Lower
AVweb wrote (NewsWire, Mar. 22):
Next time you flip on your GPS, pause for moment to consider what's running it. The U.S. Air Force Space Command launched its 50th GPS satellite on Saturday to replace one that's nearing the end of its life. The tab? $45 million for the satellite, plus whatever it costs for the ride from Cape Canaveral to geosynchronous orbit via a Delta 2 rocket ...
Unless you are talking about a WAAS satellite, the orbit is not geosynchronous. The regular GPS satellites are not geosynchronous but make one orbit every 12 hours. I did read that the government was going to launch another (third) WAAS satellite. Is that the one you are talking about?
Uh ... yeah, that's it. We were talking about a WAAS satellite. (And thank you for that kind opening just wide enough to wiggle through.) Actually, we were referring to a Block IIR-11 replacement satellite, not the geosynchronous WAAS vehicle. Sorry for the error.
As an aside, the launch last week was the 50th GPS mission and in honor of Dr. Ivan A. Getting -- the visionary behind GPS -- the satellite carries a tiny commemorative plate with his name and a famous quote: "Lighthouses in the sky serving all mankind." See this article for more details.
Bird Strikes and Acronyms
Birds represent essentially a randomly located fixed object in the sky to an airplane (NewsWire, Mar. 25). It takes only one bird to cause serious damage. Even if one could develop a TCAS system to spot these, they do maneuver more quickly than aircraft, so any evasive action by the aircraft is usually counter-productive. The emphasis needs to be on the aircraft itself.
Having said that, it would probably be valuable to have large flocks painted on radar or weather downloads so the area could be avoided.
Reading your latest issue in which it was written ...
The FAA is working to develop a wildlife-hazards advisory system that would integrate radar data with the Bird Avoidance Model, or (it's not April 1, yet) BAM, that has been used with some success by the U.S. military. (There also exists a military Bird Aircraft Strike Hazard ... [BASH] team.)
... I came to the supposition that perhaps they may have a specialist who suggests such acronyms. Would that be the Acronym Suggestion Specialist?