AVmail: Aug. 2, 2004

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Reader mail this week about Sport Pilot, the piston-powered altitude record, the datalink weather war, color blindness and much more.


Question Of The Week: Are CFI's Overpaid?

Regarding the recent QOTW (July 21)...

When one must take into consideration the fact that to be properly insured just for liability, the insurance premium is equal to 125% of the CFI's salary, they are not at all overpaid to fly with dummies. Then comes life insurance, food, etc.

Gary H. Grubb


Sport Pilot

Well the U.S. is finally catching up with us in Australia, in that we have had Ultralight aircraft flying at 544 kg with 45-knot stalling speed and 2 seats on a driver's licence for the LAST 10+ years.

We will now modify our Regs to keep ahead.

John Washbrooke


In your July 26th issue (NewsWire), you write:

EAA has been the driving force behind the entirely new class of aircraft and pilot certificate.

You've totally ignored the efforts of Aero Sports Connection (ASC) and Jim Stephenson. Jim has personally done more for the Sports Pilot effort than the entire EAA. Just because EAA is a much larger organization doesn't mean that they should get undeserved credit.

David Froble
Director at Large, ASC


Marion Blakey deserves a rousing round of "Hip Hip Hooray!" for her spin in an Ultralight (NewsWire, July 30). I wish our Canadian counterparts were as publically accessible and visible as she is. The photo of her sitting next to Kenley Snyder (if that's who it is) and the two of them having a good laugh should be this week's Picture of the Week!! Bravo I say.

As for Harrison Ford's alleged comment -- phooey on him. It's exactly the attitude he expresses that has kept ultralights from really becoming a going concern. He should know better; for a spokesman of his stature to be badmouthing something that he obviously hasn't the slightest clue about is shameful. Bricks to you Mr. Ford! Yah, boo!

Rory Filer


Folding Guitar

I was ammused by the article regarding the Swedish pilot that has created a folding guitar that will fit in the cockpit (NewsWire, July 26). Obviously he has a creative way of flying an "INSTRUMENT" approach

Christopher Gottwald


Farnborough Airshow

I attended the Farnborough (U.K.) airshow on Tuesday 20 July last week (NewsWire, July 19). This event occurs every 2 years alternating with the Paris Air Show and as such is one of the major week-long international aviation shows. I was disappointed not to see the B52H that was supposed to have performed a flypast en route from and to its U.S. base. This was because it flew past Blackbushe some 10 miles away. And this was the second day it missed the right airfield.

It is nice to know that the safety of the Western world is in such safe, capable and accurate hands. I imagine that if you are dropping a nuke a 10 mile error does not matter so much, but in the current non-nuclear situation it could spoil a whole lot of people's days! As it did disappoint, but not damage, on Monday and Tuesday last week. The commentator had a real problem keeping a straight politically-correct commentary face, as did a lot of spectators.

The B1 and F117 flypasts made up for it though; impressive.

Tim Bolt


Diamond in Germany?

I am reading the AVflash with delight since a couple of years. Just a short correction: Diamond Aicraft has it's HQ in Austria, actually south of Vienna and this is definitely not in Germany (NewsWire, July 26)!

Heinz Beregr


Aviation Diversity

Thanks AVweb for great, and almost always unbiased coverage of aviation news.

What drives my remarks today is an observation that is perhaps more of a threat to general aviation than the TSA. I read in today’s and recent AVmail many letters from disgruntled aviators, who are upset with the notion that there could be diversity in aviation. One condemns a skydiver’s pose; another condemns the prospect of many sport pilots in busy Southern California airspace; and a third condemns fired PATCO controllers for their apparently valid observations. I can hold a grudge as well as almost anyone, but gee whiz! Two decades?

With due credit to Ben Franklin who first said it: "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately." Aviators in our country seem to need a healthy dose of diversity training!

It is high time some of our less diplomatic aviators learn that they do not own the sky. If we cannot make our case as a unified rational vocal and voting constituency, we can soon (again, perhaps permanently) all watch the U.S. military guard our unfriendly skies against any and all intrusions from the likes of us.

Make peace with your fellow aviators! Know your true enemy!

Bruce Liddel


Piston-Powered Altitude Record

Your item about Bruce Bohannon's intention to try for the piston-powered altitude record at Oshkosh is misleading (NewsWire, July 26). The B-29 record cited is for altitude with a 1000 kg payload. The altitude record for piston-powered airplanes was set at 56,046 feet in 1938, by Mario Pezzi of Italy.

Adolphus H. Bledsoe Jr.


C-130J

Come on -- what shoddy, unquestioning "reporting." Why would you print that Inspector General assessment (or some inaccurate condensation of it) without giving at least one specific sensible reason why the C-130J can't be used in combat (NewsWire, July 26?

Has it been used in combat? Obviously.

Does it have more payload capacity and more fuel and more range than previous models? Obviously.

So what was your point in giving us readers a simplistic "sound bite" (eye bite?) from the IG report?

  • Trying to give the C-130J a bad name? Why? What is your axe to grind?
  • Trying to give the USAF a bad name? Why? What is your axe to grind?
  • Trying to ????

David Carter


9/11 Commission Report

The 9/11 Commission Report gave numerous reasons for the hijackings (NewsWire). Not mentioned was the one fix that would have been successful ... Guns In The Cockpit.

Clyde Roach


"C and C'ed"?

I am an avid reader of AVflash and I really appreciate your efforts to bring us interesting and relevant stories every week.

Regarding your story about the Epic LT in today's issue, you wrote that "... the "kit" itself is totally C and C'ed with tolerances of 5 to 6-thousandths," (NewsWire, July 28). I think you meant to write "CNC'ed" instead of "C and C'ed". "CNC" stands for Computer Numerical Control, a technology that uses computers to control machines like lathes, drill presses, metal bending machines, punches, milling machines, etc. to form parts to extremely close tolerances without human intervention. Typically, a engineer will design a part (a mounting bracket, say) using a CAD (Computer Aided Design) package, then feed that finished design to a CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) package to determine the most efficient and accurate way to machine that part using the CNC machines on hand in your machine shop. The CAM package then transmits a list of commands to each machine to cut, drill, bend, etc. the metal to form the desired part.

Companies like Boeing have taken this process to amazing new levels. Boeing engineers design entire airplanes (the existing 777 and the proposed 7E7, for example) using technologies that were originally derived from CNC concepts. Boeing engineers design every part using CAD, then command the computer to "assemble" those parts into assemblies to check for fit and interference, then perform all sorts of analyses on those assemblies (like stress tests, air/fluid flow tests, thermal and acoustic tests, etc.) before sending the part to a CAM package to actually cut metal. Please note that this is a VERY simplistic description of a remarkable technology that has revolutionized manufacturing over the past thirty or so years.

Again, thanks for AVflash. Keep up the good work!

Mark Milgrom


Skydiver and King Air

Robbie Culver asks what Ed Heick thought was stupid about that (AVmail, July 26). I don't know about stupid, but I wondered about the aerodynamic effect it had on the vertical fin and rudder when I saw it.

Mike Holshouser

AVweb Replies:

The King Air 200 has a high T-tail so the effect on the elevator is minimal. Obviously, air flow over the rudder is disturbed somewhat. Yes, the pilot will feel this in altered control feedback; he'll know someone is back there. But the airplane remains controllable.

Paul Bertorelli
Editorial Director


Datalink Weather War

Well, yes it’s pretty obvious that Garmin will not want WSI to provide the missing interface for the huge 430/530 community that it is leaving out of its GDL-69 interface to the G1000 and CNX-80 (NewsWire, July 28), and that sneaking some kind of code into an upgrade to these [430, 530] systems that blocks WSI’s proposed “public” interface is the obvious means to at the very least bring WSI to the bargaining table.

But (and this is a big but) there are some very elegant and low-cost alternative solutions to Garmin, WSI and Avidyne, and these shouldn’t be glossed over but deserve your attention. If this sounds a little chauvinistic, well, it is, but so is publishing.

Anywhere Map delivers a very powerful and sophisticated moving map GPS with most of the features found in the most expensive panel-mounted units and more than most others. Integrating this high-resolution moving map with XM weather delivers all the functionality (and in many cases more) of a multi-function display at a fraction of the cost.

Anywhere Wx systems with XM Satellite weather start realistically at $2395 plus $29.95 per month for weather. There are none of the bandwidth problems associated with Orbcomm, no minimum altitude requirements, no use limitations, and the units are shipping NOW. Avidyne will be offering XM weather but not for a while. Garmin’s offering is restricted to the G1000 which cannot be retrofitted, and the CNX-80, both of which require the GDL-69 interface and neither of which is either portable nor inexpensive.

So I think the idea of “breaking out the black boxes” is a little journalistic and overlooks some obvious and very practical solutions to getting weather that aren’t covered in your publications. There are things to be said for integration and there are things to be said for pipelining. So if delivering weather and gaining the dividend of a backup nav system is accomplished at the cost of a little duplication of abstract resources, let it happen and let us fly with that considerable margin of safety NOW while the avionics giants move their tectonic plates around to suit their boards of directors.

Richard Herbst
Control Vision Corp.

Editor's Note:

Control Vision manufactures the Anywhere Map and Anywhere Wx.


Color Blindness? Color Deficiency!

I'm on my second set of corrective glasses and have had a color vision deficiency since my first flight physical at the age of 17 by the U.S. Army. Having accepted color blindness as a defect, I decided to get a professional oponion. At my last eye exam, I asked the doctor to give me the truth -- am I really color blind -- at which time he whipped out the color chart book. I can never get the last two or three numbers; he told me to close my eyes, he turned off the overhead fluorescent lights and turned on a standard 75 watt incandescent light and Voila! I could indeed read the zzzz charts. He explained to me that because of the frequency of the fluorescent light, the wavelength of the colors were somewhat distorted and it threw off my color. This is called a color deficiency -- not color blindness. So next time you can't read the frig--n chart, turn off the overhead lights and turn on the reading lights.

Charle King


O'Hare and It's Delays...

Maybe O'Hare would not have had as many delays if their %$#@! mayor had not destroyed Meigs. Several hundred "little corporate planes" would not have to compete with the airlines for airspace and there might be the possibility that Independence could operate out of Meigs for some flights.

Bob Christian


Picture of the Week

What, no new POTW this week? Everyone at Oshkosh?

I submitted my best photo ever!

Mark Murdock

AVweb Replies:

You guessed correctly, Mark -- most everyone is at Oshkosh this week, and buried under a metric ton of our own photos. (Have a look!)

Rest assured that POTW will return this Thursday and that you'll be in the running. Most likely, we'll roll last week's entries over to this week. (Typically, POTW entries drop off a bit during show week, only to be followed by a surge of submissions once people start getting their show photos developed.)

We'd also like to thank the previous POTW winners (and submitters) who stopped by the booth during the show. We may not remember everyone's name, but we surprised a few folks with how well we remembered their photos!

Scott Simmons
POTW Editor


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