AVmail: Apr. 4, 2005
Reader mail this week about the ATC shortage, aging pilots, the new Marine One and more.
New Marine One Contract
On a topic other than general aviation, I was disappointed to hear that the Navy's presidential helicopter contract went to Lockheed-Martin as opposed to Sikorsky (NewsWire, Jan. 31). The Lockheed product -- the US101 -- is simply a licensed copy of the European Augusta EH101 helicopter. It will be built by Bell Helicopter in Amarillo. The Sikorsky contender, the S-92, is pure American: managed, designed, and built by an American company. Igor Sikorsky began building airplanes in America in 1923, and his company is perhaps the oldest aircraft manufacturer in the country. The Marine Corps has a rich history transporting the president on Sikorsky helicopters. The S-92 is based primarily on Blackhawk technology, which the military is entirely familiar with. The US101 is based on a design never seen in the U.S. and totally foreign to the military. In my humble opinion, it would be much more fitting for the President to fly on the Winged-S, on an aircraft from a company rich in American history and service.
What Are You Calling The East?
AVweb wrote (NewsWire, Mar. 28):
"A new event set for June 2-5 in Tunica, Miss., aims to bring Reno-style pylon air racing to the eastern half of the country."
The East? Hardly. East of the Mississippi River, yes, but barely. Tunica is in the "hard" South.
We figure folks from New Hampshire and other such locations will appreciate a race taking place much closer than Reno.
Short Final -- Sequins
A co-worker recognized my misbehavior in your March 28 Short Final. I confess. Though often in trouble, I -- and I suspect many other Air Traffic Controllers -- brave the FAA's ire and insist on incorporating elements of humanity in our otherwise scripted jobs.
Mark "Cleared For The Option" Stafford
I want to thank you again for selecting my question to be the QOTW (Mar. 23).
I just wanted to comment on the whole ATC issue. I am a potential hiree, who was caught in this hiring freeze that has been in place for the last few years. The shortage rates are extremely alarming and I was hoping the QOTW would stir up the GA community and help them realize how bad staffing is around the nation.
NATCA has plenty of info on the severity of this situation. It is vital that GA gets involved in the fight, or at least understands how bad things are.
I have reached the magic age of 70 and still hold a Class I medical under the rules of New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority (NZ CAA). But next week I am up for a medical to renew my Class I, and my medical examiner's secretary asked me to download the forms necessary for the next medical examination. (I use a mobile medical examiner who is a good chap and calls himself "The Flying Doctor.")
I found on the NZ CAA Web site -- Medical -- forms -- "Aging Pilots Report," Form # 24067-217. This form has a print date of 01/99.
I found this offensive because the candidate does not know what is put onto the form because it is confidential. I approached the "Human Rights Commission" and effectively got advised we can run an inquiry, but CAA being a Government department can overrule the Act, and do any secret check it likes under the grounds of flight safety.
Could this be done in good-old U.S. of A?
In an AVflash version of our quick note about an airport security meeting (On The Fly, Mar. 31), we mistakenly identified the location as Ironwood, Maine. In fact, it is Ironwood, Mich.