AVmail: Nov. 21, 2005
Reader mail this week about the EZ Rocket, light guns and more.
EZ Rocket Cross-Country Flight
XCOR Aerospace should check German archives from the mid-1940s before claiming a record for their upcoming EZ Rocket flight (NewsWire, Nov. 14). It's quite possible that an ME163 diverted to an alternate base after a mission exceeded 11 miles in controlled, rocket-powered flight.
Your story on the EZ-Rocket and its planned 10-minute cross country reminded me of a story, courtesy of Bill Dana, one of the NASA test pilots, at a Wings gathering:
John Glenn launched from a B-52 in an X-15 on an altitude flight about 200 miles north of Edwards. His re-entry was a little shallow: He skipped off the atmosphere and was well on his way to L.A. before he could get turned around. All the emergency airfields were north, and he just barely made it back to Edwards. Total flight time was just over 10 minutes. The other guys all accused him of trying to build cross-country time.
To our knowledge, John Glenn did not fly the X-15. Perhaps the story was about Neil Armstrong, who was very involved in that program before he went on to the space program. (True, the X-15 program was considered to be a kind of space program -- the pilots were retroactively given their astronaut wings.)
Nonetheless, your point is well taken.
Features and AVmail Editor
Light Gun Signals
It is interesting to me that in every tower that I have been in, the light gun signals are posted on the side of the light gun (QOTW, Nov. 17). So it appears that controllers have the same problem using and remembering them that pilots do.
Trademarking Cub Yellow
I'm not a lawyer and know nothing about the finer aspects of trademark law, but what CubCrafters is doing defies logic and may have some unpleasant ramifications (NewsWire, Nov. 17).
It seems to me that the name "Cub," the yellow color and the black stripe are part of public domain at this point. These items have been used by rebuilders, homebuilders, parts suppliers, etc., for many years. If CubCrafters prevails, will Dakota Cub have to change their name? Will builders of radio-control Cubs have to pay CubCrafters a royalty? Will Cuby owners have to repaint their planes?
Legend Cub had developed, tested, certified and sold their product before CubCrafters filed their trademark or even certified their Sport Cub.
I think CubCrafters has the ability to create a competitive product without resorting to legal efforts. The decision to bring this suit may or may not have a legal basis but it sure is a public relations mistake.
I think "steam gauges" is a derogatory term for instrumentation that has served aviation very long and very well: simple dials with pointers and numbers, each telling you one or two critical pieces of information needed to safely get off the ground and back on the ground again.
I'm not a Luddite. I earn my living by designing and building electronic gear with embedded computing systems. But how about we show some respect for our old friends by referring to them as "analog gauges"?