AVmail: Dec. 26, 2005
Reader mail this week about what you want in your airplane, in your record books, in your restricted airspace and more.
V.P. Restricted Airspace
The FAA must have the dumbest people in the world working for them. All the bad guys have to do is look where the restricted airspace is.
Who in the world would have known where in the world is the Vice President's new home?
We do now thanks to the FAA and the new restricted airspace (NewsWire, Dec. 1).
MDW "Skidding" Accident
The news media have goofed by constantly stating that the B-737 "skidded" off the runway at MDW (NewsWire, Dec. 12). I had hoped that AVweb would know better. But AVweb, too, reports that the airplane skidded off the runway. That airplane did not "skid." The B-737 has a very effective antiskid system that does just that -- it prevents the tires from skidding. The best braking coefficient occurs just before the tires stop rotation and begin to skid. This system releases just enough brake pressure just before the tire skids so as to ensure that the tires are at the absolute best braking coefficient. The Southwest B-737 "went" off the end of the runway, or it "proceeded" off the end of the runway, but it certainly did not "skid" off the end of the runway. AVweb should know better.
I'm aware that most newer airliners have anti-skid systems and I didn't use the term "skid" recklessly. Based on the pictures I saw and the airport diagram I consulted, it appeared to me that the plane didn't stay aligned with the centerline off the end of the runway but rather deviated to the left -- in what appeared to be a slightly sideways skid -- before ending up on the road. Given that most of the reports didn't say anything about the plane going straight off the end of the runway and the almost uniform use of the term "skidded" in dozens of reports, I concluded that "skidding" was an accurate description of the last few hundred feet of the jet's travel.
I am a retired airline pilot, having spent 32+ years with one carrier, many years of which were on B-737 models, and also B-757/767s. It is my understanding that landing calculations, as are V1 figures, are computed without the use of reverse-thrust. Reverse is certainly an aid, but not a requirement. An aircraft may be released to fly with the reverser(s) wired shut.
Gary H. Grubb
Threat to KFMY
There is a proposal to build three structures at the end of Runway 24 [at Fort Myers, Page Field], which will cause a displaced threshhold. The Fort Myers Building Department has recently allowed dwelling next to the fence at FL59 (Buckingham Field Airport). The Building Department seems to ignore these airports' existence.
Ercoupe JATO Video
For those who would like to see more of the original JATO tests with a pre-WWII Ercoupe (AVmail, Dec. 12), you may now order a DVD copy of the original military color films of the tests from the Ercoupe Owners Club. This DVD also contains footage of the "Twin Ercoupe" that was built and flown in aerobatic performances. The purchase price is $15.00 including shipping and the contact is Skip Carden.
John Michael Abrahams
Steve Fossett's "Record"
The only amazing thing about Mr. Fossett's new plan to fly non-stop around the world plus the Atlantic (NewsWire, Dec. 19) is that he still operates under the delusion that this feat is somehow important to the world. In the early years, before technology almost assured the outcome, men and women truly risked their lives to set records. Today, record setting has become nothing more than a rich man's hobby. Someday, fossil-fuel-based records such as Mr. Fossett's will be relegated to the dust bin of history. I wish he would use his considerable wealth and talent to more fruitful purposes.
Marshall Shooting Question of the Week
I think the question needed an assumption (QOTW, Dec. 14). To answer the question, you have to assume the Marshals reasonably believed the man posed a threat to the safety of the aircraft or passengers after repeated instructions were ignored, at the time he reached into the bag, etc.
I know its wordy but it better frames the issue for a thoughtful response. I have made those assumptions in agreeing with their actions. I wondered how many disagreed based on post-action news reports about the man.
How About ... An Airplane?
You forgot one important item on your "airplane wish list" (QOTW, Dec. 14):
Not all of us are fortunate to own our own wings yet.
Your list of options left out the most important item: Money.