AVmail: Feb. 13, 2006
Reader mail this week about night rescues, landing on a highway, crashing on the centerline and much more.
Your report on the angst among the officials involved in the rescue of the two young people lost near Paradise is typical of the "professionals" (NewsWire, Feb. 6) As a long-time professional helicopter pilot, I can say that any number of pilots can do what the Sheriff's Department and the CHP were unwilling to do: technical, night-time and challenging missions. The authorities may have a point concerning the liability aspects of this evolution, but the generally less-experienced pilots employed by the official agencies protecting their "turf" was pretty humorous. They can only hope, someday, to acquire the expertise of most of the "amateur" working pilots that abound outside their cosseted environment.
Hill AFB MOA
In your recent article re: the Hill AFB (NewsWire, Feb. 6), you didn't mention what I consider to be a potential severe impact to a small and endangered "species" of aircraft: Soaring pilots migrate to Ely to fly the great basin's excellent summer thermals. They bring much-needed tourism dollars to the communities involved. The proposed MOA will have a strong negative impact on soaring.
Thanks for all you do for aviation!
Landing On The Highway
I'm surprised at the number of pilots who attempt [to land on a highway] when faced with a power-out emergency (NewsWire, Feb. 6). It has always seemed like an incredibly poor choice to me, and seems to show a real disregard for the safety of the ground-bound drivers and passengers who are rightfully there. Sometimes it might work out (with traffic backed up for miles, no doubt), but the wreck covered in the AVweb article is a pointed example of what can happen when it doesn't.
I can imagine the panic that might accompany an engine failure with few landing options. But that doesn't seem to excuse the danger brought to others by attempting to set down in traffic. Like pulling back in a low-altitude stall -- I hope I never do that.
Short 360's Collide in "Alaska"
Your article re: two Short Cargo planes as the headline said colliding in Alaska is incorrect; the crash was in Wisconsin, as the article says (NewsWire, Feb. 6). I think the error occurred as the result of one of the aircraft landing at Juneau, but this was Juneau, Wisc., not Juneau, Alaska.
Hardly anything prompts more AVmail than a geographic blooper like this one. Who knew there is, you know, more than one Juneau?
Thanks to you (and the dozens of others) who are paying attention and are kind enough to write.
Question of the Week
I'm real [sic] concerned about midairs (QOTW, Feb. 9). I'm even more concerned at what the reaction of the FAA will be: likely some expensive, bureaucratic band-aid that will have no value added.
Name withheld by request
RVSM has brought us all a little closer!
Mike J Merek
At the age of 87, I have observed, or read about, a very great many instrument landings, most of them being successful, but some of them ending with the death of pilot and/or passengers. In particular, I am thinking about the recent usages of runway localizer only (no glideslope), which I believe should be prohibited. I do not have a great amount of data to support this view. However, one need only look over the years at the number of centerline crashes at Leesburg, Va., to get the general idea. Then, just think that these approaches could have diverted to Manassas, just a few miles away, and landed properly, without crashing, on an actual ILS.
The crosspointer instrument (two needles) was designed specifically to display deviation from a proper landing path. A crosspointer with one needle not working should be viewed with great suspicion, even if you do have GPS, WAAS, DME and clearance to land from a RADAR some miles away, which cannot look below a certain altitude to see the actual crash.
Localizer only should be prohibited! Or available on request only. The temptation is too great
Chester B. Watts, Jr.
Noise at Teterboro
Regarding the story about noise at Teterboro (NewsWire, Feb. 2), I have a few quotes about vehicular noise:
"Henceforward, no wheeled vehicles whatsoever will be allowed within the precincts of the City, from sunrise until the hour before dusk ... Those which shall have entered during the night and are still within the City at dawn, must halt and stand empty until the appointed hour ..."
Senatus Consultum of Julius Caesar, 44 B.C.
Later, from Juvenal ... A.D.117:
"It is absolutely impossible to sleep anywhere in the City. The perpetual traffic of wagons in the ... streets ... is sufficient to wake the dead ..."
If the Romans couldn't do it in nearly a hundred years ... ?
We have the same problem in the motorcycle world: "public perception". Probably the actual measured background noise at Teterboro is a higher decibel than a take-off, but it becomes white noise and is not perceived as such ...
Just as in the motorcycle industry, aviation should police itself and be good neighbors. Loud pipes lose rights for everybody!
Picture of the Week
Great shot by Erwin Stam, "Flares Away" (POTW, Feb. 9). One question, though: How can you tell the picture is shown right side up?