AVmail: Feb. 20, 2006
Reader mail this week about Global Flyer, GA sales records, POTW and more.
The Vice President's "No-Fly-Zone" has been a sore point among many pilots.
I think it's well-deserved and should definitely continue, even after he leaves public office. Especially after last weekend's shooting incident. Not only will the Vice President personally shoot anything airborne, he'll now even go after moving ground targets too.
I have been an active pilot for almost 10 years now. I have been actively building my own airplane, a Velocity, for over five years now. I am a past-president and active member in EAA Chapter 221. In short, I am an aviation enthusiast, although "nut" might be a more accurate description.
At EAA AirVenture 2005 we saw both Space Ship One and GlobalFlyer. When GlobalFlyer arrived it made a couple of passes before it landed. While it was in the air, the public announcer went on for minutes on how we were in the presence of history. He continued to make outrageous claims, as though Fossett were somehow synonymous with Lindbergh, Yeager or Kelly Johnson. I and the others around me were completely disgusted.
With his latest flight the media has again covered it as though it was real news. As though this distance record had been pursued by many and was a true challenge. When Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic, people had to change the way they perceived aviation. That was news. That was history. What Fossett has done gets a sincere "yawn" from me.
Burt Rutan is a true pioneer and an unquestioned genius, and stands unrivaled as the greatest designer alive today. Burt's success with Voyager left little question that if he wanted to fly around the world with a jet, he could. Burt could also walk around the world backwards, but, "Why would he want to?" Maybe Mr. Fossett will want to pay him to do that too.
I would theorize that if someone wanted to take a 747, remove all of the seating, replace it with fuel, and then fly it at optimum fuel efficiency cruise, it could have held this record years ago. But, "Why would they want to?"
This latest flight has reaffirmed Burt Rutan as the master architect. As for Mr. Fossett, it proves he is rich, he has a lot of time on his hands, and he is willing to pay for exotic toys. What makes people think he is a hero is beyond me.
I gather that "record breaking" depends on what metric one is using (NewsWire, Feb. 17). Maybe in overall sales dollars, 2005 was a record year.
But in sales volume, not so much. 2,500+ aircraft sold would have been considered an absolutely horrible year before 1979. Back then, of course, they weren't selling eight-figure bizjets. A few $50-million jets kind of skews the dollar figure, don't you think?
Picture of the Week
What is an MK-4 (POTW, Feb. 17)?
The MK-4 is the latest iteration of the Christavia, a kit airplane designed in the early '80s by Canadian Ron Mason.
The plans are currently owned (and sold to prospective builders) by AVweb advertiser Aircraft Spruce and Specialty.
Webmaster and POTW Editor