AVmail: May 1, 2006

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Reader mail this week about Nav Canada user fees and the Alaska midair collision, plus many about Chuck Yeager and Scott Crossfield.


747 House

So the FAA is worried people might think the home is a crash site and it has to be somehow marked to show it isn't (NewsWire, Apr. 24)? Do they have the same concerns about the old airliners and collections of pipes used by airport firefighters for training? I'm sure what looks like a burning, smoking wreck on an airport will worry far more people than a home.

Jeff Rankin-Lowe


Nav Canada User Charges

In 2008 Nav Canada plans charge Canadian general aviation pilots $10 per day to operate from the country's major airports, a move described as "devastating" within the GA community (NewsWire, Apr. 27). That's really curious. Chances are that most private-aircraft owners also own motor vehicles, and frequently use city parking lots, handing over that much or more per visit without a second thought. But I've yet to hear of an organized protest about the devastating blow this deals to automobile owners. And I certainly haven't heard of a nationwide parking lot chain that, after their customers have used the facility for 120 days, lets them use it at no charge for the balance of the year, which is what Nav Canada proposes for general aviation pilots using the country's seven major airports. Use any other airport and you just pay your NavCan's annual $71 fee.

Sure, $10 per day is the thin end of the wedge; and, in time, those rates and the annual fee will undoubtedly increase further ... just like Big Macs, haircuts, airplane maintenance and most other things. But will it be devastating? I rather doubt it. Will it lead to reductions in safety when deciding the choice of a less-well-equipped destination or alternate airport in poor weather? One would hope not, if it were simply to save 10 bucks.

And to answer the obvious question: No, I don't work for Nav Canada, and never have.

David Underwood


Alaska Midair Collision

I am curious about the accident that happened in Alaska near the Birchwood airport (NewsWire, Apr. 27). I am trying to gather some more information. Was either aircraft participating in the Alaska Capstone project? Did either aircraft have ADS-B, TIS, TCAS or any other traffic-alerting system on board?

According to the Alaska FAA Capstone site, the ADS-B services for some airports has been terminated. To quote the site:

"Effective March 24, 2006, Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) separation services were terminated based on reports that the Anchorage Air Route Traffic Control Center was exceeding current authorization to provide services in a mixed (radar & ADS-B) environment. The timeline to restore ADS-B separation services is unknown at this time."

I cannot help but wonder if having traffic avoidance and alerting services (such as ADS-B) would have prevented such an accident?

Cameron Ninham


Chuck Yeager on Scott Crossfield

Chuck Yeager's comment on Scott Crossfield's death is so very typical of this man so many "look up to" (NewsWire, Apr. 24). I have never been so repulsed by a single person than him when I had a chance to meet him. His personality, ego and self-image are so distorted that I spent days wondering why I made the effort to seek him out. This really shows even more his true side. It is too bad he will not be able to see what is said about him on his death.

Bill Thomas


When I read Chuck Yeager's comments concerning Mr. Crossfield, I nearly threw up. Arrogant? I don't think so. When the company I worked for in Maryland moved to a different airport, it was over six months before I knew that one of the gentlemen who hung out around the coffee pot many mornings was Scott Crossfield. This certainly does not say arrogance to me. He was one of the most gentle souls I ever met.

Daniel Colburn


As someone who avidly reads and enjoys your publication, I'm baffled as to why you would see the need to take a snide pot-shot at Chuck Yeager for having the nerve to express his opinion on the subject of Scott Crossfield's unfortunate accident.

So, what's the rule? If somebody doesn't join in the chorus of unmitigated praise for an aviation legend who has died tragically in an accident, they get dragged through the mud in return?

I fly an AT-6, and I can tell you that they're damned difficult to land. Very good T-6 drivers have had landing incidents or accidents, and the fact that Yeager is among those who have had a mishap in this tricky airplane is irrelevant to his comments on Mr. Crossfield.

You do yourselves and your readership a disservice by editorializing in this fashion. You're welcome to point out that Yeager and Crossfield had a long rivalry and note that Yeager seems to be alone in his opinion, but you step over the line when you attempt to discredit him by pointing out an unrelated incident that has no bearing on his comments.

I think you owe us an apology. Probably you should apologize to Gen. Yeager while you're at it.

Michael J. Kobb


I just wanted to throw my two-cents worth into the mix. I met Chuck Yeager a few years ago at Oshkosh and was given the opportunity to have lunch with him and a small circle of aviation journalists. As an aspiring professional pilot at that time, I was thrilled to have the opportunity. Unfortunately, I was soon disappointed. I found him to be the last example of a professional aviator I would want for myself or any other aspiring pilot.

As a female, I was told point blank that my place was "barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen" and I must be "a huge disappointment to my parents" for being a female pilot and not maintaining my responsibilities in the home. He also refused to sign a little wooden toy-airplane for a little boy in a wheelchair who was dreaming of becoming a pilot himself one day.

I know that fame can be tough but if you are going to reap the monetary reward for it, you have a certain responsibility to "earn" it with respect for those who admire you. I am not surprised that after the loss of a fellow ground-breaking aviator (friend or foe) that he would make such disrespectful comments. Why he is "worshipped" by so many is a travesty. I am glad to see that AVweb gave reference to the comments as they were made so that more people can see that such individual can exist in the aviation community.

Karen Iacopi


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