AVmail: Jun. 5 2006

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Reader mail this week about IFR complacency, light jets, light sport, upside-down helicopters and more.


IFR Pilot Complacency

Re: Probable Cause #7 (May 28):

AOPA's Air Safety Foundation did a study of fatal accidents that showed IFR pilots were responsible for a disproportionate amount of fatalities. In my opinion, they tend to become too comfortable with someone else (ATC) watching out for them. As a long cross-country VFR pilot, I don't think I get that complacent. I think one of the best IFR refresher courses would be a long VFR flight over unfamiliar territory.

J. Michael Pettaway


A Plethora of Very Light Jets

As a deposit holder on an Eclipse jet, your Question of the Week was of interest to me (QOTW, May 24). What I am finding in talking with other Eclipse deposit holders is they are simply moving from other aircraft like light twins to the Eclipse. This doesn't mean the skies will be any more cluttered than before, since it is the same number of aircraft. We may, however, see a shift higher in flight levels!

John Wright


The Cost of Light Sport

Where does anyone get off thinking that light sport is for the masses ... and affordable? The latest I have seen is $3,500 to learn how to fly and then the average cost of a light sport plane is between $80,000 and $120,000. In my book that is not cheap, nor fun. Someone has sold everyone a bill of goods on this one

There was a ton of used aircraft available for a reasonable price, but oh no, we had to re-invent a whole new group of planes. Sorry, but I think someone should have egg on their face for signing off on this. The FAA stuck it to the common man.

Henry Kivett


Interesting Prop

In the Picture of the Week (May 25), AVweb wrote,

"This, ah -- interesting-looking prop caught the eye of Robert C. Abbaticchio of New Smyrna Beach, Fla., at Sun 'n Fun a few weeks back. Can't say as we blame him -- it's piqued our curiosity, too."

That propeller sure looks like a "prop fan" designed by Hamilton Standard (now Hamilton Sundstrand), probably around 1980 or a bit earlier. As I recall it was hoped to be the ultimate high-bypass turbine. I did see one of the prop fans in a Hamilton warehouse in the early '80s.

Tom Johnson


But Is it Art?

You ask if anyone can make sense of the "Upside Down Helicopter In A Public Place" (NewsWire, May 22).

Perhaps it could have been captioned, "Celebrating Mozart -- recently arrived -- The Mozart Appreciation Society of Australia."

Ni Thomas


Personally I'd rather see it right-side up, where it can be touched and looked at by young and old alike for learning.

John Ross


In his day, Mozart turned the music world upside-down. This is more of same.

H. Paul Shuch


The Wessex entered service in the late '50s as the first free-turbine powered helicopter; cutting edge technology in its day. Mozart, too, was cutting edge in the field of music in his day. The complex array of mechanical parts in a helicopter is an appropriate metaphor for the complexities in Mozart's music. His works spanned the period during which the classical style transformed from one exemplified by the style Galant to one that began to incorporate some of the contrapuntal complexities of the late Baroque, complexities against which the Galant style had been a reaction.

By placing the helicopter upside down, the artist is trying to demonstrate that when you think you have defined the music of Mozart, another Mozart composition turns up and totally defies the original definition. Especially during his last decade, Mozart explored chromatic harmony to a degree rare at the time. The slow introduction to the "Dissonant" Quartet, K. 465, a work that Haydn greatly admired, rapidly explodes a shallow understanding of Mozart's style as light and pleasant.

So you see, the upside-down Wessex is a very simple and obvious metaphor for Mozart and his music!

Jon Lee

AVweb Replies:

For his ability to get the word "contrapuntal" into an aviation context, Jon Lee receives an AVweb cap.


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