AVmail: Jun. 26, 2006
Reader mail this week about more snow and ice training, TRACON consolidation, Cirrus killers and more.
Power Lines Threaten Private Strip
I live in Ontario and own a small strip with a hanger. Five years ago a cell phone company tried to force a tower into my circuit area. I forced them to move outside my private zone. We have a rule laid out by the Canadian government that states you shall not erect or build or cause anything to be built that can cause a danger to aircraft or navigation. The cell phone company had high-priced lawyers, but I had COPA [Canadian Owners and Pilots Association] behind me as well as lots of documentation.
This hydro tower project (NewsWire, Jun. 19) will try to bluff Bruce if they can. We need to stop these bullies before we can't fly anymore.
Wah, wah, wah. This article makes pilots sound like spoiled brats. We are not talking about a "public airport" here. I am sure the thousands of people who will benefit from the electricity far outweigh the personal inconvenience of one rich guy and his buddies. Get over it ...
We think the more airports there are, the better, especially when there are alternatives to the obstacles that preclude them. Hope your engine always keeps running, the weather never goes down and you never get sick near to where an airport used to be.
NTSB Training For Ice and Snow
Talk about trying to "shift the blame." What part of "All pilots are already given this training" don't the NTSB and FAA understand (NewsWire, Jun. 19)?
While we have, in fact, learned a lot more in recent years about the effects of even the smallest amount of ice, frost, or snow on the aircraft, and especially the wings, we were trained to check and make sure the wings were clear before takeoff 45 years ago -- and more!
What needs to be done is to put the blame where the blame belongs: Inadequate pre-flight and a rush to get going. These are the same things that have been causing accidents for years, and we don't seem to learn.
We don't need another "layer of training" to tell us what we already know. What we need is for pilots, and their employing companies, to demand professionalism and always follow procedures. Procedures are there to protect and save us, and when we don't do them -- we die. Companies who press for schedule encourage the cutting of corners -- we know that. Pilots in a hurry cut corners -- we know that.
Let's keep focused on the real problem here: pilot and employer error.
B737 Accident at Midway
Re: Southwest overrun accident (BizAv, Jun. 21).
The facts are that ATC directed, and the pilot accepted, a landing on a marginal runway due to snow/poor braking with a quartering tailwind of at least 12-15 knots. The chances of a safe landing were almost nil.
Robert B. Dickinson
As with so many accidents, there were a number of things going on in this one. If any of them had served as a point at which the crew said, "Enough; we're not doing this," the accident likely would not have occurred.
According to the NSTB, the 737's crew "calculated that the airplane would be able to land and completely stop ... with about 560 feet of runway remaining" using the then-current meteorological and aircraft data. In performing that calculation, the crew input data listing the runway friction as "poor" when, in fact, it was closer to "nil." Had the "nil" value been used, the runway requirement would have been almost the full length.
Also, the crew's calculations called for using reverse thrust "as soon as possible" after touchdown. According to the NTSB, "flight data recorder data revealed that about 18 seconds passed from the time the airplane touched down to the time the thrust reversers were deployed; at that point, only about 1,000 feet of usable runway remained."
FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown is being disingenuous when she told reporters, "When we build a facility in an area prone to natural disasters, we make the facility capable of handling those kinds of events. We also have procedures in place so other facilities can handle the air space that that facility handles" (NewsWire, Jun. 19). Obviously [she] wasn't speaking with reporter John Antczak of the Associated Press who, in October of 2003, wrote this lead:
"Los Angeles -- Air traffic nationwide was disrupted Sunday when a wildfire forced the evacuation of a Federal Aviation Administration control center and some airlines canceled flights in and out of smoke-shrouded Southern California. Aircraft scheduled to fly to Los Angeles International Airport, San Diego's Lindbergh Field and other regional airports were ordered held on the ground for varying lengths of time, FAA spokesman Paul Turk said from Washington, D.C. The delay affected flights originating throughout the United States and Canada, he said. By late afternoon the average delay was down to just over three hours, but the longest delays had grown to more than 16 hours."
I personally flew on that day. The thick smoke reduced visibilities to less than 3 miles and traffic was being handled by Los Angeles Center, with radar designed to separate en route traffic, not terminal traffic. It was chaos in the sky.
F-14s At Bethpage, Not Republic
I believe your story on the F-14's at Republic has a small inaccuracy (On the Fly, Jun. 19). The Tomcat was built at Grumman's plant in Bethpage, which has been turned into housing. Having lived in Farmingdale while growing up, I remember the F-14 flying overhead with its swing wing when they were under test. Republic was the home of Republic Aviation, whose last aircraft built there was the F-105 (if my memory serves me correct). Even the Republic Airport web page is not accurate, since Fairchild-Hiller did not take over the site until the early 60s.
I thought you might be interested in this piece about saving a Lockheed Constellation.
When I have time, I will search my logbooks to see if I ever flew this one.
I flew Connies for TWA, then Seaboard and Western, who took one look at me and farmed me out to Aer Lingus, who flew Connies under contract for one year. I met my future wife, Marlene Greene, on my first layover in Dublin (Balle ath Clia, in Gaelic). I also flew them for the Navy for three years in VR-7A at Tachikawa AFB outside Tokyo. The Navy designation is R7V.
Marlene came over in a Connie to Idlewilde, later to be re-named "John F Kennedy," or simply "JFK." We were married two weeks later. I was born in South Jamaica, Queens, in 1931, only five miles away.
How can anyone have a reasoned, intelligent answer to the question (QOTW, Jun. 14) when no one knows what the Cirrus Killer looks like or how it performs? At this point, all the "canned" answers are pretty silly. Let's agree on one thing: Any manufacturer's "answer" to the Cirrus, the Columbia, or the Turbo-Mooney will have to be one super airplane.
In regards to the Cessna/Cirrus killer question, one of the possible answers needs to be, "Doesn't matter because I couldn't afford either one."
Your AVweb newsletters have always been a source of well-written and well-researched aviation-related news. The professionalism that comes from your writers is respectable. But your recent article, "Contrails' Impact Worse At Night?" (BizAv, Jun. 21) was disappointing in the way it belittles people who believe in chemtrails, which wasn't even what the article was about.
To totally dismiss the possibility that occasionally some airplane might be dispensing something other than cloud vapor is just as discreditable as people wearing foil hats and howling at the moon believing that contrails are intended for mind control.
It would be nice to see the AVweb writers continue to be objective in their articles and maybe do a more in-depth article on the possibility that chemtrails exist.
Right Hand Not Talking To Left Hand
If wind farms affect radar and ADS-B does not, what's the problem (NewsWire, Jun. 22)?
We need a comprehensive plan to distribute resources, not continuing cat fights about favorite schemes. Do we forget that government has no money -- it all comes from us? That money can be spent building NDBs, MLSs, more radar, etc., or it could be applied to a comprehensive plan that puts today's technology in the hands of today's users. Do you suppose what we spend quibbling today would be a substantial addition to moving forward instead of back to A and N?