AVmail: Nov. 6, 2006
Any pilot that wants to continue flying piston GA aircraft should take exception to David Zizmor's petition to the EPA to remove all lead from avgas (AVmail, Oct. 23). His argument for unleaded and ethanol conversions sounds good on paper but fails the test of real-world operations. Unleaded auto fuel does a super job in low-compression aircraft engines after an initial break-in with 100LL. Most engine builders recommend at least 50 hours before switching to unleaded. Successful commercial operations like to use a mixture of 100LL and unleaded throughout the life of the engine.
With modifications to the aircraft and engine, ethanol might be wonderful but I'd rather somebody else prove that with their expensive engine (and more than an STC cert.). All we know is that, just like when it was tried in the '70s, a lot of perfectly good (and expensive) machinery is being fried by ethanol in our gas. Some states have seen the light and are making sure gasoline without ethanol is available to the owners of outboards, generators, snowmobiles, lawnmowers, etc., but a federal mandate is needed.
The high cost of flying is one the greatest threats to GA and doing away with the lead in avgas without a fully tested alternative is a sure way to make it more expensive.
User Fees and Marion Blakey
Did anyone at NBAA (AVwebFlash, Oct. 23) remember Marion Blakey's pronouncement at the AOPA Expo (Philadelphia) in 2003? Then and there she said, "I don't know how to make this any clearer: No user fees."
... and politicians (high-level bureaucrats included) wonder why we don't trust them!
User Fees and Towers
Mary Peters is quoted as saying that, to pay for increased traffic, air traffic controllers and the upgrading of safety equipment, the money "will have to come from somewhere" (AVwebFlash, Nov. 2). I wonder if she's heard of general taxation?
Phil Boyer has a major point when he says that "some airports have a control tower simply because two airline flights a day operate from the airport." The FAA should be aware that airports exist that have commercial flights but that have no tower. Look at Nanaimo on Vancouver Island in British Columbia and at many other Canadian airports. They do very well, indeed, thank you.
Picture of the Week
Just thought it would have been nice to identify the pilot of the T-28 as Herb Baker of West Bend, Wis., and his aircraft, "Ditto" (POTW, Oct. 26). They are billed as Herb & Ditto. Very nice act.
Bet the helicopter in the pic was taken at Mendenhall Glacier outside of Juneau.
Question of the Week
I wanted to point out about the QOTW (Oct. 26) that there could have been a fourth answer, something like, "Not at all; user fees will be settled by legal action." I expect it will be, if the FAA dares to institute them.
I'm up at 4:30 this morning, with only 5 1/2 hours sleep. (Got home at 10:30 p.m. from a 2-10 p.m. shift, with a half hour to wind down for bed.) I will work a 6 a.m. - 2 p.m. shift and come back this evening for an 11 p.m. - 7 a.m. shift. When I get off tomorrow morning, I will have been "up" for 26 1/2 hours and it will be 27 by the time I get home and into bed. And that's after getting only 5 1/2 hours of sleep to start with.
Do you want me as your controller tomorrow morning at around 5 a.m.? Or do you even want me on the road with you?
You can bet I worry about making it home safely. I've found myself driving through red lights and heading towards the side of the road several times over the past few years.
In my humble opinion, the controller "asleep at the console" (AVwebFlash, Oct. 30) will probably be safer when he does get that traffic at work, and on his way home, than the one that doesn't.
Name withheld by request
The idea of wafting gently to earth when it all turns to bull dust is attractive (AVwebFlash, Oct. 30). The big question, though, is when does the pilot decide that popping the 'chute is the only option? If the motor quits and you are too low to do the basic checks of what has gone wrong, it is a no-brainer. Flying up a canyon and not being able to turn around in the space available because you are behind the airplane will probably mean that you also fail to recognize the advantages or less so of deploying a 'chute. In some instances they might just mean the difference between severe injury or walking away from a wreck. But in most cases of trying to extricate yourself from a lousy situation, it is good training, discipline and being current that will save your bacon. Nothing else matters.