AVmail: Jan. 8, 2007
Repairs of Aging Aircraft
I read that some FBOs in the States are refusing to work on aircraft over 18 years old (AVwebFlash, Jan. 4). I have an FBO at Clark Field, Philippines, and I will refuse to work on any aircraft newer than 18 years! My Ryan Navion I fly daily is now 58 years old and in a lot better shape than a new aircraft today!
As the holder of a new Sport Pilot card who has recently purchased a 1946 Champ, I find this very troubling. Does one blame the pilots/lawyers for litigation or the insurance companies? Insurance drives way too many decisions. A person doesn't realize how many places they have an impact. Another example I recently ran into is a cabin that I have rented for many years over the holidays for my family recently replaced their wood-burning stove with an electric log. You guessed it.
It's more than unsettling to hear shops turning away work on 18-year-old aircraft. I have a '77 Archer II and all I do is have work done to it. She is beautiful now, but what defense do we owners have to keep these machines in airworthy condition if shops drop us? I smell liability waivers and that stinks!
Daniel C. Stybr
Canadians are ahead of the game ... again. The solution is simple: It's called owner maintenance. We own a 1977 Grumman Cheetah that is in OM. We still get inspections done by an engineer but the owner signs it off. That way the lawyers can go to hell, no deep pockets here. It would be much harder to sue the manufacturer under OM as well, now they can wash their hands of them.
2007 Agenda: New Pilot Starts
I am that person you wish to reach in your 2007 agenda of increasing the number of student pilots (AVwebFlash, Dec. 28). I am that person who has wanted to fly "forever." My father and grandfather both were pilots. I have a newspaper clipping (somewhere) from the '30s reporting my grandfather's recent aircraft purchase. I have always been exposed to flying and think it must be "in my blood." While I applaud your efforts, I believe those efforts are in vain until something can done about the cost involved. Spending $8000 learning to fly is only a drop in the bucket compared to what is required to own and operate an airplane. While it is clearly beyond you and I to legislate or regulate the costs involved, finding creative cost-reduction methods will be the key.
Please keep up the good work and thank you for your focus on students ... just remember to use your influence and expertise to help find ways to make flying less expensive.
I disagree with Mr. Pickering that automobiles don't have the same liability issues as airplanes (AVmail, Jan. 1). I seem to remember a $7 billion judgment (reduced on appeal) against GM for a 25-year- old design that met all the standards of the time. The difference is that GM makes as many cars (or more) in a day as the entire general aviation industry makes in a year, and it is a lot easier to spread costs around.
I have been following the User Fee issue closely and appreciate AVweb's and AOPA's strong stance. I have one question: If I fly a trip VFR and do not communicate with ATC or Center, then no user fees (if implemented) would be incurred, correct? How about simple VFR flight following? I must admit candidly that I would be more apt to fly VFR, weather permitting, and leave the "system" out of the equation if user fees are approved for GA pilots. This, in turn, might compromise overall safety since I suspect more GA pilots would create complicated VFR flight plans and proceed on their own in order to avoid the fees. Has this been considered in the negotiations?
FAA Crackdown on Part 135 Operators
It is time for the FAA to crack down on 135 operators (AVwebBiz, Jan. 3). More than once I have been approached in times past by aircraft owners wanting to put their aircraft on another's certificate but wanting to use a given pilot to fly the aircraft. This is wrong, and certificate holders who enter into shady deals should have their certificates revoked. Another scheme that is being used by aircraft owners is to sell "shares" in the aircraft for a nominal fee of $1 in order to operate a 135 charter as a Part 91. Both of these practices degrade the legitimate operators who try very hard to stay within the rules and spirit of the regulations. Hurrah for the FAA!
ERAU "Rebuild the Fleet" Fund
While it is a nice gesture to help rebuild the fleet with donations (AVwebFlash, Jan. 1), don't these operations have something called "insurance"?
Roger D. Parish
Many thanks to the legion of AVWeb subscribers who have responded positively to the AVWeb Rebuild the Fleet Fund, established to assist Embry Riddle Aeronautical University recover from a devastating tornado that virtually wiped out its fleet of training aircraft on Christmas Day. We have also heard from many subscribers who've questioned the need to donate. Why help rebuild a fleet of insured aircraft at an otherwise well-endowed academic institution?
First, AVWeb's home base is also located in storm-prone Florida: We know what it's like to bear the brunt of severe weather disturbances when random violent acts occur. When that happens it's nice to have friends. Also, we've been assured that any donations to Embry Riddle will be devoted to the flight line to help students get back in the air.
Donations will be allocated to meet the school's significant deductable, but also to help defray the cost of flying in leased replacements, and reducing losses by fixing repairable damage. Bottom line: AVWeb wants to support any mission that helps build tomorrow's pilots, so we consider a donation as an investment in the future.
Kudos for Helicopter Brainteaser
A heartfelt congratulations on another entertaining and enlightening Brainteaser for us fixed-wing junkies (Brainteaser, Dec. 28). The old saw states that "Helicopters don't fly, they're so ugly they earth repels them." This is obviously believed by people who (a) have no class, and (b) are jealous because they can't fly one.
And how about a Brainteaser on "coffin corners" -- those airspeed/ windspeed/ MTOW/ max-altitude combinations that we should all be watching out for?
Just a suggestion. Thanks for a wonderful feature!