AVmail: December 22, 2008

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Each week, we run a sampling of the letters received to our editorial inbox here in AVmail. One letter that's particularly relevant, informative, or otherwise compelling will headline this section as our "Letter of the Week," and we'll send the author an official AVweb baseball cap as a "thank you" for interacting with us (and the rest of our readership). Send us your comments and questions using this form. Please include your mailing address in your e-mail (just in case your letter is our "Letter of the Week"); by the same token, please let us know if your message is not intended for publication.

Letter of the Week

Too Close for Qualifications

The item on the Flybe captain turning around due his not being "qualified to land in this weather" sounded sensational but was a typical airline occurrence. For the first 100 hours or so in a new aircraft, a captain is termed a "high minimum" captain and adds some amount (100 feet in my airline's case) to published minima until he has accumulated the required hours in type. If the weather is close to published minima, then he will not be able to attempt the approach.

Kim Welch

Training for the Future

After returning WWII veterans took advantage of earned G.I. Bill rights, we were blessed with a plethora of young professionals. It seems to me a similar effect can happen again, although on a smaller scale.

Education apathy is fueled by the extreme high cost and limited enrollment to the SAT "junkies." As we move through the next years of recovery, veterans with affordable and available higher education and training should fill many of the gaps which are expected.

If "industry" and education in the U.S. compete with foreign countries for students, we will be better off. We should start exporting experts, not importing them.

We really need a vigorous shot of nationalism. The new President needs our help. I hope the capable and brightest among us heed the need.

Larry Fries


Mandatory 406 ELTs in Canada

The data on the performance of ELTs clearly shows that over a four-year year period the ELTs failed to function 75% of the time. Additionally, of all of activations, more than 90% were false activations. Many of these were the older 121.5 ELTs, but it was suspected that many of the most recent cases were 406 ELTs. It is known that 406 ELTs are falsely activating, like their 121.5 counterparts, including a spate of six false activations in a month by aircraft owned by the same company. Each activation happened while the aircraft was sitting motionless in a hangar.

Transport Canada was made aware of the potential impact of the new rule on U.S. aircraft owners and its impact on tourism, but Transport said it did not care about that.

The Department of National Defence refused to budge on this issue and said that they were certain that the new 406s would not behave as did the 121.5 ELTs.

Considering the number of cases where the ELT failed and the numbers of survivors of the crash [who] need immediate medical aid, I cannot believe that Transport Canada caved to the military, a sector of the flying community that amounts to little more than 2% of its total. This is an issue about the loss of human life or the saving of same, and the Canadian Forces, with Transport's blessing, are griping about budget [and] the costs of tracking down false hits while energizing the same technology as before.

Canadian private pilots and commercial aviation interests will be forced to double up on their rescue technology, one of which will satisfy the air regulations and the other that will actually work. The latter (SPOT or other similar technology) is cheaper and will save lives but will involve an annual charge to track it.

The Canadian government or Transport Canada will now have problems with litigation should a federally mandated technology fail and it can be determined that survivors of a crash perished due to medical problems, the weather, predators while unnecessarily long searches over a period of days.

DND and Transport Canada's truculence in this matter are unforgivable.

Don Ledger


Crash at Miramar

So "let's close Miramar" is the cry (Dec. 19) because it is near a populated area. Well, while we are closing Miramar, let's go ahead and close Dallas Love Field, Dallas-Addison Airport and Midway in Chicago to name a few since they are surrounded by populated areas. And oh, yes remember not too long after 9-11, the American Airlines Airbus A300, that lost its vertical stabilizer off, crashed into that Queens neighborhood? Well, then, due to that unfortunate incident, let's go ahead and close JFK, too. Why, now that I think of it, let's just go ahead and close all the airports in the United States. Then we'll all be a lot safer!

So they want Miramar to close, then go re-build it "way out yonder" in the middle of nowhere so human beings can then go out there too, build all around the new Miramar, have a jet crash into the neighbor and start complaining all over again. That's what you call human nature! People just never learn.

Fred Starr


Metrically Higher

The article states that the spaceship carried by WhiteKnightTwo will reach 100,000 feet, when in fact it will be 100,000 meters. That's 100km or 62 miles, which is considered the official boundary of space.

Dave Rooney

AVweb Replies:

Right you are, Dave. 39.3 lashes with a meter stick for us!

Russ Niles
Editor-in-Chief

Flying Low

I would like to report to you that I read and digested every word Rick Durden wrote. It should be required reading for every student pilot.

I've made my living flying airplanes for 56 years, so you can guess that some of that time was very low. I've been lucky, but, like Rick, I know several people who haven't been so lucky.

I won't go further, but I for one want to thank Rick for taking the time to write such a good piece.

Dan Colburn


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