AVmail: February 16, 2009
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: Careful What You Wish For?
Vikram Pandit of CitiGroup acknowledges the new reality: Business aviation is no longer acceptable in Washington. I hope no one is surprised.
Rather than defending the freedom of individuals and businesses to make decisions in their own self-interest (and profit or fail by them), everyone, including the aviation community, is asking for handouts. This is the inevitable result.
Therefore, all I can say is: "Brother, you asked for it."
The business community is taking a beating on the use of corporate jets. And the aircraft manufacturers are dramatically cutting jobs. In response, Cessna and others have initiated an ad campaign urging executives to maintain the use of corporate aircraft. The reality is that both actions are needed, but I would offer that the next time a Senator or Representative needs a "lift," they take a commercial flight, train, bus or car and not seek a seat on a corporate aircraft. (This also applies to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who, I believe, has access to and regularly uses a USAF Gulfstream to commute to and from D.C. and her home base in California.)
Lastly, does the President need to take the B747 every time he takes a quick flight in the U.S. without a large entourage? Wouldn't the smaller and more fuel efficient Gulfstreams do the job just as effectively? Surely the "football" that accompanies him everywhere can fit in that aircraft. If security is a concern, then have the flight with a military escort. That builds up military flight training time as well.
Although the 747s get the most press coverage as Air Force One, Presidents typically use a variety of aircraft tailored to the missions they are on. President Bush often used a Boeing 757 on less formal trips, which is also what Pelosi regularly uses on her trips to San Francisco, but it's been mistakenly referred to as an unwarranted perk. As she is third in line for the Presidency, the administration deems it necessary for her to have access to everything needed to fulfill that role.
Liberty Stands Firm
With regard to the 22.45 mpg claim made by Guy Edwards for his LAX-SPF flight in his 1977 Mooney 201:
I think it's obvious that equating the efficiency of a one-way flight versus an out-and-back exercise has no comparison. In that case, the man with the highest tailwind wins, other factors being equal.
We'd be happy to challenge Mr. Edwards to a documented round-trip exercise and then determine the results. And we maintain the claim that we are the world's most fuel-efficient Part 23 IFR-certified two-seater in current production, period!
Business Development Manager
Liberty Aerospace Inc.