AVmail: February 23, 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: GA Is Vital
As a member of a family that lives and breathes aviation from our daily personal lives to our professional ones, I would like to say your reporting on the fighting back from the corporate world was well said (February 19, 2009). We have watched our freedom of mobility over the years fade away with the changes to general aviation. Small airports being torn down and changes in regulations that require additional instruments and reporting, not to mention the current concerns that TSA is ... make[-ing] flying for fun increasingly more difficult.
However, now we are not only faced with our pleasure flying being interrupted, but those of us in the industry are also facing losing jobs and income, much due to those who don't really understand what aviation really does for this country.
The articles and campaigns by Cessna, GAMA and NBAA are well-written and explain what many need to know: Flying isn't just a means to get to the big game; it also has become part of the competition in business, medical assistance in emergencies, access to towns otherwise remote and many, many jobs. We are now facing the repercussions of a society that just doesn't get it.
I hope these ads and campaigns reach far.
Regarding the podcast on carbon offsets for aircraft owners: This sounds like a program to make everyone feel guilty. If we do this, we can play on people's guilt, and we can shame them into giving us some cash.
I wanted to thank you for the video Are LED Lights Bright Enough? by Paul Bertorelli. I found it to be both informative as well as humorous. From now on, I will make sure to view any future videos by Mr. Bertorelli.
Rich Enough to Fly?
I have answered the Question of the Week to some of my friends by saying, "No, I am not rich. I just live on a higher plane of poverty."
I think that aggressive pursuit of student pilots is a waste of time and energy, possibly a family's budget, and/or a friendship! Support? YES! But trying to get someone interested is probably not a good use of your time. If they don't have that "inner drive," nothing will guarantee their success.
Lake Placid Mishap
After reading the full factual report from the NTSB web site on the accident in Lake Placid, I find the probable cause contrasted with the information presented in the report. It's as if one guy did the investigation and his boss made the final determination by looking at the report only. But there is a fact missing from the report that would have made FSS the presumptive probable cause: the fact that LKP only has one runway. As I read it, the airport was closed. To say "a runway was closed" (as though there were other runways available) is just a bit disingenuous. Why wasn't the entire airport NOTAMed closed?
The only clue made available to the pilot were some flashing lights near the center of the runway. If they were flashing brightly, so what? How many airports now have flashing lights marking hold-short lines at taxiways? And the only taxiways at LKP are — guess where — near the center of the runway. From the downwind, how hard would it be to decipher what those lights meant, especially in a low-wing aircraft?
Let's call it as it was. The airport was effectively closed, and when the pilot requested a briefing, he wasn't informed of that crucial fact. The runway light system operated when it shouldn't have (for a closed runway). Probably none of the construction markers, more than 1,000 feet away, would have been visible to the pilot from the runway threshold. I don't know of any pilot in that situation (including me) who would not be at high risk to be similarly caught.
Belly Up ...
A "belly-up" landing (Feb. 16)? Gee, the plane looks right-side-up to me. What really happened? Maybe we could "belly up" to the bar and talk about this one ... .
Clearly, we've been writing too much about the economic crisis, and our e-mail AVwebFlash newsletter (on Feb. 19) described the gear-up landing at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan as a "belly-up" landing, which makes no sense at all.
Thanks to the many who caught it before we could change it on the site.