AVmail: April 20, 2009

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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: Zodiac Concerns

I own and fly an AMD Zodiac CH601XLi that I bought new last June. I'm also a member of the Zenith Builders Analysis Group, the independent group that the NTSB cited as doing engineering studies of the airplane. I've put over 150 hours on my airplane since I bought it.

Am I concerned? Yes. Am I going to quit flying it? No. I've been taking several actions that I believe minimize the risk: I regularly test my aileron cable tensions, I check that there is tension on every preflight (easy to do), I keep it in the green arc except for absolutely smooth air (and will probably keep it there even then, now), and I slow down to maneuvering speed in more than slight turbulence.

Aviation is all about managing risk. We can't eliminate it, no mater what we do. I believe the measures I take will reduce the risk of aileron flutter well below the risk that I'll do something stupid like run out of fuel or continue VFR into IMC - and I take active measures against those risks, too.

If Zenair and AMD come out with a modification to resolve the problem, I'll do it. Until then, I refuse to worry about it beyond what I've already done.

Jay Maynard


OSH Tower

It is one thing I find strange about the U.S. Heritage tends to be something you visit other countries to see as you destroy most of your own in the quest of the mighty dollar.

In the U.K., a tower such as OSH's would become a listed building in order to be preserved for posterity to celebrate the aviation heritage.

I find it a shame that iconic buildings that are part of the definition of Americana get lost. The most obvious examples are the Las Vegas hotels, immortalized in the Rat Pack movies but gone forever.

It would be like demolishing Windsor Castle here because it is 1,000 years old and an ersatz replica put up in its place because it would be easier to maintain with minimum wage labor.

Sorry to sound like a sentimental old fogey but it is sad when heritage disappears.

Chris Blythe

I have seen the OSH tower a thousand times. I can't believe that they could not sell souvenir bricks for $20 and make a lot of money!

Paul Chambers


King Air Save

Doug White has the "Right Stuff." Great job!

John Phillips

I was a little disturbed by the title chosen for your article regarding the King Air incident. It is amazing and a blessing that the passenger was able to fly the aircraft and land to save himself and his family, but I felt that your choice for title did nothing in showing respect for the pilot who actually passed away while at the controls.

If I had been the family member of that pilot, I would be mortified by the lack of respect for a person who had no intention of putting anyone at risk.

I think it should be only appropriate to at least apologize for the lack of thoughtfulness of those family members who could read this article.

Let's not forget everyone's feelings when we strive to "glamorize" these rare occurrences in aviation. I thank God that the controllers were there and able to help as well as the fact the passenger/pilot was capable of following their instructions and use his own training to save the lives on the plane and possibly those on the ground that could have been lost. I also praise the instructor who trained this private pilot. He surely set a good foundation for this man.

Karen Iacopi


"Privilege" Disputed

Jim Carroll makes an incorrect claim that flying is a "privilege."

The purpose of requiring a license is only to show competency to reduce risk to other individuals in a shared space.

The notion that only the collective has rights, thus it can dole out "privileges," has been disproven in theory and in application throughout history.

Recommended reading:

  • Declaration of Independence
  • Moral Rights and Political Freedom by Tara Smith

Keith Sketchley


The Birds

In respectful response to Steve Tobias's Letter of the Week, I caution the aviation community when comparing the bird strike problem to the terrorist threat. I especially caution against suggesting additional government involvement in such cases. I think the last thing we need is additional regulations to deal with a problem we have had since the inception of powered flight.

I do, however, agree that the FAA should refrain from sealing bird strike records as they are attempting to do. To seal educational information regarding bird strikes while at the same time suggesting additional regulations will do nothing more than create fear and further restrict private aviation, and all this for a problem that has been around since the beginning.

We as pilots have to consider "acceptable risk." If the risk seems too great, buy a boat. Don't ask for additional government regulation.

Jeff Zimmerman

The Air Force has a large amount of information on bird migrations and peak times of bird activity. You might be able to ask them for the information. The program used to be known as the BASH program. Yes, that was the name of the program, no pun intended.

Greg Davis


Politics of Aviation Security

I am writing to ask that you exercise a bit of restraint in choosing the letters you publish. The rant by Chuck Leathers about the response to the 172 theft and illegal entry into the U.S. was nothing more than an anti-Bush tirade that made little sense.

If [the pilot] had tried to fly that aircraft into a full stadium, mall, or other populated area I'm sure that the heightened security provided by F-16s that were at the ready because of the "Bush terror paranoia" would have been greatly appreciated when they shot him down before he got to the target.

Mac McCawley

I agree with Chuck Leathers. We have become obsessed and have changed so much that it now takes a minimum of two hours at an airport just to get on board a domestic flight with "security."

Back in 2001, we told the terrorists that they had not won and that America would not change. Let's face it: They won.

Bring back the old days. Take away all the security on an airplane and I'd still fly! I'm an American; I don't live in fear!

Richard Peters

Your publication is typically food for thought if not outright nourishment. This edition makes one ponder, who is the bigger idiot, Chuck or the editor who decided to print "Bush-induced terror"? I threw up midway through this meal.

Steven Romano

I have to double-amen Chuck Leathers' statement here. We have let the TSA violate our Constitutional rights all in the name of security? Now they are proposing security rules that will destroy general aviation! Let's stop acting like cowards!

Frank Perfetti

AVweb Replies:

AVmail is a forum for opinions of all kinds. If we rejected them because we thought others might not agree well, we wouldn't have any, would we?

Russ Niles
Editor-in-Chief

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