AVmail: November 30, 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: Ramp Delay Shouldn't Have Happened
The overnight ramp delay is a classic example of the level of absurdity our commercial airline travel has reached. These people should not have been held on the aircraft overnight, nor should they have been "allowed to deplane but held in a sterile part of the airport". They should have been allowed to deplane and go to a local hotel where they could spend the night with dignity and a little comfort.
They were not departing; they were arriving. They had already been through the security procedures. The plane was from Texas, not an International flight with Customs considerations. The bigger question is why should it make any difference if TSA was available or not. You do not have to pass through security to get off an airplane.
The entire situation is simply ludicrous. Are they going to distribute the fine money fined to the people who were actually inconvenienced by this nonsense? Hardly. We live in an era where regulation has been completely divorced from reality.
Thank God for GA, but if we are not diligent the same stupidity will insidiously creep into the system.
Portable Electronics in the Cockpit
This is subject matter for the airlines, not the federal government. There is nothing inherently "distracting" about electronic devices; just like there is nothing inherently evil about firearms. Either used improperly could result in an unintended consequence. The aviation industry should urge, no demand, the FAA step out of this now.
Another Successful Ditching
Five to ten years ago (not sure of exact date), a fellow I know was flying a Caravan from Windsor to the Toronto area, at night, in icing, in late October. He was with another pilot, receiving icing training. They were over Lake Erie when they had an engine failure. Rather than turning left and going north to the closest shore, they turned right and went the long way around (whoops). As they were descending the check pilot announces "FIRE." They had some sort of engine fire. They dealt with all that and eventually did a perfect landing in the lake. It was so perfect, in fact, that their ELT did not go off. They did not know this at the time.
After the landing, they decided to open the doors and climb out. The water pressure was so great they could not open the doors. They sat there while the cockpit slowly filled with water and they eventually opened the doors and climbed onto the top of the fuselage.
Meanwhile, search and rescue helicopters were coming for them, but they were having trouble locating the plane, without the ELT signal. The pilots could see the helicopter flying around, with the searchlight, really close and they were eventually picked up and all was good.
Although some things could have been done better, the fact that they kept flying the plane until they landed made all the difference in the world.
The plane was raised, rebuilt and is now being used for skydiving.