AVmail: January 31, 2011

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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: A Plausible Threat?

Do you think that our intelligence community might be a little behind the curve on the Chinese J-20? When photos were released of this new aircraft, they said it was only a mock-up and that China doesn't have the technology to produce a flyable aircraft of this caliber. When videos were released of this aircraft in flight, they said, "O.K., it flies, but it's not really stealthy." When one of these aircraft makes an undetected pass on a U.S. asset, I guess they'll finally admit that there might be something to this.

After all, much of this information on stealth is available online, or they can just watch the History Channel or the Military Channel. Further, there is the admission that portions of an F-117 that was downed in Serbia were turned over to agents for the Chinese by the locals, which allowed some degree of reverse engineering to fill in the gaps. This would make the J-20's capabilities entirely plausible.

Michael J. Nutt


GPS Interference

The chance of any device interfering with any aircraft system is extremely remote, or absolutely impossible as established by test after test by experts. The wiring on all airliners is shielded by multitudes of layers.

Could something slip by in "a perfect storm"? Certainly. But the FAA takes chances on things much more likely to occur for economic purposes. This is one of those facts of life. The FCC is much more concerned than the FAA. The simple truth of the matter is the FAA is enforcing the will of the greatest majority of passengers who don't want to listen to the chatter of people on cell phones, etc.

Dennis Murphy

What is a Cat-1 autoland? The only categories of autoland I am aware of are Cat IIIa, Cat IIIb, and Cat IIIc.

Andy Durbin


Dream Warbirds

In response to our "Question of the Week" on warbirds:

For a reason I'm not sure I can express, I've dreamed of the Northrop F-20 Tigershark. Perhaps it was the name; most likely, the design goal to be less expensive to operate. I've always had a soft spot for the "underdog" products: the Pontiac Fiero; .41RemMag; Rockwell Commander 114; Linux; and the list continues.

I really would love to own and fly an F-20. Wonder how I'd update the avionics to WAAS GPS?

Jim McDuffie

I would fly an AC130 gunship.

It's the meanest airplane in the world. You almost feel sorry for the bad guys.

Don Alesi

If money were no object, what warbird would you fly?

F-86 MK.6 with Orenda engine.

Doug Raine

F-4 Phantom II. From the front seat. (Prefer J or S model.)

J. D. Warren

The XB-70! Take a few of your friends along for a Mach 3+ ride on six afterburning engines. Sounds like fun.

Matthew Cichosz

If money were no object, I would love to restore to flight a Dornier Do-335 centerline twin. I think it would be as special as an F-82 Twin Mustang. It's a big fighter, and its presence at an air show would be enormous!

Steve Riley


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