AVmail: March 4, 2013
Letter of the Week: Crossing the Line?
I just read the "Short Final" section of the Feb. 25 issue of AVweb. I get the joke, but I wonder if you folks understand the impact this kind of joke has on current and potential women aviators?
By way of full disclosure: I am a middle-age white guy. I teach at a small state-run aviation university, I am an 11-year Air Force veteran, and I am old enough that I should be the primary demographic focus of this joke, but I do not find it humorous at all.
After watching first-hand all the crap that the first group of women had to endure when they were allowed to fly aboard the E-3 Sentry and continuing to listen to the stories of our recent women graduates about all the crap they continue to have to put up with, I would ask you to reconsider the publication of similar jokes in the future.
I am pretty sure that none of you had any malicious intent when publishing this joke. I am also pretty sure that none of you intended this "Short Final" to scare women away from aviation. But as aviators I think we all have a duty to recognize, especially when we are in positions of power or influence, that what we say and do can have a very powerful influence over our younger charges. I have become especially aware of this since becoming a teacher.
So the favor that I ask is simply that you become a bit more introspective and think about the impact of the material you publish.
I doubt you would publish a "Short Final" where the punchline related to a pilot doing something dangerous or illegal. That would send the wrong message. I ask that you take the same precautions when contemplating publication of material that could send the message that women are not welcome here.
I am not one to take offense at jokes that poke fun at women. Both men and women have their funny habits and traits. Today's "Short Final" crossed the line. The Marine Corps is a strong and honorable institution, and there are countless women Marines that have contributed to that impressive strength and honor. Fortunately, that particular pilot doesn't speak for all Marines. Please select your "Short Final" items more carefully.
That was a nice article on the Bonanza and fixing it up. If I had written it, I would have tried to also include a few more vendors for each item and category.
I have long wondered why no one ever developed a pilot side door mod. It has always seemed asinine to me to have to climb over the right seat to enter or exit the cabin.
Minus the Sound of Freedom
Regarding the "Question of the Week": I will be more likely to go to an air show with out jets. Jets are for the non-flying public. They're just noise and no real show talent.
I'd much rather go to an air show with no jets. First of all, it's much quieter, and secondly there's a hell of a lot more skill involved in doing a four- or eight-point roll in a T-6 or Stearman than in a screaming banshee. I'm a 40,000-hour piston and jet pilot.
It won't be a lack of jets keeping me away, but a lack of fuel funds due to having to slash our disposable income because of the furloughs with the sequester. A two-percent federal funding cut will have five times the magnitude for our household.
A lot of people are against government spending and government in general. They complain about millions being spent on frivolous programs. But when the government cuts something that they like, such as the Blue Angels or Thunderbirds or F/A-18 flyovers at air shows, they suddenly get all upset and talk about the benefits of their pet government programs.
What people really mean -- conservatives and liberals alike -- is that they are in favor of government spending on things they like and against things they don't like. That applies to the F-35 as much as it does to food stamps. I'll go to air shows with or without military planes.
"Oops, But Not Busted" gives good advice. As a retired controller, I can state with certainty that most controllers that have a pilot call the facility are just looking for assurances that the pilot understands what happened and will try to avoid the situation in the future.
Burn and Crash
Why on earth would they name the human-powered flight competition after Icarus instead of his father Daedalus? Icarus failed to follow standard flight procedures and augured in, while Daedalus kept to the flight plan and survived.