AVmail: Jun. 11, 2007
Flight Service Stations
I have been a pilot weather briefer for almost 20 years -- four years in Missoula, Mont., and the last 15 here in McMinnville, Oreg. I take pride in the experience and knowledge-base I have gained over the span and in the fact that I can convey to pilots what they need in a clear and logical format to make routing and go, no-go decisions based on our conversation.
It is distressing to all of the old-timers to see this expensive, wasteful, but needed government entity die on the vine (On The Fly, May 30). It is my personal belief that, due to liability costs, the FAA has been in the process of eliminating the FSS function for the last 10 years. The contracting out to Lockheed Martin is the final nail in the coffin to a service that has survived unknown to the public since 1936. It has been a good run and good luck to you in the future.
It is ironic that the very person, Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, who was the person that voted against dropping user fees turns around and asks for an exemption for his pilots in Alaska (AVwebFlash, May 30). What a phony, two-faced approach to this burden he wants to place on pilots in the lower 48. It seems that the Senators from Texas should ask for the exemption due to our geographical juxtaposition to Mexico. Why not add California, Arizona and New Mexico to the list while we are at it? I believe the general aviation pilots from Louisiana, Alabama, Florida and Mississippi should be added to Stevens' list due to their isolation in the hurricane zone. Of course, let's not forget our northern states that border on Canada. It is sad that Senator Stevens should vote against and discriminate against the general aviation pilots in the lower 48. It's time for him to get real!
To follow up on Ed Kaake's comments (AVmail, May 28):
If we agree that the primary mission of ATC is to safely and efficiently get people from one place to another, the direct users of ATC are obvious: airplane occupants. A buddy and I go for a hamburger run? User fee times two. An airliner takes off with 300 occupants? User fee times 300.
Embarrass Curfew Violators
The news item about the Naples, Fla., mayor who wants to publicize a list of "every aircraft that busts the voluntary 10 p.m. curfew" was interesting (AVwebFlash, Jun. 3). Perhaps something was lost in the media processes, or maybe the mayor wants to grab some headlines or extend his authority beyond its legal limits, but I hope the scope of his list isn't as grandiose as the broad curfew he implied in the article.
Presently the FAA records show NOTAMS about prohibition of certain jet operations, and voluntary curfew for stage 3 jet ops or touch and go's between 2200-0700. There is no mention of any curfew, voluntary or otherwise, against small airplane arrivals or departures, or piston airplanes of any kind. If they want to eliminate night flights altogether, the existing language certainly doesn't make that clear. Mr. Mayor should get his facts together before he labels pilots as violators.
Active MOAs Via Satellite
Now that we have in-cockpit weather and TFR information via satellite, how about having the current status of MOAs also beamed aboard? There could be three states: not active, not active but published as potentially active, and actually active.
This would be a tremendous help to VFR pilots, and even to IFR pilots should they mistakenly be vectored into the airspace.
I have never understood why the runway incursion problem (AVwebFlash, May 27) could not be solved quickly and inexpensively with the installation of hard-wired red/green lights. Here in the South, we have been able to teach [drivers] to respond correctly to these controls. Surely pilots could be taught, too, given a three-month, FAA-directed course.
New Lancair Aircraft
Your news about the new Lancair offering is surprising (AVwebFlash, Jun. 5), since everyone around Lancair (including folks at Epic) are certain that it is a six-place turboprop, not a two-place. The trend in high-end planes seems to be more seats, not less, and there is no reason to assume that Lancair wouldn't follow this trend.
As you read in our article, we have no idea what the aircraft will be because Lancair isn't telling. We did say that one individual seemed to want us to believe it was a two-place. It could very well be a six-seater ... or a two seater ... or anything else.
And you're free to guess. It seems to us Lancair would like that -- but we're just guessing.