We are hearing about the pilot shortage (AVwebFlash, Nov. 25), but what about the instructor shortage? When "old goats" like me get mass mailings from a school with large, contracted, flight-instruction needs with pay rates near $30/hour for primary instruction, there is a problem. And what about the mass postcards sent out by a major school hurting for flight instructors, and full-page ads in national magazines for another contract school in Arizona? Pilots come from flight instructors, and where in the heck are the CFIs going to come from when Regionals are hiring them away with 250 hours?
Do you consider the objects in this video "flying"?
I think I'll just sit on the ground and watch. Obviously, these guys are doing whatever it is they are doing "unencumbered by the thought process."
With regards to Mike Busch's "A Mechanic's Liability" (Savvy Aviator, Nov. 22), I note one of the attorneys states that the Findings or Probable Cause from the NTSB report is not allowed in evidence in a tort suit. Is the factual data from an NTSB report allowed? Would a reasonable tactic be to try to establish a probable cause for the purpose of the trial only? If successful, then when a pilot hits a hill when scud-running, we could avoid spending time on a landing-gear retraction system or such like.
I'm not an attorney so I can't give you a complete answer, but I know that the use of NTSB findings in civil litigation is limited by the federal law that established the NTSB. It is common for the NTSB to find that there was "No evidence of pre-impact failure," and yet the civil plaintiff's case revolves around a theory that a mechanical failure caused the accident. The NTSB's "no evidence" finding is definitely inadmissible.
Michael D. Busch
Your question this week about homebuilt regulations compels a more detailed response (QOTW, Nov. 29).
The regulation and certification of small aircraft in the U.S. is seriously flawed and in some ways actually reduces safety. Burt Rutan with SpaceShipOne showed the direction we need to go. In Burt's case, an incentive in the form of a prize was offered to trigger innovative minds to come up with new solutions. It has been true for years that many people in the homebuilt community are motivated to participate not because they want to build an airplane but because they are not able to acquire the cutting-edge technology they want in an airplane elsewhere.
The high regulatory barriers to certification of aircraft and aviation-related products produces new aircraft and products that cost great sums of money or the products are not available at all. Safety is reduced because new technology cannot be introduced promptly and at an appropriate cost. All the new certified diesel engines for aircraft are now produced outside the U.S. If new regulation to expand the homebuilt options is possible, it is a good place to start. But it is only a start.
I recently had overhauled two Slick mags for my Cessna 140. My kids are getting their licenses in this aircraft. In one mag the coil went bad at 700 hours since new. To overhaul and replace both coils cost $1000. It will last another 700 hours! Because of regulation, no market forces exist forcing the manufacture to improve this product or permit competing products. New technology has existed for 75 years and exists in the homebuilt area but is not permitted in my aircraft. Clearly the safety of my aircraft is reduced because of the limited reliability of the available products.
Any reduced regulation that permits new technology to be introduced faster and with more freedom in new and existing products is welcome and needed. The market will demand and produce innovation that increases safety and performance far in excess of what regulation will produce.
In Rutan's case the prize was needed. Here the market forces exist; the only thing needed is for the regulators to get out of the way!
I find it ironic that the same newsletter tells us that Honda is breaking ground to build aircraft in the U.S. and Cessna is going to build in China (AVwebFlash, Nov. 27). The same China that refused to let our Navy ships into the Hong Kong port last week.
It won't surprise me to see a U.S. boycott of Chinese-made goods in the future due to their actions now and in the future. Cessna may regret this decision.
I read the article that noted Cessna will build its SkyCatcher in China. My wife and I will buy an LSA as soon as we sell our Piper Cherokee. However, the Cessna is now off the table as we feel the decision to build the 162 in China simply is incorrect.
The news about Cessna "outsourcing" production of their LSA to China saddens me greatly. When are we going to wake up and realize we are "outsourcing our country"? Just think of the jobs the American worker is losing. Cessna should take a good, hard look at what that decision is doing to the country as a whole and not just their bank account.
A couple of years ago my son-in-law, my seven-year-old granddaughter and I were riding around in the car and just talking. Out of the blue, my granddaughter asked her dad, "Dad, is everything made in China?"
Makes you stop and think doesn't it?
Now that Cessna has decided to make the Skycatcher in China I wonder how long it will be before the first recall for using the wrong ... whatever.
Just a short note of appreciation. I just signed up for the AVweb newsletter a couple weeks ago. I must admit I was expecting much less than you're delivering ... it's fantastic! I'm very impressed with how current the material is, and the depth in which you cover the topics. I look forward to it every day.
Keep up the great work!