AVmail: Nov. 10, 2008

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That Ditto Ain't a T-38

First of all, I think that AVweb is great and I look forward to every issue, and the staff do a great job. But I think there might be a misprint because, in the caption for Mr. Valovich's Picture of the Week (POTW, Oct. 30) it says that Ditto is a T-38 when it clearly is a T-28. Go visit the Herb Baker and Ditto Web site. There are several small videos there that might be good for posting on AVweb. Bill Neely

FAAst Online Courses

I just completed the online course from the FAAst Team entitled "Navigating the New DC ADIZ." I found it very interesting, educational and a must for all pilots even thinking about flying near the ADIZ. Contrary to what I've read and heard, it was easy to find on the Web site, easy to navigate through, and didn't take a lot of time to complete. Any complaints heard by you from pilots are just that: complaints. Les Gwyn-Williams

EMS Accidents

There have been 9 EMS-H [helicopter] accidents this year, not EMS (AVwebFlash, Oct. 29). Please be careful with your reporting -- we're getting questions about our EMS-A [aircraft] safety because of this typical lack of attention to detail. Dave Gurney

Video of the Week: One-Winged RC Landing

I am the pilot of the radio-controlled plane in your video of the week (VOTW, Oct. 27). I'm glad you enjoyed the video. I'm also glad you recognized the fakery in the recent video being promoted by a clothing company (AVwebinsider, Oct. 30). In case you aren't aware, I also fly aerobatics in "real" planes. My full-scale Yak-54, Russian Thunder, has thankfully never lost a wing. Check out my blog at RCGroups, my Web site. Jim Bourke

Zeppelin Flights

In your report on the Zeppelin's operations in the San Francisco area, you stated that this is "... the first time such [airship] flights have been available in the U.S. in about seven decades," (AVwebFlash, Oct. 28). I'm afraid you are mistaken. Before they became victims of post-9/11 security, there was a Vegas.com blimp that was run by The Lightship Group. I still have the certificate commemorating my flight in 2000, which was a birthday gift from my wife. It was an exhilarating experience. We flew out of the North Las Vegas Airport, down the length of the Las Vegas Strip to the Bellagio, and back to the airport. Because their pickup van was late, I was given a flight all by myself at just past midnight, which was ideal for viewing the Strip! Stuart Ball

Fly By Wire

I continue to have concerns about "fly by wire," even though many aircraft are successfully utilizing the systems (). Upsetting the fly-by-wire systems may be caused by strong radio signals, nuclear blast emf, etc. Yes, I know there is shielding to prevent such an event but, as you just experienced, computers do fail, causing disruption in service (AVwebFlash, Oct. 14). I like real wires, push rods and levers, including the hydraulic systems. Harry Francis

Steve Fossett on Google Earth?

If Steve Fossett has now been found (AVwebFlash, Nov. 4), would the wreckage have shown in the Google Earth search? I don't think the exact location has been revealed. It seemed a great idea to be able to use so many eyes. Norman C. John Tate

Missing POTW

I'm missing the Picture of the Week (POTW). I look forward to Thursdays and seeing the pictures submitted. Bruce Hinds

AVweb Replies:

The AOPA Expo is running us a little ragged this week, so we decided to save the POTW for next week. Normally we give a little advance warning when we skip a week for shows, but this week, we were secretly hoping we'd be able to squeeze it in on Wednesday. As the night wore on and the sun crept up, we decided it might be safer to just wait 'til next week (especially considering that we've had a couple of slow weeks for submissions).

Scott Simmons
Webmaster/POTW Editor

The Ballad of Flight Service

As a current Flight Service Specialist, employed by Lockheed Martin, I feel obligated to comment on your article, The Ballad of Flight Service (AVwebFlash, Nov. 3). Thank you for helping us explain to those who still utilize our services that we take pride in our chosen profession and are just as frustrated with the present situation as they are. I was hired by the FFAA (not a typo) in August of 1982, one year after the controller's strike. As a Tower Controller at Worcester, Mass., (ORH), I was trained by experienced controllers who managed to escape being thrown out with the bath water. I discovered then that you can't put a dollar value on experience. Well, apparently the FFAA found it too expensive to keep us "old farts" around. Note the mass exodus from the Tower and Center options. I experienced the "contracting-out" of the lower-level Towers and in October of 2005, and again I received the FFAA's message loud and crystal clear: "There's the door ... don't let it hit you in the a** on the way out!" I don't want to imply for a single moment that the Controllers presently working in non-Federal Towers or Flight Service Stations are less diligent in their duties. Not at all! I am simply pointing out the obvious (at least it is from our vantage point): When you ask your workforce to do more with less (when the reality is that we do less with less) and you don't care how your decisions affect the lives of the professionals and their families (let alone the safety and service issues), the end result is our present reality: An overworked and underpaid workforce whose morale is lower than whale s***. We are spread too thin and are asked to multi-task when it is unwise to do so. We, the proud professionals, who perform this work, do so at our own peril and yours. We could not live with ourselves should our actions, or inactions, result in the unthinkable. I offer three solutions to our present dilemma: NATCA ... IAM ... and prayer. Thank you for your time and attention to this very important matter. David M. Khanoyan

Kudos

I really appreciated this article on Flying the PAR (Oct. 27). Having made many, many GCA(PAR) approaches during my USAF days, I am sorry to see them go. The military controllers of old (some were civilians) were just great! Bill Branch
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