AVmail: September 13, 2010 »

Letter of the Week: What Happened to the LSA Dream? I was recently reminded of how fortunate I am to be flying. The other day, while I was working on my plane, a fellow pilot taxied up in his partner-owned Piper Arrow. After parking and securing the plane, with great care he washed and detailed the aircraft. When finished he walked over to me, handed me his David Clarks, leather flight bag complete with charts, E6B, and portable radio and walked away. His only (very emotional) statement was: "I can't afford to fly anymore. I'm done. Please put these things to good use." I understand his pain and frustration. Several months ago I purchased an inexpensive experimental, a SoneraiII. I had previously owned a Cessna, but rising fuel, insurance, and maintenence fees drove me to sell at a loss. It was that or give up flying altogether or until flying becomes more affordable. Years ago, we were promised inexpensive sport airplanes that the "average" person could afford. What happened? As I search available new aircraft it seems that most are in the $80K-$100K+ price range. Where are the real airplanes we were hoping to see in the $30K range? What I see available in that price range are not much more than glorified ultralights, hardly what I believe we were hoping for. Remember the statements "about the price of a new car"? It is my wish that someone would step up to the plate and develop a truly affordable aircraft. I earn an average income, and $100,000 is hardly affordable. If this does not happen, as hoped for, I believe the scene I saw played out will happen more and more. Fred Lowerre Click through to read the rest of this week's letters. More

AVmail: September 6, 2010 »

Letter of the Week: LSA, IFR Clarifications by Dan Johnson While I thank AVweb for frequent coverage of Light Sport Aircraft activities, I must object to some words appearing in the Sept. 2, 2010 article with the title " LSA, IFR, and IMC: An Update ." I would appreciate if you could communicate the following to your readers so they more accurately understand the situation. The following statement is incorrect: "'The IMC change is driven more by committee members' concerns about liability than about safety,' Johnson said." Safety was not secondary. In my interview with reporter Mary Grady, I referred to a defensive position taken by the design and performance subcommittee of the F37 LSA standards-writing committee of ASTM. I intended to suggest that the subcommittee felt it advisable to recommend a placard prohibiting flight into IMC because the subcommittee did not believe IMC flight in LSA was defensible until another subcommittee working on an IFR standard was able to come to consensus. In reverse of the referenced sentence, the main thrust of the subcommittee was to focus on safety, not to worry over a manufacturer's legal liability. ... Dan Johnson President, Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association Click through to read the rest Dan Johnson's letter and many more from AVweb readers. More

AVmail: September 2, 2010 — RC Models and Airplanes »

Last week's "Question of the Week" on further regulation of RC models in light of the collision between a biplane and an RC model at Brighton, CO generated huge response. Many of the letters reminded us that the investigation hasn't been concluded. The FAA has promised a full report within a week or so, and we'll carry it. More

AVmail: September 2, 2010 — The King Thing »

Click for more photos Rarely have we seen the spontaneous outpouring of reader response that we have with the gunpoint detention of John and Martha King last weekend. We've picked a few letters that represent a broad range of views on the fallout from the incident. We also encourage you to take part in our weekly "Question of the Week" reader's poll , which is related to the incident. More

AVmail: August 23, 2010 »

Letter of the Week: Third Class Medical Outdated? After a couple of years flying without an FAA medical, I would like to join the growing crowd who support expanding this freedom beyond Sport Pilot privileges. History has shown that the third class medical certificate does little or nothing to promote flight safety. I think this is because pilots self-certify their own health for each flight with better judgment than the bureaucracy provides in the medical certification process. ... Paul Mulwitz Click through to read the rest of Paul's letter and other reader mail we've received over the last few days.. More

AVmail: August 9, 2010 »

Letter of the Week: EAA's Vision As president of a large EAA chapter (1114, Apex, NC, 170+ members), I'm commenting on the short video of the interview between outgoing and incoming EAA presidents. ... Kent Misegades Click through to read Kent's comments and other responses to our latest " Question of the Week ." More

AVmail: July 19, 2010 »

Letter of the Week: Cordless Cockpit Why do we still have to put up with cords? I am willing to use batteries to power the headset. Eliminating the cords has been a wish of mine for a long time. I thought Bluetooth technology might have been the answer, but apparently not. Kelly Vrem Click through to read the rest of this week's letters. More

AVmail: June 28, 2010 »

Letter of the Week: Federal Miscommunication Commission Regarding the FCC's proposal to ban 121.5 MHz ELTs: What a classic case of lack of coordination with other agencies like state highway patrols. In February, our EAA Chapter 1445 at Casa Grande, AZ had as our guest speaker the chief of the Arizona highway patrol aviation section. The thrust of his talk was on their contribution to aviation search-and-rescue. I quote what he said, and it makes a lot of sense: "Due to budget constraints, we at the Arizona Highway Patrol will not be upgrading our aircraft to the new standards in the near future. Therefore, we will continue to use the 121.5 frequencies." He didn't have a list but said many other states have the same problems, and he recommended pilots continue to use 121.5. So now the FCC comes up with this new rule, obviously having not coordinated with other agencies like state highway patrol aviation sections which, in most cases, next to the Civil Air Patrol, do the lion's share of search and rescue. Unbelievable. Dale Basham Click through to read the rest of this week's letters. More

AVmail: June 21, 2010 »

Letter of the Week: Bill Threatens California Aviation California has the most airports, the most air traffic, the most pilots, and the most flight instructors by FAA region or state. As of December 31, 2009, there were 61,709 active pilots residing in California, [and] 17 percent (or approximately 9,316) were listed as flight instructors. Flight instructors are the essence of aviation in an ever more complicated and extensive aeronautical environment. Flight instructors are needed to maintain and increase aviation safety levels and to facilitate growth in general and commercial aviation for the state of California. Adding statutory financial burdens to flight instructors and flight schools, especially in this economy, will reduce the availability of the much-needed human resources now providing initial, advanced, currency, and proficiency training. Fewer flight instructors will reduce the safety and growth ratios. Flying in California will become more expensive and [more] dangerous. The FAA is anticipating domestic flight operations in the U.S. to double by 2025, and California is not exempt. AB 48 will reduce the number of flight instructors and flight schools in California that provide the needed safety training to maintain the state's growth and its direct connection to aviation safety and accident prevention. It is irresponsible to implement AB 48 and not to evaluate its safety impact. Repeal AB 48, California's Private Postsecondary Education Act of 2009. Rafael Sierra CFI, CFII AOPA Member EAA Member SAFE member FAASteam Lead Rep. Click through to read the rest of this week's letters. More

AVmail: June 14, 2010 »

Letter of the Week: The No-Lead Threat Finding a viable replacement fuel for leaded avgas looms as a catastrophic threat to high-performance piston aircraft owners, and PA-46 aircraft in particular. ... While lower-performance engines will run fine on 94UL, higher performance engines such as those used in the PA46 Malibu, Matrix, and Mirage will not. ... Of greatest concern is that we run the risk of this decision being primarily influenced by the engine manufacturers with limited input from current avgas users that is, us, owners of high performance piston aircraft. Unfortunately, individual aircraft owners seem unaware of the threat this issue represents and, to this point, have been mostly silent. ... What can you do? Look for opportunities to awaken general aviation pilots to the critical nature of this threat. Write your own letters. Express your concerns to those groups with political access and influence, such as AOPA and EAA. This is not just a PA46 issue. Jonathan Sisk President, MMOPA Board of Directors Click through to read the entirety of Mr. Sisk's letter and more from AVweb 's readers. More