AVmail: February 17, 2014

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Letter of the Week:
Volunteer Controllers?

My response to the letter from Tom Lanham and his effort to justify the FAA charges for air traffic controllers at aviation conventions:

Have any of you FAA controllers ever thought about volunteering?

I was always under the impression that these guys were aviation enthusiasts and were volunteering, just like the thousands of AirVenture volunteers that serve every year.

You will find volunteers at every aviation convention.  Many of the volunteers have to travel and pay for their accommodations, as well as their food.  They don't get paid for the long hours, much less any overtime.  I was certain that EAA provided many special accommodations for these guys in an effort to say thanks for their service.

Wow!  How wrong I was.  It's not about the sport.  It's all about money.  As a 10-year veteran volunteer, I find this appalling.

This new practice of charging for the extra controller support at aviation functions will certainly have a negative effect on the already strained pilot/FAA relationship.  How sad.

Tom Odehnal

Wrong Airports

Regarding the video about landing at the wrong airport: I have been an air traffic controller since 1978 and a pilot for longer than that. The instances of aircraft making an approach to the wrong airport and the few that actually do land at the wrong field is a very old problem.

On numerous occasions in my career, I have alerted a pilot of his impending error. We used to get a free bottle of booze for this kind of save, as well as preventing the near gear-up landings.

I wrote to the NTSB in the early '80s and made the suggestion that we could alleviate some of the confusion with close proximity airports by installing a dual-peaked green and white beacon at the Air Carrier Airports. Much like the inverse that we use for military air fields. Nothing ever came of my idea other than a thank-you letter. It may be time to think about low tech regarding this issue. Louis Ridley

Louis Ridley

What's the Real Shortage?

Just read the article on Canada accepting the ICAO multi-crew license.  If the 777 SFO accident is an example of the use of the multi-crew license, then the end result speaks for itself.  This is just another excuse for the airlines to keep pilot pay as low as it is now.  Let airfares go up.  That way the public can really see the actual cost of operating an airline.

I completely agree with the ALPA statement on the alleged pilot shortage.  Just one look at the wages for regional pilots and the concessions the regional airlines are asking for should tell anyone that.  Finally, pilot candidates are getting smart and seeing that spending more than $100,000 for training to get a job that only pays $20,000 a year makes no sense.

Liberals Are Pilots, Too

I'm sure banks that hand out student loans will figure that out as well.  When wages and quality of life become more reasonable, more pilots and pilot candidates will magically appear to take those jobs.

Women and minorities aren't the only ones made to feel unwelcome in aviation culture.  It's not easy to transact business with folks who loudly proclaim their hatred for "lib-tards" and that Commie in the White House while Rush Limbaugh blares over the radio, all on the assumption that we're all in agreement in this good ol' boys club.

It ain't so, and more than once I've bought 10 gallons and flown on to fill my tanks somewhere else.

Keep your politics to yourself unless asked.

G. Leslie Sweetnam

Charlie Victor Romeo Remembered

Just wanted to send a quick e-mail about your nice article and interview on Charlie Victor Romeo.  I can't believe it's been almost 15 years since I wrote the original review.

I remember Mike Busch and Jeb Burnside being skeptical about it when Bob Berger first contacted AVweb about doing a review, and I have to admit I was also quite skeptical.  But Mike and Jeb figured it wouldn't cost much to send me up to New York City to take a look, and the next thing I know, my wife and I were on the train to NYC to see it.

The play was supposed to start at 8pm, but we didn't arrive at the little theater on the Lower East Side until about 8:10 due to a late train.  Imagine my surprise when this guy standing at the front door asked if I was Pete Yost, and when I said that I was had a look of relief on his face.  It turns out he was Bob Berger, and they were delaying the start of the play until I arrived!

That was my first indication that they really wanted to impress the aviation community, and that effort continued after the show when Berger and his crew peppered me with questions about what I thought and did I notice any inaccuracies.

It's great to see Charlie Victor Romeo still going strong after all these years.  Even with the dark subject matter, hopefully it has had a positive impact on the aviation community's -- and the general public's -- perception of aviation safety.

Hope everything is well with you.  Keep up the good work.  I still enjoy reading AVweb every week.

Pete Yost

Rest Insured

I just wanted to thank you for printing the story on aircraft owners insurance.  I think it was called archive 85?  That was the best article explaining questions I have wanted to have answered for 20 years.

I enjoy your news flyers very much.  Thank you for the good work.

Ken Sticney