AVmail: January 11, 2010


Each week, we run a sampling of the letters received to our editorial inbox here in AVmail. One letter that’s particularly relevant, informative, or otherwise compelling will headline this section as our "Letter of the Week," and we’ll send the author an official AVweb baseball cap as a "thank you" for interacting with us (and the rest of our readership). Send us your comments and questions using this form. Please include your mailing address in your e-mail (just in case your letter is our "Letter of the Week"); by the same token, please let us know if your message is not intended for publication.

Letter of the Week: eAPIS Is Easy

I had the opportunity to fly my GA aircraft with three passengers from Key West to Grand Cayman for the holidays this past December. I had completed the eAPIS tutorial six months ago and felt more than a little intimidated by it. I was reading this week’s issue of AVwebFlash and noticed an article indicating a commercial firm would now do the work for you for $99 a year as well as customs declarations.

I confess that until I actually did the online eAPIS for the real thing, I might have considered the fee. Now I can honestly say it was very easy, intuitive, and it saved everything to complete at another time, just the way I’d left it. I had completed both the departure and arrival manifests before I left the country and had CBP approval literally within several minutes of submitting them. Pleasantly, the agents did not want the old 1380 arrival form and said eAPIS had replaced it. I was also told that they plan to upgrade it soon so that you will be able to store recurring passengers and trip manifests for future use. All in all, it was an unexpectedly pleasant experience.

Bruce Elliott

Instructors Must Spin

I don’t know where Pat Bartlett got the idea that, as he says in his letter, "many instructors have not experienced an actual spin." I would direct his attention to 61.183(i) [or, for sport pilot CFIs like me, 61.405(b)(1)(ii) and 61.405(b)(2)(iii)], which mandate that a CFI receive instruction and demonstrate proficiency and instructional proficiency in spins and spin recoveries.

I’d never done an actual spin until I went for my CFI-SP. I had to get it, though, so I went and rented a DA-20, and an instructor took me through it. Not my idea of fun, but I do feel more confident about the situation – and that I can teach students how to avoid the situation in the first place.

Jay Maynard

When I learned to fly in 1948 at the Royal Aero Club of Western Australia, the instructors were all ex-Royal Australian Air Force. My particular Instructor had flown Typhoons with the RAF in Europe, some squadrons of which lost three times the squadron strength in two months. One day, when I had logged three hours, he said, "Stalls today." One day and another 45 minutes later he announced, "Right – today we do spins," and away we went for 45 minutes of seemingly wild gyrations.

We accepted it as a normal requisite of learning to fly and mostly never turned a hair. My log book is certified (at 9 hours, 45 minutes total) that "he has been instructed in and found competent to recover from spins," dated 20 April 1948. Later, in the early 1950s, people started complaining about having to learn spinning, mainly due to the influx of the mostly high-wing light aircraft built to resemble the motor car. So they started to push the teaching of incipient spins, to recognize the approach to the stall which could lead to the start of a spin.

By this time, some of us were flying DC-3s with the airlines, and we’d never heard of an incipient spin. Why would we want to, when we already had been trained to stall and to spin, and so knew from experience that we would never ever allow that situation to develop? I and some of my peers went on to retire with over 21,000 hours on pistons, turbo props and jets and never came anywhere near a stall, because we’d been there, done that and knew what it entailed.

But commercialism won through, and some flying schools went soft; otherwise, the pupil would take his money somewhere else. And that is why we have the situation that we have today. The world grows older, but the people in it never learn!

Reg Adkins

Green BS

I read with some interest your article on windpower at Burlington International Airport. I work professionally in the utility industry and did some research on the claims in your article. The article claims that this turbine with solar panels will save approx $14,600 a year and will pay for itself within five to 10 years. Near as I can tell, the installation of the turbine costs $200,000 to $240,000 to produce 100 Kw of power, which my company sells for 10 per Kw.

We’ve seen this dog and pony show before, and the simple facts are that wind power is only viable through extensive tax credits and grants. In 1987, when the tax credits were halted, wind power tanked due to it being non-competitive with traditional power producers.

How about telling the whole story and skip the "green" BS that the administration is trying to shove down our throats?


J. M. Mount

Not Freeman’s First

According to your story, "[Actor Morgan] Freeman bought his first jet last month, an SJ30 built by Emivest Aerospace … ."

I believe Mr. Freeman owned a Citation II. (Reference BJTOnline.)

Dan Michael

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