AVmail: March 29, 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: Make Transponders Mandatory

How many [midair crashes] will it take before everything in the air has to have a working transponder? And if you can afford to fly, you can afford a transponder. Those of us who don’t want to be hit by traffic we can’t see will also buy some sort of TCAS.

Once you have one, you won’t believe how many aircraft get really close to you without you seeing them. You will be totally blown away how often it happens when you are being "watched" on radar by your overworked ATC.

Tim Hodges

Leave LSAs Alone

I am the owner and president of PrimeAERO, Inc., the FBO at the Union County Airport (KMRT) in Marysville, Ohio, just outside of Columbus.

We have an active light sport pilot training program, using an Aeronca 7AC Champ, fully restored and modified to include an 85 hp engine with a full electrical system, radio, and transponder. This airplane flies as much, if not more, than any other airplane in our rental fleet.

We have trained several sport pilots and one light sport flight instructor in it. In addition, many pilots holding private or higher certificates fly it, either under the sport pilot rules or utilizing their existing higher-level certificates.

We are adding a new Tecnam Eaglet to our fleet to allow for sport pilot training, rental, and private pilot training in a modern, glass cockpit-equipped, tricycle-gear LSA.

I am not in favor of trying to raise the MGTW of LSA airplanes. I, for one, do not want to see the LSA movement become a graveyard of 40-plus-year-old Cessna 150s and 30-plus-year-old Cessna 152s. The modern LSA is a wonderful combination of economy and performance, as the Eaglet will outrun all but the newest 172.

In addition, there is no justification for any dream of buying a factory-new airplane equipped for flight in the modern airspace system for $40,000-$60,000. That is just totally unrealistic.

Let’s leave good enough alone and enjoy the freedom that the sport pilot rules provide and the wonderfully capable new LSAs being produced.

Jerry Eichenberger

Reauthorization Questions

There are two provisions of the recent FAA authorization bill that I would be interested in hearing more about.

Regarding the 800 hours minimum for a first officer, my question is whether we’ll eventually run out of pilots. Pilot training and building hours are more expensive than medical school. How many prospective pilots are willing to put in that much time to get to a right-seat job that pays less than $30,000 a year? Will the airlines have to finally offer an ab initio pilot training program that does not cost the prospective employee more than an MBA? Or is this the beginning of the push to unmanned commercial aircraft?

The news stories say the bill "prohibits electronic devices in the cockpit." I know the spirit of the law is to keep pilots off their cell phones while flying; however, are there unintended consequences? How does this affect the use of Class 1 and 2 EFBs, portable collision avoidance systems, handheld radios, etc.? And if you are using a moving map on your iPhone or, eventually, iPad, is that O.K.?

As always, thanks for the great coverage and special features.

Thomas Perkowski

Border Crossing

Regarding the story on the update of the electronic Advance Passenger Information System (eAPIS) guide, I’m afraid that I don’t understand the reasoning for all the paperwork.

If I live in, say, Buffalo, I can jump in the car and drive to Toronto for dinner and a show and just drive back at will. However, if I wish to use a J3, look at the paperwork. What is the great difference?

Gene A. Volz

Objects in an Off-Airport Landing May Be Larger than They Appear

The photo of the wrecked biplane on closer inspections sure looks like a model to me. Note the cockpit behind the windscreen is filled in and appears the same as the fuselage. Also, the tree trunk (back left) is gigantic in scale to the aircraft. Am I crazy?

Richard Humphrey

AVweb Replies:

Richard, I wouldn’t suggest for a minute that you are crazy, but maybe a bit jaded by all the phony things that show up on the internet. Let me assure you the pictures are real. They were taken the day after the accident, and the cockpit covers had been snapped on prior to leaving it the previous day. Yes, the stump is huge. Thanks for your input.

Paul Schafer
pilot and photographer of the Starduster biplane in question

Kudos For Paul

I’ve recently seen the video featuring another competent, smart, experienced and wise aviator, Paul Bertorelli, flying around in his Cub. I plan to fly and use his example in my own personal flying.

One of the things I liked about the video was the inclusion of outtakes at the end. A bit of humor adds to the experience and learning in the video.


John Schmidt

Osprey Fan

I really enjoyed your interview with Major Wes Spaid on the Osprey, because I had the privilege to fly an Osprey simulator. In the Second World War, I flew B-25s, B-24s, and B-29s, then ran the Flight School at WMU and ended up flying as a weather research pilot. I think I am the oldest pilot to fly a V-22 – or least the simulator.

Lester M. Zinser

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