Top Letters And Comments, April 14, 2023


The Risks Of Routine

Regarding not paying attention, I was a 23 year skydiver and years ago just as we were getting ready to exit from 7500 feet from a 182 when a small GA plane came flying below us. We waited until he passed before jumping. Could have been tragic if the Jumpmaster hadn’t noticed. Not a pilot but, if memory serves, a NOTAM for skydiving was filed and the sectional had a small parachute icon on it.

Richard B.

Very well written and reflective of many of the gotcha areas of flying. Remember however, there is nothing as a routine flight or a perfect flight. When that happens, it will be time to park the plane!

David P.

Great article, thanks for posting.

“While you enjoy feeling pleased with yourself because you’re on top of things, you are just a whisker away from complacency. And once you start feeling satisfied, maybe even congratulating yourself on your achievements, it’s too late.”

Best experienced in the time period after it’s tied down and chocked, or the hangar door is closed, and getting ready to drive away from the airport. Either side of that window and you’re asking for trouble.

KckC K.

Runway One’s Custom Motion Simulators

My only experience with simulators is Link Trainer about 50 years ago. 5×30 minute sessions + some flights in Blanik under the hood and I got my glider IFR-glider rating. The simulator swayed with compressed air and, in my opinion, gave me good preparation for real flying. The program included e.g. looped square patterns and surprisingly good ones eventually emerged. I wish I could try LT one more time again sometime. Otherwise, I think that a basic instrument flight in the clouds with a glider was a lot of fun.

Mikko H.

I too “flew” the Link (Hissbox) back in the 60s as a yearly requirement for new flight engineers, boring, but it gave us a chance to practice our instrument scans with holding patterns and non precision approaches. Near the end of my career, I became a fully qualified B777 captain via simulator only, I had never seen an actual B777! I have to say, it was a great experience, the sim flew just like the airplane, and was a LOT safer considering the number of training accidents from that period.

Bob S.

I have four airline type ratings. Level D simulators weren’t available for my first two type ratings so it was a combination of a fixed simulator and airplane time. The rating ride had to be in the airplane.

Fast forward 15 years. My last two type ratings were in Level D simulators, which added motion and much better visuals. To me, the motion is of dubious value, but the vastly improved visuals made the simulator far more useful than the old version.

Wally R.

Poll: Do You Think SpaceX’s Starship Will Eventually Reach Mars?

  • Sure, Mars has been reached by smaller, less-advanced ships a number of times. There’s no reason to believe that SpaceX won’t succeed too. They have already taken Low Earth Orbit to another level (pun intended) with their Falcon rockets, so why not?
  • My hope is that we will. This is a huge endeavor for a private company. Not sure they will be able to maintain a funding stream.
  • It seems unlikely, given the logistics of getting the needed amount of fuel up in orbit to send it on its way. But, I have learned to not underestimate Musk and the SpaceX people. If anyone can do it, they can. NASA’s SLS rocket? Not a chance!
  • Current technology, No. Future hardware generations maybe.
  • Eventually, both people and rocket, but a long time coming.
  • Radiation is still a major issue.
  • After many upgrades in designs for AI instead of humans.
  • Probably before a manned NASA one does.
  • For humans to safely get there quickly, you are going need a reverse gravity machine.
  • Humans will probably land on Mars eventually, but they may not arrive on a SpaceX craft.
  • Gigantic waste of money.
  • Maybe SpaceX, maybe NASA, maybe China. Somebody will go there.
  • Speed it up and get some people to Mars. Earth needs something positive to concentrate on.
  • Why? Lets fix the Earth’s messes first.
  • IF SpaceX is not successful, a later mission will be.
  • Yes, but NO WAY I’m going to be onboard!
  • Probably, but it will take longer than planned.
  • We shall see.
  • Rather Jupiter.
  • Possibly. Eventually, people will be there. And for good reason.
  • It’s not the tech, it’s the will. Money is one measure of the will.
  • Sure. Mars is as good a place as any to die.
  • Why wouldn’t it if funding and will are in place? “Maybe, but not sure why:” We went to the moon.
  • Sooner than NASA!
  • Getting back is the hard part.
  • Have to stay somewhere between ‘Without a doubt’ and ‘Maybe”. It’s a matter of expense; even Elon is subject to limits.
  • Not SpaceX, but the spinoff company started by disgruntled former top-tier employees (see: history of Silicon Valley).
  • Only if Musk doesn’t run out of money.
  • Depends on the size of the rubber band.

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