Top Letters And Comments, April 17, 2020


Are You Open To The Public?

A good point was made of which I think most pilots/public are not aware. That is… the FAA neither approves or disapproves any building of radio towers and such. As an FAAer for years, I took an Obstruction Evaluation course about 25 years ago. So between my memory and possibly changing rules since then, grain of salt here.

However, to build a tower, or any structure that will be sticking up in the sky, the proponent must submit their intent to the FAA. The FAA OE office will then look it over and issue several possible conclusions regarding the project. The two that affect airspace are the determinations that it is either an “obstruction” or a “hazard”. If it’s under 200 ft, and not located within a certain distance of airports, etc., it is a “who cares”. That is why most cell towers are 199 ft tall. Even with those the proponent is expected to furnish the FAA info on it when completed so it can be charted. Over 200′, or within certain distances of airports, approach paths, etc., it is then defined as an “obstruction”. That is not necessarily bad under some circumstances. Anything over 500′, or located in critical flight areas, is defined as a “hazard.”

Now here’s the deal. The FAA only determines this, gives this information to the proponent, and will offer suggestions as to what to do with it. That can be info on markings, lighting, relocating it, and so forth. But with the FAA, it ends there. The FAA cannot stop the construction if the proponent wishes to proceed. No authority with the FAA. And…. until this class, I never knew that!

However, as Paul pointed out, approval is still needed to build from somebody almost every time. That will probably be requiring a permit to build from either a local, county, or state government. Assuming their building permit department is knowledgeable, they will know that the FAA has passed judgement on this project. They will then, if they are smart and liability conscious, use the FAA’s judgement and recommendations to approve or deny the permit. And additionally, most structures require insurance. Same thing for that. Most companies will not issue a policy if the FAA frowns on the project. And last thing, (more than you ever wanted to know), if the structure is going to have a radio transmitter on top of it, the FCC will not issue a license to transmit if the FAA has frowned. Soooo, FAA can’t act directly, but their opinion does carry a lot of weight. And, don’t go build based on my 25-year-old memory here.

Roger A.

Boeing Q1 Deliveries Down

One would hope that CEO David Calhoun would use this time as an opportunity to thoroughly review Boeing’s work practices and personnel management in order restore some of its former reputation. The share holders will give him a pass on the stock price and low production this year because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Making changes is much easier without the pressure of production schedules and never-ending sales presentations. Make the best of a bad situation.

John M.

An Idled Airline Fleet

Considering how long it will take to reactivate each one of those planes, it is going to be a very long time before the airlines return to full capacity

Customer demand will not return all at once. It will come back gradually over time. The airplanes can be pulled back out of storage fast enough that reactivation of airframes won’t be the pacing item. The passenger demand will drive the rate at which airplanes are pulled back into service.

There will also be some balance between airlines (the ones that do see demand) electing to receive new airplanes that they already had on order versus the reactivation of stored aircraft. It is reasonable to assume that at least some of those “stored” airframes will never return to service because they simply won’t be needed.

One thing is for sure: any bank or lessor that built a balance sheet on assumed residual value of used aircraft could easily be in big trouble.

David B.

Poll: Did You Fly Last Week?

  • Had no reason. Company is shut down. For near term cash flow savings, will probably sell the airplane.
  • 135 checkride.
  • Flew alone in my airplane.
  • Aerobridge medical supply delivery.
  • T&Gs to keep the oil circulating – Tell Mike Busch!
  • Gave a lesson to my grandson.
  • For a pre-buy inspection.
  • Down for medical reasons but I would have.
  • My school is closed for rentals and instruction.
  • Worked in the shop keeping the fleet ready.
  • I’m supposed to stay within the county for work reasons (health care), and I’m mostly a travel-to-get-there flier.
  • Yes, ASEL currency.
  • BFR expired at the end of March! Flew a social distance flight just before the end of the month.
  • No job = no money for flying.
  • Flying club is closed for time being.
  • Annual inspection.
  • In my own airplane.
  • Charity flight.
  • No – FBO locked down.
  • Sprayed pecan trees, 510 Thrush-PT6-34.
  • Flew my 1957 Piper.
  • Yes. Personal airplane flying and airline crew trip.
  • Post maintenance flight.
  • Instruction given to household family member.
  • No. Weather was lousy on the days I could fly. Otherwise I would have.
  • Air training.
  • Still employed flying B200GT.
  • Yes, cargo pilot.
  • My airplane is 500 miles from me right now.
  • Can’t be PIC – flight review expired March 2020.
  • No – Plane is down for maintenance. Otherwise, I would be!
  • Yes. Alone. Just to keep my engine in good shape.
  • Local area for currency.
  • No, waiting for part from a closed facility.
  • Drop zone shut down.
  • Yes, personal solo recreational flight.
  • Medivac flight.
  • No, but not because I cannot socially distance while flying. I was not scheduled to fly for work, and I chose not to fly personally for weather and family reasons.
  • IFR Safety Pilot.
  • No. The local aero club is located on a military installation and all non-essential services are closed until further notice.
  • No. Tourism has stopped.
  • Airplane in the shop.
  • Yes, with a friend on board.
  • Pilots N Paws.
  • No, airfield closed.
  • Flew myself.
  • No flying available.
  • EMS helicopter air ambulance flights continue.
  • Annual, so no.
  • Glider.
  • Maintenance – diagnose a problem.
  • Can’t get a BFR because social distancing.
  • No, but I will be this week and next!
  • Flight instruction.
  • Light Sport around the pattern.
  • Angel flight.
  • No, flight training is postponed.
  • For fun.
  • Carbon Cub.

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