Top Letters And Comments, April 24, 2020


FAA Approves Seatless Airliners For Freight

Reminds me of the QC 727’s of the early 70’s. Slide out the seats and slide in containers.

It’s gonna be a while before these airplanes will have paying passengers on board. Instead, keep them flying with paying boxes instead of paying passengers. It could lead to a new shift toward flying cargo rather than passengers for many carriers.

Should be interesting to see how these airplanes will be loaded without cargo doors, without containers, and full interiors sans seats. Should add some interesting load planner duties in figuring out weight and balance issues too.

Hopefully, they paid the Canadian freight crew extra hazardous duty pay for making sure the cargo does not shift, catches fire, deal with Covid-19 issues when arriving China, other overseas destinations, and whatever changing home dynamics upon return. I wonder if the cabin freight crew are subject to flight hours/crew rest regs?

Indeed, necessity is the mother of invention.

Jim H.

Halladay Accident: Should We Bother With The Unreachables?

You touched very briefly on what I believe is the heart of this issue. The more time I spend online, where people can say pretty much whatever they want without having to look you in the eye, the more I realize it’s not a matter of ignorance, poor training, or lack of understanding. It’s a matter of values. Some people believe the thrill is worth the risk.

Aside from defying death in small airplanes, I also ride a motorcycle. States have made progress reducing motorcycle death rates with sensible laws requiring helmets and rider training, but there remains a cadre of hardcore thrill-seekers, egged on to “ride it like you stole it” by idiots memorializing their exploits on YouTube. No amount of discussion about safety can sway opinions in this group.

You can’t have a discussion online regarding safety without at least one commentator questioning your manhood. If you can get past the name-calling and chest-thumping stage to really get in their head, the answer usually comes down to something like this: “Flying is about freedom. It’s about having ultimate control of a machine. It’s inherently dangerous. If you want to do anything INTERESTING and FUN in an airplane it’s usually against the rules. If I can’t do anything dangerous, if I always have to follow the rules, where’s the fun in that? What’s the point of even flying then?”

Unless you can get such people to value their own lives above the thrill, they will never connect the dots.

Mark S.

The “unreachables” is often on my mind as a leader of a flying club, so I’m regularly on the look-out for risky flying behavior by the membership. I recognize that one pilot’s “risky behavior” is another pilot’s “acceptable risk”, so unless it was some egregious event (like intentionally flying into icing or a thunderstorm, or a VFR-only pilot intentionally flying into IMC), one event of what I deem “risky” isn’t something that will get me to say something to that pilot. But a pattern of regularly engaging in “risky” behavior (that is, whatever a prudent pilot would deem to be on the high end of risk-vs-reward) will have me talking to them to at least get their side of things. If in this discussion I find their ADM to be questionable, then it might be time for “the talk” to take place.

The point is, I think the aviation community (and especially flight instructors and leaders of flying clubs/etc.) have a duty to at least try to reach the unreachables. 100% of them will be unreachable if no one ever reaches out to them. Even if we can only effectively reach even 1% of them, that’s still better than 0%.

Gary B.

Poll: Do You Think SpaceX is Ready to Launch Astronauts?

  • Sooner or later you need to stop running demo flights and get on with the real thing. No matter when you do it, the first manned flight will be a nail-biter.
  • Apollo lost one crew, nearly another. The Shuttle lost two crews. It’s a risky business regardless of who is running it.
  • I think NASA is ready to launch astronauts on SpaceX. The astronauts are ready. If THEY say go, GO!
  • Don’t you think NASA, not the ill-informed public, is the correct place for this question? NASA says yes, by the way, in case you missed it.
  • Evidently.
  • I would ask the astronauts.
  • Let’s pray they do…
  • There are better ways to spend billions on the planet’s surface.
  • How could people who are not directly involved with the project know whether they are “ready” or not? All you are getting are wild guesses from people who are completely ignorant on the subject. Why do you ask these kinds of ridiculous questions?
  • I sure hope so!
  • They haven’t done an unmanned end-to-end test.
  • Can you trust anything Elon Musk says?
  • No, they are not fully aware of the risks. They will succeed on a few and then have losses.
  • Too inconsistent.
  • Are they just plain stupid?
  • Go.
  • They seem to be as ready as NASA ever was. Low bar. Godspeed.
  • I don’t have enough information or experience to judge.
  • Their record is proven.
  • Let the astronauts decide… not me… I don’t have a dog in this fight.
  • Yes. They are the best prepared of the two competing for the honor.
  • I trust Elon Musk. He has more brain cells in his knee cap than all the merchants of doubt’s brains combined.
  • More ready than NASA was in the 60s.
  • If it’s good enough for NASA, it’s good enough for me!
  • How would I know? What do I look like, Jules Bergman?
  • They’re sure further along than the government-owned project that’s taken longer and costs a whole lot more.
  • No, not when the owner doesn’t know the difference between a B-PAP and a ventilator.
  • If NASA’s happy, let them go.
  • Taking the COVID-19 virus to the space station?

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