Top Letters And Comments, April 9, 2022


Pilot Exodus Blamed For Alaska Cancellations

The age of air carriers being able to take advantage of pilots due to pilots love of flying may finally be coming to an end. Since it is supposed to be a pilots’ job market rather than the other way around, those pilots who are leaving a current employer to better pastures are just taking advantage of the free job market that should have existed a long time ago. And those air carrier managers need to get their head out of their… and act accordingly. Just like the cost to get a private pilot certificate has risen, so finally has the cost of experienced/advanced rated pilots. And that also includes the cost of airfares. Making money on a $59 fare to Florida is just another road to bankruptcy, and screwing over existing pilot staff.

Matt W.

Most of us posting and reading articles here are aware of what it takes to be a commercial pilot flying for an airline. Training upon training. Hours and hours spent on FARs and associated regs. Line checks by FAA examiners, etc. etc. etc. It is about time that pilots were paid on par with the skills and dedication it takes to pursue this kind of career. The same holds true for mechanics, and support.

Owen Kinnan

What is wrong with airline management? Are they always out to lunch? They have been pooh-pooh-ing predicted pilot shortages for decades now. Oh… it costs MONEY to be proactive and that might cut our short term bonuses and “stakeholder” dividends. Only lately have we seen some small efforts by the smarter carriers to create programs to attract and train pilots… steps that should have been taken decades ago. In the same vein, raiding regional carriers for pilots is just as bad, especially leaving these carriers (wholly-owned or not) to fend for themselves with recruitment. It is a complicated dance, but the principles are simple – however, corporate memory is short. History teaches, but is easily ignored and dismissed by the foolish.

Bart Groeneveld

Tailwheels: Checkout And Owning

Right off the street, young teen, I soloed a Champ in ’58 with about 10 hours of dual stretched over many months as I could slowly afford the time. Actually, that was very common solo time back then. Now a commercial pilot with many hours takes about 10 hours to just transition from tri gear to a tailwheel plane. Think it’s a lot of unlearning to do. I owned an Aeronca Chief for the past 20 years, hanging it up 2 years ago as I got older and insurance went up, up. And I had way more taildragger time for those many years than I did tri gear. If you just want to tri taildragger, I suggest a Chief (if you’ll fit in it) and can find an instructor. Chiefs are plentiful at the moment and the bottom feeders on price. I sold my A65 Chief for $15K and lots of good flying left in it. And then, see if you can just get liability only. If you wreck it, you just bite the bullet and write it off. Probably your loss after salvage will be not much more than a year or two of insurance initially.

Roger Anderson

I’ve owned and flown a 1986 Maule MX-7-180 taildragger for 23 years and about 2000 hours. I’m 75 and insurance is around $2,900 a year including the broker’s fee for liability and $120,000 hull. I also have 500 hours over 7 years and a 1985 Cessna A185F taildragger with a 300 hp engine that I flew in all kinds of windy conditions on forest fires. I have lots of hours in other taildraggers such as Cessna 180, Super Decathalon, Beaver, Citabria, Super Cub and J-3.

Light two-seat taildraggers do not give you enough experience with a more powerful, heavier 4-seat taildgragger like a C185 or Maule. To be safe and proficient in a taildragger, you need to practice landing in all kinds of conditions including side slopes, uphill, downhill, pavement, grass, gravel, dirt and rough surfaces. Gusty crosswinds on pavement are the most challenging. The secret is maximum concentration until touchdown with no sideways drift. That might involve touching down with the upwind wheel first.

I usually do tail-low wheel landings to minimize final approach speed and raise the tail on touchdown for better forward visibility and less wear on the tail wheel. It’s best not to use brakes on a taildragger until the tail is on the ground and you are at a low ground speed. Otherwise, you risk nosing over. Larger, heavier taildraggers have more mass in the tail and heavier engines so nosing over is more of a risk with brakes.

You need to use ailerons into the wind even after landing to prevent a crosswind from picking up the upwind wing and pivoting the airplane on the downwind wheel. Tailwheel airplanes pivot on the main wheels more easily than nosewheel airplanes since the tailwheel free-casters on most of them and the center of gravity is aft of the main wheels.

You need to immediately control any directional deviation with rudder input and avoid over-correcting. Otherwise, it could develop into a swerve and ground loop. Bouncing is common on landing in a taildragger, especially if you come in too fast on final. Once the mains touch down, I quickly rock the yoke or stick forward to reduce angle of attack and keep the mains on the ground. Bouncing is also likely if you flare too high. Viewing the height of the airplane above the runway out the side of the airplane helps to control the flare and avoid a bounce. Switching your view between the side and front helps keep the airplane from drifting sideways and flaring too high. Aileron and rudder inputs need to be automatic reactions when you are close to the ground. Conscious thought takes too long so practice, practice, practice.

Andrew M.

Poll: With FedEx Testing Drone Delivery, Do You Think It’s Going to Work?

  • In limited areas perhaps, but when the truck comes to my neighborhood, it drops off dozens of packages every day. Are you going to send a couple of dozen drones to make a delivery that one truck can make?
  • Yes, but now more than ever low level airways need to be designed and put in place. -Richard G.
  • After a few lawsuits from a drone hurting someone, they may rethink the idea.
  • Yes, with limited application.
  • No, nobody has accounted for mother nature. Everyone expects their delivery on time but add high winds, heavy rain, hail, snow etc. and “Houston we have a problem.”
  • I hope not. I’m tired of automation being used instead of the human touch.
  • Drone service would stand a fighting chance if the FAA were not standing athwart innovation with early 20th Century regulatory models.
  • Some very specific cases – mostly rural but not large scale.
  • I bet against FedEx in the 70’s when they began with Falcons. Probably won’t bet against them again.
  • They can probably make drone delivery work in “laboratory” conditions; but when it meets the “real world,” there will be unpleasant surprises.
  • Maybe in the city, in time, but for rural folks, tough bounce.
  • Limited use—but not in urban areas as usually depicted. MAYBE in remote areas. Let the military experiment with it first.
  • For small “light” items, it will eventually work. However, for large bulky and heavy items, no.
  • Only in suburbia, rural is too far and urban is too crowded.
  • Call me a Luddite. I fear for our future when the total overall impacts of drones are understood, negatives outweighing the present perceived gains.
  • If the FAA can’t even manage something simple like an unleaded avfuel, how are they ever going to approve autonomous drone delivery?
  • They will try to make it work and abandon the idea before it makes a dent in current practice.
  • Perhaps for single items at the end of a long road. But for a street full of deliveries, it is hard to see how it would be more efficient than a truck.
  • Depends on FAA air traffic to update and design low altitude guidance control.
  • The noise of unsynchronized props on ANY drone/UAV multirotor is one of the most annoying mechanical assaults heard.
  • Long after I’m gone.
  • Yes, and it will cause an air traffic disaster.
  • For specific areas, liability for dropped objects or dropped drones will be an issue in congested areas.
  • Too many thieves in the world, wouldn’t take long before gangs of package thugs start following the drones around.
  • Drones are in our future like it or not.
  • They couldn’t possibly lose more product than people steal out of Walmart every day.
  • I hope not to my house!
  • There are too many drones in the workforce, government especially, we really don’t need more in the air.
  • Until they become self-aware and then attack and kill you when they deliver that first package…
  • Skeet shooting with a prize.

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  1. I missed the original poll, but I don’t think they SHOULD be allowed until the drones are as smart as your average crow, which is smart enough to get out of the way. No drone should be allowed in the NAS until it can sense-and-avoid every other flying conveyance, especially those carrying humans. We were there first, and as a chopper pilot I spend quite a bit of time at the very altitudes they are trying to reserve for drones. I’m pretty big and they are invisible. But I, and my pax, are not easily replaceable.

  2. … meh, maybe drones between distribution centers and local offices, but not to homes and businesses. I (still!) can’t get my arms around the insurance costs. The very thought of some drone making an unscheduled drop on some pee-wee league soccer game is a tad much for me to digest.