Top Letters And Comments, August 16, 2019


NTSB Issues Safety Alert On Jet Fuel Contamination

Seems to be some strong feelings here about whether to blame the FBOs exclusively or the EPA, or the NTSB. Let’s look at some points. The NTSB ONLY investigates and advises, period. They legislate nothing. The EPA is only interested in environmental issues, they do not get into various parts of industry and how they conduct things. Okay, with the NTSB and the EPA “out,” that leaves the FAA and the various FBOs. A bureaucracy the size of the FAA is pretty ponderous but theoretically require that DEF and other additives be labeled / stored carefully separated from each other. That might help some. FBOs, well, it kind of comes down to them, the end user here. First, their equipment might be exempt (I am not an expert here) from the DEF requirements due to not be on road machinery. They, as a group, might be able to get a waiver if they are not blanket exempt. I am sure that none of them, however, want DEF or anything else in their fuel supplies. I am reasonably sure that the vast majority of them train, emphasize, and stress proper servicing of their vehicles.

The human factor is the critical point here. No matter how much anyone in the “chain” stresses the issue, human error WILL OCCUR and DEF will end up where it doesn’t belong. PERIOD. I worked for a company with a huge fleet of vehicles. That company stressed very strongly the proper servicing of those vehicles with fuel, DEF, and other additives. In spite of that stressing, diesel ended up in gas tanks, gas in diesel tanks, DEF in places you wouldn’t believe, ditto with coolant. The human factor.

So, where does this leave us? The FAA, the EPA, the FBO industry, and end-user groups should work together to “stupid-proof” the end process to the max extent possible. How, you ask? How about giving thought to using CNG fueled vehicles only around airports? How about using battery powered vehicles where feasible? How about extremely unique fittings for various refill actions? While these are only suggestions, they are offered with the hope of eliminating the human factor to the greatest extent possible. Nothing, repeat!, nothing will ever eliminate human error but it can be mitigated to a great extent with some fore thought.

David C.

Crash Pilot Produced Video Of Rescue

Let me see if I got this right: He landed in an old-growth forest right-side up. His landing was such that he wasn’t injured and thus ambulatory, so he was able to assist in his rescue. He had an ELT and a PLB. He had sufficient survival gear to light a fire and make a smoke signal (Okay, so I could barely see smoke in that video but searchers were able to from miles away? Impressive). His efforts resulted in a back-country rescue in less than 6 hours according to his video timeline. And he shot a cool video so every other pilot in the world could learn from the experience and perhaps be even more prepared for such an event. Here is what I found worthy of criticism in this video: ……………………. yes, nothing.

Jim P.

After The Prop Stops

Doesn’t hurt to get some glider time – or even the rating. You quickly learn some useful decisionmaking skills that can transfer to airplanes. (Full disclosure: I’ve “landed out” without incident over two dozen times!) It sure didn’t hurt the three glider-rated ATPs who successfully “landed out” after engine failures!

Jim K.

Another Hunt Is On For Amelia Earhart’s Electra

The notion is that Amelia and Fred Noonan landed safely on July 2, 1937 on the flat reef at low tide of Gardner Island (now Nikumaroro Island) 380 miles southeast of the destination, Howland Island, and for several days made HF radio transmissions at night heard by some in the States but not by the US Coast Guard or Navy who were searching for them. During the day she and Fred Noonan went ashore rather than sit inside the hot Electra.

Fearing that higher tides would draw the airplane off the reef and into the abyss as people speculate, one would think that they would have removed the plane’s seats, engine cowling and so much more for survival purposes and to place on the beach as a signal. Instead, nothing was left or found in subsequent years save what might be an old bottle of anti-freckle cream. Amelia did not like her freckles.

Yup, let’s bring anti-freckle cream ashore but not shiny aluminum airplane parts that could be seen by the Navy pilots who catapulted from the USS Colorado in their Vought O3U Corsair float planes and circled the island several days later.


If Given The Chance, Would You Fly a Turbine-Powered Hoverboard?

Only over water and under 20 feet AGL.


Rip Van Winkle here…um, huh?


Yes, but I would be wearing one of my parachutes, just in case.


Activity for idiots.


I prefer the W.A.S.P. flying podium. It’s been around for decades.




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