Top Letters And Comments, February 25, 2022

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Humanity On The Wing: Gail Halvorsen’s Lasting Legacy

Great story with an appropriately excellent title Paul!

In 1995 while temporarily based at Tempelhof I had the good fortune to be invited by long time acquaintance Ake Johnasson aboard his DC-3 on a VFR Berlin sightseeing charter flight. Most passengers on that flight seemed to be about the same age, all a bit older than me, a forty niner. Their almost childlike exuberance during the flight led me to wonder if they might have been among those erstwhile candy recipients. Just the very thought of it gave me goose bumps. Querrying Ake about that after the flight he confirmed that they had indeed been among those children. Halvorsen’s humanity is a part of history which can never again been repeated in its exact form but lives on to inspire us all to other forms of benevolence.

John Kliewer

Col. Halvorsen was a great person. As a tribute to him, we decorated the trunk of our car at a “Trunk-or-Treat” event held at Scott AFB last Halloween. We hung a model of an airplane, from the lid of the trunk, and had it dropping small parachutes with candy into a bowl below for the “Trick-or-treaters” to grab. We took the time to explain who he was and what he did …. to the youngsters, so it acted as a small history lesson as well!

John Knab

Jason Blair: Modest Growth In Pilot Population

Cost is a big factor. When I did my Private in 1979, the median US income was $16,500. I was renting a Grumman Tiger for $30 per hour, plus $8 or $9 per hour for the instructor. So a 40 hour course would be about $1400. Or 8.5% of an average annual income. I started in the spring of my senior year in college and continued and finished while working. It was a stretch, but doable.

In 2021, the average annual income is $60,000, but locally a Cessna 172 is $154 per hour, with the instructor being $45 per hour (IIRC). So that same 40 hours would cost $7000 or almost 12% of annual income. So flying costs 50% more, based on income versus 40 years ago.

And flying was not cheap in 1979.

Also, when was the last time you saw an ad about learning to fly in other than flying publications? What industry with direct contact/sales to the public does not advertise? Heck, companies that have no direct sales/contact with the public advertise. People have to come up with the idea and then try to find where to go to pursue flying. Heck, I have had people mention that they did not even know that there was an airport in my county, and there are 3.

Terry Carraway

FAA Inspectors To Certify Each 787

“Where do these inspectors magically appear from…?” would seem the obvious flaw in this grand plan. Ferreting out not just things like a bad rivet or two but actual design oversights such as the electrical bonding issue would take people with the sort of deep knowledge & experience needed to go well beyond merely checking off blocks on an inspection sheet. FAA’s decades-long devolution into just another giant government paperwork palace wouldn’t seem to offer much hope there is a cadre of such experts hiding somewhere within.

John W.

We can argue about whether this is 100% effective, but it’s a start. Boeing has relegated the FAA to spectators. There needs to be more oversight and it starts with getting closer to the manufacturing line. Boeing went off the rails a long time ago, some say since the MD acquisition. It was an amazing company, unrivaled in its ability to design and produce the best products in the world. Today it is a “lowest-cost producer” and proven itself untrustworthy. I’d like to see the old Boeing back.

Jim Kabrajee

2021 Collier Finalists Announced

All eight projects are laudable achievements, but if the Collier judges factor degree-of-difficulty into the score, the continued success of the Ingenuity team’s little helicopter is the obvious winner. That it worked at all was a massive success; that it survived a year of Martian dust storms and is about to fly its 20th mission on a planet 180 million miles from Earth, THAT is the “greatest achievement of the year”. Maybe the decade.

Chip Davis

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