Top Letters And Comments, January 3, 2020


Unexplained Drone Swarms Alarm Residents In Colorado

As an RC modeler and full scale pilot, there are times and places where I should not be flying. Hobby flyers do not do night formation flights over or near populated or less populated places, no more than I would be circling my house at low altitudes at night in my airplane. With all the press, someone(s) is having a hoot stirring the pot purposefully disrupting the lives of folks, simply because they can. They are well lit and seem to be flying under control.

That is what makes me mad. Someone is purposefully trying to get attention at the expense of aviation, both hobby and full size. GA and aviation in general is in a death spiral PR wise. The FAA is making big pronouncements and NPRM’s about legislation that will drastically affect model aviation. More regulation and expense to force a form of ADS-B for model aviation. That means more expense for the modeler but also adds to the increasing confusion and issues of integrating the manned with the unmanned.

The nation media broadcast all sorts of stories about the FAA wanting to regulate the aerial hobby industry the day after the videos and newscasts surfaced of these night formation flights. So, whoever these pilots are, no matter how controlled they may be flying, doing what they are doing, are drawing national attention from an American non-aviation savvy public. This crap will be adding another cost to my flying in both hobby and GA realms. In addition, they are making the local authorities, the military, and the FAA look like buffoons.

In the end, all of us involved in aviation ends up paying a political, regulatory, and PR price because we have to add another set of laws to deal with the lowest common denominator of folks who think this is fun.

Soon to follow, of course, is the inevitable public FB firestorm of opinions “I have a right” to do what I please when I please debate, which adds even more negative PR for aviation. This is the kind of thing that focuses negative attention to airports, RC flying fields, even electric powered park flyers, that can set a public precedence demanding even more ridiculous rules, regulations, and laws. These will be promulgated by yet another aviation clueless politician, ate up by the public, while we cry in our beer that aviation’s glory days are gone. S*#! rolls downhill. At the moment we law abiding, ADS-B compliant, FAA scrutinized GA pilots and mechanics are at the bottom of that hill.

Yeah, this looks like a silly little story of somebody getting their jollies wadding up people’s underwear in remote Colorado and Nebraska boon-docks. To me, it is another straw put on the regulatory back of a now very public FAA that will “demanding” the FAA do something to stop this threat to public safety. All of us in aviation pays for this careless behavior, now and later.

Jim H.

Theory #1: Didn’t the state of Colorado legalize marijuana several years ago?

Theory #2: The FAA needed justification for their new law requiring homing devices on drone controllers. So, they secretly hired some company to create a reason.

Theory #3: Bored teenagers strike again.

Theory #4: Some company is testing out a new long range drone with extended battery duration, but they do it at night so no one can easily see, or photograph the units. Either that or they are testing a new night vision system. Has anyone checked with DARPA to see if they will fess up?

Seriously, this is a good example of why the FAA’s new drone ID proposal is a waste of time. Building a drone yourself or hacking into the electronics to disable any factory installed homing systems is well within the capabilities of computer savvy teenagers. Here in Houston there are schools that teach classes on how to build your own drone. Whomever is doing this, they change locations frequently to avoid being caught, and they stick to remote areas where law enforcement and eyewitnesses are few and far between. Either that, or;

Theory #5: The aliens are back at it again….

John M.

Poll: Are You Ready to Fly on a 737 MAX?

  • Steve Dickson says he won’t sign off until he has personally flown the MAX and is satisfied. I think he should fly one a day for 30 business days and then make his decision. Never mind the politics Steve. Do the right thing.
  • It will never fly again.
  • After I see the correction, and the training.
  • No. Still a flawed design.
  • Yes. Given the amount of scrutiny it has been under, it is the safest plane out there.
  • The question is posed as if we have a choice. Effectively we don’t. I will not be worried about safety of the MCAS solution, but I would avoid the MAX if I could only to boycott Boeing till every one of the current execs have been axed and HQ is moved back to Seattle. That will never happen.
  • Depends who the crew is and their training.
  • After management and stock holders travel first, it seems to me that the attitude indicator failure was not a new problem.
  • I need the new training first.
  • Yes, but only those operated by airlines that I know (from insider information, not travel agents) that have AoA redundancy on their MCAS system.)
  • They should remove the MCAS completely and reengineer the aircraft to make it stable.
  • Don’t think my $ should support a MAX.
  • When ALL regulators say OK.
  • Not until all pilots have sim time.
  • The MAX just made the list, Comet, DC-10.
  • Of course. It was pilot incompetence, inability to cope with a runaway trim event that caused the crash. The 737 MAX itself is as safe as any other airliner.
  • Never – it should die with the people it killed!
  • Yes, with American trained pilots and maintenance.
  • If I want to go from point A to point B via airline, and the MAX is my only option, what choice do I have outside of driving or public transportation?
  • Once MCAS is hooked up to 2 AOA sensors, or MCAS deleted.
  • Let’s see what changes they made!
  • Yes. Once recertified to fly.
  • After cleared for flight by USA FAA hell yeah!
  • Only on Southwest.
  • Not now or ever.
  • It will never fly again unless rebranded.
  • Yes, but only with a U.S. or western European crew.
  • Only if I have to.
  • Wait to China’s acceptance.
  • No – and won’t till they’re modded and certified.
  • Relax. It has been fixed.
  • I think I’m gonna wait more than a little!
  • As soon as it is released to the flight line.
  • Not until they re-design the wing position or add canards or some other aerodynamic fix.
  • Yes, can’t wait to pilot one too!
  • I don’t fly commercial any more, but once the MAX is recertified, I would fly on it.
  • With U.S. carriers only.
  • Not for at least a year.
  • Should be ok by now.
  • Only on a U.S. Major.
  • I’d fly on it! After the fix, it’ll probably be the best 737 on the market.
  • In the USA for sure, Asia no way.
  • NFW. And I fly a 767-400 for a living.
  • When the aircraft is certified, and all systems trained.
  • I don’t like those tiny single-aisle planes where you’re stuck for five hours. Not my cup of tea MAX or A320/321.
  • It’s not even approved yet, so that’s the point of asking???

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