Top Letters And Comments, July 21, 2023


Why No Love For The B-21?

Frustrating as it is, there doesn’t seem to be any real alternative to the endless -and expensive- process of staying up with the defense technology wave. Curt LeMay could just as well have said “it’s ALL interim”.

Technological advances can strike deep. The Navy problem Paul mentions was simmering for a long time before the current China planning crisis brought it front center. The aircraft carrier, long a backbone element within our force projection strategies, has been relegated to B-52 status; still useful in some situations but dead meat if dispatched against a peer enemy.

John K.

There is nothing exciting about it. I’d rather watch a lawn mower fly. In fact, my worst airshow nightmare would be where every plane is an F-35. The VTOL versions especially remind me of a stink bug.

Bill K.

When I was in high school, my family lived about five miles south of Carswell in Fort Worth. By that time, the B-36 had been retired, but both the B-52 and B-58 were active. Every morning the 52s would lumber off, often over the house, on their daily patrols. You could hear them rumbling along well before they arrived, so they would never sneak up on you.

The B-58 was a different animal. With four powerful engines and a tiny wing, it had to fly fast, really fast, just to get airborne. When they came over, there was little warning, just a sudden huge roar as it zipped overhead, seemingly about ten feet above the house. It would scare the crap out of you. Even in those patriotic days, the Hustler was not popular among the neighbors. Thankfully, the 58s got moved somewhere else and we only had to endure the BUFFs. To this day, I have a soft spot in my heart for the big, lumbering B-52, but I still don’t like the Hustler. BTW, I love the flying scenes in Strategic Air Command and the sequence where Jimmy Stewart did his first takeoff that showed the complex process in getting all ten engines running before departure. Some really good photography for the day.

John Mc.

Truth In Icing

I don’t have a lot of faith in icing forecast predictions. The probability of icing is 0 or 100 percent. I have had ice in conditions when there should not have been any and sailed through clouds where I was sure I was going to get ice and got nothing.

FIKI for smaller piston aircraft is misnamed, it should stand for Finding Ice Knot Ideal. If your flight doesn’t have an out where you can escape ice then you should not be going even in a FIKI aircraft.

David G.

This is required reading. No ice means just that ! And do not be fooled by the ones who got away with ‘a little ice’ – they were just lucky. I’ve had ice trouble in heavy turboprops and jets which were certified for icing, so have learned to have huge respect for the phenomenon.

Mauro H.

Poll: Do You Think Radios Should Be Required For Non-controlled Airports?

  • I lean towards ‘yes’, at least for public airports. Portable transceivers are readily available. If you’re in your J3, once you are out of the pattern, simply turn it off.
  • Not only no – by heck no! Those of you who are screaming for this are entirely forgetting an already “disenfranchised” portion of GA. NORDO aircraft are already treated as red headed steps; there is no reason to entirely invalidate them. And just because YOU have the discretionary income to set up a solid radio doesn’t mean the rest of us do. GA is small enough already. We do not need to eliminate anyone at this point. I’m sorry if you have to look outside and pay attention that where you’re going doesn’t already include something unyielding, but you do. It’s scary finding out how much attention people divert to inside the plane while near the airport. Get your head outside!
  • Absolutely! If you have ever been on short final in a jet and had an Aeronca cut you off, you would understand why.
  • Requiring radios will only help if people are required to listen to them. Some think that because they transmit everyone else should get out of their way.
  • No. Flying a proper pattern and looking out the window are plenty.
  • Yes, but a handheld is acceptable.
  • Busier non-towered airports should have a requirement for radios – not all non-towered airports.
  • I had to make this decision 20 years ago. The airport where I was flying was fairly busy with two flight schools operating on the field. After a couple of months of deliberation, I decided that the answer for me was yes. The other pilots needed me to have a radio because they depended on their radio transmissions being the only thing necessary by default; see and be seen not being taught.
  • Here in NZ, they are not required, unless said airport is inside a mandatory broadcast zone (MBZ). MBZs are common in busy airspace around busier non-towered airports.
  • Specific uncontrolled airports could require them.
  • I would have to see the data on mid-air collisions first.
  • Every conflict I have ever had at a non-towered airport was with an airplane that would be equipped with a radio, but didn’t use it properly. It is hard to regulate out the stupid without making everyone else suffer significantly.
  • No. Not all non-controlled airports are the same.
  • If they would actually use the radio!
  • ADSB out – not radio – should be required.
  • Hundreds of ops a day? Yes. Few ops – Why bother?
  • I don’t have a charging system; I don’t have a battery; and I don’t need or want a radio!
  • While I applaud the sentiment, enforcing such a rule would be impossible and it would also be unhelpful at airports which use unpublished frequencies different from standard multicom.
  • Yes, if the aircraft has an electrical system.
  • I don’t know that “required” is appropriate for all airports, but considering the reasonable price for a hand-held unit these days I can’t imagine why anyone would not carry one for safety’s sake.
  • I feel that it is necessary for the safety of all aircraft that airplanes should at least have a hand held for means of communication. This could help reduce risks at class E and class G airfields where a wide range of aircraft may be flying.
  • If radios become required, will there be a requirement to use them, and if so, will there be a requirement to use them correctly? If not, don’t bother.
  • Required? No.
  • As a long-time GA pilot in mostly rural areas, be patient, keep your eyes open and follow the rules.
  • Yes, even if only a hand held.
  • No, not all aircraft (especially certain antiques) have electrical systems.
  • It depends on whether airline flights use the airport, as well as the density of general aviation operations. No more explanation needs to be said (speaking as a retired air traffic controller with ATP/LR24 ratings).
  • Seriously people?!?! They’re non controlled fields! You can’t handle VFR flight, stay in the big city.
  • No, things are confused enough.

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