Top Letters And Comments, June 14, 2019


Uber Elevate: Pick A Fantasy

Perhaps the aircraft themselves will eventually become a reality, but I can’t see the usage of them as Uber describes ever happening. For one, as others have pointed out, there’s the noise issue. Enough people moving next to an airport complain as it is, and I’m sure people who moved into an area not next to an airport will really complain when they have aircraft regularly flying by. But for another, there’s the issue of disk loading, and all of these concepts seem to be V-22-style tilt-rotors in one form or another. The smaller the rotor (or disk) size, the faster the velocity of air has to be to generate the same amount of lift. That’s why it’s always a conventional helicopter hoisting people up, since a large rotor disk has lower air velocity. But even then, that’s still a lot of downward air that blows things around. Regardless of the rotor configuration used, if the vehicle is 1000 pounds, you need 1000 pounds of lift, and that’s a lot of air. I just don’t see cities ever allowing the use of such transportation systems.

Gary Baluha

“that most of the challenges will be in integrating them into a coherent transportation system and with ATC.”…this is the biggest challenge.

Second biggest is an infrastructure that has limited to no real estate to pick up passengers and deliver them. Take a look at the roof tops of a city and/or industrial parks the next time you fly over them. And even if you could use a roof top or two, what about the poles, lights, power lines, flagpoles, maze of antennas, dishes, air conditioners, and all sorts of mechanical devices on top of most buildings.

The very reasons that urban transportation is now over-saturated making any commute a frustrating nightmare, is the same reasons that will plague giving this over-population access to the skies dooming it to an eventual aerial version of rush hour.

It’s one thing to have a helicopter service between JFK and Manhattan 5 times a day in a Sikorsky S76. Have that same route flown by the same type of helicopter 25-50 times a day and see what that does for ATC and within today’s infrastructure. Now multiply that by only three or so carriers and we will know well in advance of the next composite, carbon fiber, electrified wing thing, how all this will integrate within the urban sprawl.

Any VTOL craft will have at the very least the same size and space demands of a S76 to haul more than 3 people at a time. And even a four place VTOL will be very close to the same footprint…or would that be “sky print”? So, we already know what VTOL infrastructure space demands will be, including ATC’s ability to handle even more traffic than it does already by simply multiplying the use of the S76’s available today. I know, I know that does not play out well compared to the artist renderings and YouTube fantasy films.

Plus, weather still exists even in the big cities.

Agree with Paul, we are getting ringside seats for the next series of aerial evolution. However, I believe the VTOLs will come way before any practical application…and find out the expensive way, they will be a neat aerial gizmo with no practical urban place to go. VTOLs will be used, but not by Uber or anybody else for urban transportation relief.

Geez, we are still trying to get ADS-B compliance within a 10-year span for 215,000 or so airplanes sprinkled all over the great vast land called the USA with limited success…and then add hundreds, if not thousands of VTOL’s in the mix? Mostly concentrated within the most saturated airspace on the planet. Think about that scene on the iPad!

Too many folks in one place is simply too many folks for one place whether you use the sky or not.

Jim Holdeman

Should NASA Allow Space Tourism On The ISS?

Depends on what you mean by “Tourism.” If you’re referring to your news story about NASA allowing commercial missions to the ISS, then sure, why not. If you mean that Justin Bieber wants to play astronaut and is plunking down $20 million to do so, NO WAY.


Yes, it opens up another channel of funding.


Only if a private company sends up a space trained scientist to conduct important work, staying for a limited time. But NOT for a bored zillionaire who wants to do it for a lark.


DJI with ADS-B

Would be better if DJI programmed the drone to descend automatically to a safe altitude below aircraft traffic even though it may show up as ADS-B traffic they are still tough to spot from a pilot point of view and may disregard the ‘tis-b alert if unseen.

Terry Baremor

Can GA Support A Show Devoted To Light Sport Aviation?

We need more airshows in general, with the better availability.


Obviously we are being dollared to death with such high costs unlike the early 80’s where we could rent (wet) a 172 for about $14.00 an hour. Yep, those days are gone and all we have to fly are “spam cans” unless we choose to fly A/C like a Citabria. Even the mentality is changing where new aviators want iPads to seemingly “protect them from a bump in the air. The future of General Aviation seems so bleak.


With the new LSA rules changing in 2020 there will be a massive overlap in all likelihood. Smart to get out now and rebrand for the future. My 2 cents.


It does. The Midwest LSA Expo.


Light sport didn’t turn out to be what it was supposed to be hence the lack of interest.


As evidenced by the fascist security staff during a vintage car event at Sebring, the event just needs to change venues.


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