Top Letters And Comments, March 31, 2023


Blow Your Own Doors Off

My Stinson 108-2 flew just fine with the door off to parachute out of, probably needed the STC too, never even thought about it. Jumping out of the J-3 was a bit more of a production, remove the rear stick so you could climb out of that seat, lean out with your hand on the tire being careful not to snag the ripcord of the chest mount reserve and fall out. The airshow when the pilot flying from the front had to reach back to reinsert the stick and then climb over the front seat back, slip and fall on the stick was a bonus. Back in my reckless youth in 1970, great fun!

Greg C.

In the beginning: Young dumb Com’l IFR SES Pt. 135 pilot; I would fly my 185 on floats with the right door off quite frequently for local news reporters in Fabulous Florida Keys. Aircraft handled just fine-and I got paid. You needed an STC? Who knew?!

Gayle M.

Hi Paul,

Thanks for the chuckle. I always know it’s you just by the title of your articles. I have quite a collection. I do love open cockpit flying. Got a chance to hop a ride in a Stearman last weekend. I was driving past my buddy’s hangar and he was dragging out the Stearman. With a sad face, I asked “what are you doing?” It was pathethic enough for him to ask if I wanted to go along. Well duh….the answer is always yes! There is nothing like it! I did sort of forget that it’s a bit cooler up there but I wasn’t about to waste time grabbing a jacket.

By the way, I just started reading Bootleg Skies. See someone has a copy. You can thank Ann Pellegrano for that.

Cheers from Gwen in Fredericksburg, Texas

Gwen F.

A Dream Becomes Reality

Great story – congratulations! My son and I recently purchased an RV6A – mainly so he can continue building hours. We are learning a lot about owner maintenance and are getting great advice from other owners/EAA members.


I enjoyed reading your story of a dream and how your motivation has brought you this far. When you have completed the restoration of your RV6, you’ll have your heart and soul into her and she’ll be one of your best friends. This is coming from an RV4 builder with 34 years married to Miss Fusion.

Hans M.

Poll: Should The Airline Pilot Retirement Age Be Raised To 67 From 65?

  • It should be determined by one of two things: the health/ medical condition of the pilot, or when he/she decides to call it quits. I ski with an 80-year-old and I can’t keep up. Calendar years is not an indicator of health.
  • Raising the *mandatory* retirement age for Part 121 service is good so long as it does not hinder a pilot’s ability to retire earlier if he/she so chooses. Forcing pilots to wait longer to retire with full benefits would be foolish since each individual (along with their AME) is best equipped to determine when it’s most appropriate for their own retirement decision. Airline managements would love to force pilots to “Fly ‘Till You Die” for profit motive reasons.
  • Talk about age discrimination!! These pilots are at the peak of their career and then forced out because they turn one year older? Seriously?! That ridiculous. It’s time to accept that people are more healthy than they’ve been. They are living longer. Let the Aviation Medical Examiners decide if a pilot is medically fit to fly. Let the Air carrier decide if the pilot is proficient. It’s seriously time for a change. Change the age!
  • If they decide to change it again it should be tapered in unlike last time. The higher retirement numbers exist for the next 6-10 years at the airlines. Pushing it back two years will just put off the problem. Adding a few months to let the hiring departments catch up then adding a month each year as life spans increase would decrease hiring requirements by 1/2th or about 8% each year solving the shortage without stopping the hiring.
  • Depends on each pilot based on their health. My uncle was only 42 years old when he passed out and his travel buddy had to land the plane with help from the ground pilot. They took his license away after medical review.
  • There are pilots age 50 who shouldn’t be flying and pilot’s age 80 who fly just fine. Maybe the decision should be between the pilot, the airline and the AME.
  • Are pilots meaningfully less safe from 65-67?
  • No set age, on condition.
  • Gonna be lots of regulatory issues with international operations, so scheduling issues too.
  • Depends on individual mental and physical status. One size does not fit all.
  • No. Get rid of the age restriction completely.
  • Yes, with increased health screening beyond current retirement age.
  • I’d rather see an increase in retirement age than more reliance on AI.
  • Not unless testing for cognitive deterioration is part of the increase.
  • If a pilot can pass a first class medical and are current on the aircraft, they should be allowed to fly way past 65.
  • Let pilots stay to 67 if they want to and remain qualified.
  • They want everyone to work until they die.
  • Can they pass a first class medical? I’m a retired airline pilot, 69 years old, in good health. Still flying for fun. Why not?
  • No age limit if you can pass a battery of mental and physical fitness tests.
  • If ICAO accepts an increased retirement age, then the U.S. should make the change. If not, then do not increase it for U.S. pilots.
  • Not going to solve anything.
  • By choice.
  • Option yes, extending the pension age to 67 no.
  • Yes, provided the company check pilots don’t forget their duty to innocent passengers.
  • Allow the pilots to choose which age they will retire.
  • No age limits. Discrimination is an ugly thing.
  • Why is there an arbitrary age limit at all??
  • If you can pass the physical, and you don’t share the front with another geezer, why not?
  • Look what happened when the government in France announced that workers would have to wait an extra 2 years to retire…. oh, wait! Maybe pilots WANT to fly for another 2 years… 🙂
  • Depends on the availability of fully qualified pilots to replace those retiring. I’d much rather have an older qualified pilot than a younger unqualified pilot.
  • Yes, as long as they can still pass their physical.
  • NO. Should be 70.
  • It hasn’t been a fix in the past only a bandaid…
  • Considering recent air carrier pilot incapacitation stories, probably not a good time to bring this up.
  • Why are we asking people’s opinions on this? The decision should be made based on the data and science, not public opinion.
  • Yes, Given that a 66.9 year old can pass the physical, the existing 65 limit is no longer relevant.

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