Top Letters And Comments, May 1, 2020


Do You Really Need To Go Flying?

In the UK, the vast majority of private pilots have decided that recreational flying is not right for the following reasons:

1. The ground trip to and from the airfield (if applicable) would contravene the travel guidance as it does not comply with the 4 permitted reasons to leave your home. A home-based strip would not include this factor.

2. An aircraft engaging in recreational flight would fly in the face of the spirit of the community lock-down, and the public sight of an aircraft thus engaged would be detrimental to public attitudes to GA.

3. Should emergency services be required at any stage, this may compromise their availability for pandemic requirements and require that social distancing be compromised.

In my opinion, #1 is not rationally likely to make any difference to the pandemic provided the flights are solo or within the household, and #3 is statistically dubious.

However, it is often the soft issues that are more important in the long run, and the community spirit both to the wider and GA communities in #2 has kept me on the ground.

Russ’s moral arguments about how we spend our own money when others are in need may be an indication of a growing empathy for those poorer than we, and this surge in philanthropy may prove to be the silver lining to emerge from the whole pandemic lock-down.

Christopher R.

That an article like this is put forward as reasonable thinking is bizarre and tells me how dysfunctional our mentalities have become. If I fly my airplane recreationally in these times, it isn’t affecting anyone adversely, but it does prevent my airplane from going stale, the engine suffering from non-use which could cause a problem later, supports the local airport and any other facility I use, and it is one of the few ‘rights’ I still have. To think that staying home instead of going to the airport by yourself to fly is somehow helping anyone who is at risk of the virus is obviously ridiculous. I don’t brag about it, so I’m not hurting anyone’s feelings and the FBO sure appreciates the gas I buy. I’d kind of like them to be around after the crisis, so we don’t have a lot more problems for a lot more people. By flying, which at least for now I am fortunate enough to do, I am actually supporting businesses that are suffering, and doing it in completely benign way. Maybe some people feel guilty for doing this sort of thing. That is simply irrational. A lot of people have sort of ‘lost it’ out there. I’m sorry that it now seems to include a few of us pilots.

William K.

Four-Ship Bonanza Formation Tour of New York

Very cool. It’s nice to see people making lemonade out of lemons.

Jim H.

As a regular reader of AVweb I was horrified to read that light aircraft are doing flybys and touch and goes at NY’s major airports during the Covid 19 lockdown. Have they no respect or common sense? What if they had had an accident and had to divert medical personal from a Covid patient? And I could not believe, in both cases, how low they were over built up areas with absolutely nowhere to go in an emergency and think potentially how many deaths or injuries and emergency personal that would have involved.

Dave C.

Poll: Do You Favor Cirrus-style Real Time Monitoring

  • NO!! There is no operational need for such off-board data collection. There appears little or no real benefit to the individual aircraft owner, beyond on-aircraft data capture and reporting. It is a certainty, despite the empty (non-binding) promises of today, that the principal use of such data will be to support legal actions. If we’re looking for a technology solution to benefit accident prevention, think about this: Given the frequency of pilots using medications contraindicated for flight duties being involved in accidents, why don’t we require nationwide tracking of pilot’s RXs and OTC medication purchases? Maybe the Federal Air Surgeon could contract with the the large pharmacy benefits managers and retail chains to capture that prescribing and purchase data in real-time? Just need a little implied consent paragraph added to Part 67, e.g., “§ 67.8 Consent to Access to Medication Purchase History”?
  • Benefits great for commercial jets. Not so much for GA piston fleet. Potential negatives outweigh benefits here.
  • Yes! Trend monitoring, which is what this is, can save your life and lots of DOLLARS. TBO extensions and preventing costly repairs as well as reducing direct operating costs are all proven benefits. Cirrus should have marketed this function as such.
  • If they have the data, it will be retrieved by the government under current law. No privacy there. We submit our data to Savvy Aviation so we like trend monitoring but it is at our choice.
  • Yes, with the adoption of Apple’s style of personal privacy.
  • DAHER has been offering something similar for a few years. Nicolas sells it better.
  • I don’t see how to keep data without a S/N and therefore implicating an owner. If a govt. wants that data from Cirrus they’ll get it.
  • Bracket creep, as we saw with DNA testing. Get a warrant, get a violation. No thanks.
  • Engine and aircraft mechanical yes. Pilot performance, no.
  • Only with local data storage, manual upload.
  • Yes. But model the program much like the airlines have both with the FAA and with the pilot and maintenance unions. I know it’s not exactly the same but close enough to use that model as a sounding board for failures and successes.
  • Why be afraid of facts? Be ready to be accountable.
  • Link it to ASRS.
  • YES – but to address privacy, have the data go to a ‘third party’ for aggregation- possibly COPA Safety & Education Foundation; no ratting out, but still get the data!
  • If they pay me – this sort of information for a manufacturer is very valuable – and impossible or financially prohibitive to do themselves.
  • Only for engine trend monitoring.
  • Yes, as long as it is done in a constructive and non-punitive manner.
  • Data should go into ‘escrow’ to be anonymized at independent third party. Think continuous NASA report. Then I would love it.
  • With proper restrictions on where it can be used.
  • I’m okay with downloadable engine data, but not automatic data transfer.
  • Only with privacy protections, the owner of the plane owns the data, and it can only be accessed by the owner or with his permission.
  • Good idea for data but can’t be separated from a penalty mentality.
  • No. It suits only Cirrus, yet the pilot pays for it and takes the risk of oversight.
  • Only with substantial privacy protections, government access only with a search warrant backed by more than the “scene of the crash probable cause.”
  • Don’t want additional cost/complexity.
  • Yes, great idea. Offer data anonymizing, don’t force it.
  • Only after 3rd party security validation of database AND airplane.
  • For the pilot/user to use. In the case of an accident, not incident, Cirrus/FAA has access.
  • I carefully monitored the engine data on my Cirrus. Even though there was no advance warning, my engine failed in flight.
  • Only if the government and lawyers cannot get the data.
  • Little different from the massive stream of metadata we freely give away daily.
  • Off button!
  • Do I get a reduction in insurance rates? Money talks (at least to me).
  • Should report training issues to the pilot, not their CFI.
  • Only with the same protections as airline pilots enjoy.
  • I’d like to say “maybe” but eventually the government will get its hands on the data to prosecute minor infractions.
  • One misstep and void the warranty!

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  1. You pick the top letters that agree with what you wrote. I still disagree. Get rid of your bias. (Do You Really Need To Go Flying?)

  2. I don’t feel guilty about exercising my privilege to fly. I am supporting my airport: ATC gets to log a departure and landing, perhaps more if I bounce, which is not unheard of. The local FBO gets some $$ to put gas in my airplane, which helps to keep their great line people employed if not full time then at least part time. My airport gets a (small!) flowage fee. My home airport is obligated to remain open irrespective of current circumstances! If I talk to Approach, then those folks get points for handling my flight. The selfish notes are that I maintain a bit of proficiency, and my engine stays happy via its use.

    I do not feel bad about that tradeoff.

    I understand if other pilots’ calculus might be different.

    Best regards to all!