Top Letters And Comments, May 28, 2021


What To Do About UFOs? Change The Name

After 47 years and 28,000 hours of flying, I’ve never had an encounter but I flew with two different airline pilots who had. One pilot was in a modern fighter during his encounter. He described to me in detail the performance and capabilities of the object, which he assured me were quite beyond anything in the known inventory. The other pilot had his encounter flying back on the tracks from Hawaii and had a long, very close look as the object joined on his wing and rotated completely around his plane, including right off the nose and directly above the cockpit. It departed abruptly at a 90° angle then joined up on the next airplane back on the track as the other plane discussed it on 123.45. These were just two random conversations over a long career flying international and chatting late at night, so I’m certain there are plenty of other stories. The fact is, no one talks about this and no one reports it because they don’t want to be labeled a loon. The report in June may be interesting.

Michael House

I remember a TV thing years ago on these phenomena. One example was a low quality (always) video of an object darting back and forth over a field. Experts agreed no known natural or man-made object could produce such motion. Eventually it was shown one man-made object could produce the effect – a white T-shirt bag (plastic shopping bag) blowing in the air currents over the field.

Are there object which appear to be flying to an observer and are unidentified to that observer? Of course. Have most of us experienced that? Sure. Are any of them visitors from another world? Don’t be a child.


Logbook Entries: Fact, Fiction Or Fantasy?

When it’s time to checkout in a celestial J-3, I want my logbooks buried with me. It’s not that I’m so worried about the FAA discovering any of my very many bad habits, but as Paul as pointed out, a logbook filled with any degree of active notation is a window to the soul of a pilot who cherishes every memory aloft.

Hidden within are all my most embarrassing secrets and ridiculously fun escapades, such as trying to loop a Taylorcraft with the engine off, long and lazy midnight formation cross-countries, being caught on top in a radio-less Luscombe as a teenager because I misunderstood the weather guy, my first landing in a hayfield or on a country gravel road, long lazy spins from altitude, the many times I’ve slept beneath the wings of my airplane in some forgotten Midwestern pasture, or sneaking up within a few hundred feet of Bill’s Cessna 150 in the middle of the night with the Pacer and turning on my landing lights to shine brightly through his back window and light up the cockpit. Maybe not worthy of the FAA’s attention, but certainly suspect or suspicious in some hallowed hall.

Yep, it’s all there, logbooks can be living proof that you had too much fun in an airplane. Be wary.

William Norlin

Engine Break-In

A few years ago, I replaced an O360 with a factory reman. First flight, I arranged for a friend to chase, watching for anything unusual, since one cannot see anything of the engine on a Lake. After thirty minutes of chase, he went back to base, and I continued at max continuous till two hours were passed. As a wrinkle, the static port was blocked, so airspeed and altitude were incorrect!

After the two hours, watching the JPI closely, landed (six hundred hours in the airplane, plus a good GPS used for reference), taxied in and did an immediate inspection and oil change. The next number of flights were all at max continuous with another oil change at ten hours, then at twenty-five. The engine has been trouble-free; great compression, and low oil consumption ever since.

Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations; keep an eye on the engine monitor and go for it!

Brian Hope

Poll: Does Virgin Galactic’s Successful Test Mean Space Tourism Will Finally Happen?

  • Eventually, yes. When eventually actually is, is only conjecture. Remember, this involves aviation. Contained within the definition of aviation is certification under the vaguely defined FAR vaguely defining the term eventually.
  • Yes with a caveat. The market for such a commercial enterprise is extremely small and just one accident will put paid to the whole idea. How many of their niche customer base would accept the risk? Most uber-rich patrons would like to live long enough to enjoy the spoils of their financial well-being!
  • Virgin Galactic would be exciting if they had done this 10 years ago. But instead they’ve been crawling along with some questionable tech for so long that they’re on the verge of being obsolete in the face of orbital tourism.
  • They are aiming for 400 flights per year with multiple vehicles. I would think that after a while they would run out of people with the kind of money it takes to ride on such a trip.
  • Yes…within 3 years.
  • For a very few…too expensive for the masses.
  • Sure. Who can tell, but fun to watch.
  • They announced it in 2006. No rides yet. Vaporware.
  • Yes, but other companies will lead the industry, so Virgin Galactic is more or less irrelevant.
  • Unfortunately this technology appears to have taken too long to develop and has been overtaken by SpaceX at least.
  • I find no value in space tourism. How about lessons? Checkout flights? Ratings in suborbital aircraft?
  • Space tourism will definitely happen, but VG won’t be a part of it.
  • Of course, why not? We have witnessed so many milestones and space tourism will be another feather on man’s cap.
  • Sure, if the FAA doesn’t get too involved.
  • Nope…will never, ever happen!
  • Like Antarctica tourism, there are nicer places to go.
  • Yes! So much more elegant than computer nerds firing “spam in a can” into space!
  • Time will tell.
  • I wish. But I worry that it won’t happen.
  • Next year.
  • Soon but not yet. In a few years yes.
  • Not the proper focus. Mars is.
  • Only for a few extremely wealthy folks, pretty much useless otherwise!
  • Within 2 years pending no government red tape.
  • Next problem will kill it.
  • Sure. But I doubt Virgin will have a part in it.
  • Only for the very wealthy.
  • Yes, after more testing.
  • No. 55 miles. Not much more than your Mustang joyride for 200+ grand.
  • Will finally start to make flights until there’s an accident.
  • Sub orbital? Why?
  • Yes, within 5 years.
  • No, but it does mean that those who don’t appreciate the earthbound opportunities can continue to dream.

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  1. Good point by Elton about wind blowing a white bag around.

    Wind varies around objects, such as barns and trees.

    Fields can have ‘dust devils’ (circular wind phenomenon).

    And I suggest that lighting might cause some phenomenon, such as by reflecting off of clouds while the source lighting is hidden from the observer. There are different types of lightning, such as sheet and ball. Relatively recently red sprouts from the top of high altitude clouds have been documented.

    (I suppose ‘moon dogs’ and ‘sun dogs’ are static enough that they won’t be though to be UAPs, even if not understood. They are the result of refraction from ice crystals in the air. My father paid attention to them out on the farm, as their existence gave a bit of knowledge to predict weather.)