Top Letters And Comments, November 22, 2019


Mooney’s Last Act?

At an average equipped sale price of $850,000 per aircraft, selling 30 airplanes per year to break even, would result in $25.5 million dollars in annual sales. An infusion of $150 million would take 6 years to pay back…and at zero investment profit for the sale of 180 Mooneys. Besides, six years of GA aircraft production producing a total 180 Mooney airplanes would require the next six years for the US and global economy at the very least remain the same. Any country, including the US, can be one election away from economic disaster. The reality has proven the total customer demand for Mooney aircraft has been only 18 airplanes in the last two years bridging pre-tariff and post tariff US economies. How are these mathematics attractive to any investor Chinese or otherwise?

To say a Mooney is hard to work on is an understatement. However, which high performance airplane from P, C, CI, or B are significantly easier? It’s an automatic that to fly high and go fast will equate to a real pain in the proverbial “keester” to maintain. Especially since we want all the latest gizmos and big inch engines to be installed on these 25-70-year-old designs.

There is a cottage industry supporting the continuing maintenance of Mooneys just like the Bonanza, 210, Saratoga, and Cirrus type airplanes. Those manufacturers who wake up and decide to support those type specific, cottage industries, who have demonstrated a desire and ability to provide solutions on these hard to work on airplanes, with quality attractively priced, readily available parts, can be profitable.

The printer industry has proven that there is no to limited profit to be made in the sale of printers…but a lot of profit in providing print cartridges supporting them. Airplanes are no different. All of these airplanes are old enough, that type specific maintenance knowledge is very well known defining accurately what breaks most often and when.

There are 10,000 reasons for a well-run Mooney to remain in business, if they have clear objective [and are] willing to be more than simply an airplane manufacturer.

Jim H.

Mooney went out of business because it was run as an airplane manufacturer first, a profitable company second. To say Cirrus put Mooney’s back against the wall gives Cirrus too much credit. Cirrus sold no-fault safety with a parachute, backed up by robust marketing of a 21st century airplane. Mooney relied on “proven” airplane technology. The Chinese owners could turn Mooney around by selling to today’s pilots, not yesterday’s Mooney owners. They aren’t going to push Cirrus out of the market; Cessna couldn’t do that either. But if they sell flying instead of airplanes, they’ll be on the right track.

Richard H.

Qantas Completes Second Project Sunrise Research Flight

Somehow it seems appropriate that Qantas is setting up this service. After all, it still holds the record for the longest elapsed-time regularly-scheduled airline flight. From 1943 to 1945 for its “Kangaroo” service, it ran PBYs on regularly scheduled nonstop flights between western Australia and what is now Siri Lanka. Depending on winds, the flights lasted between 27 and 33 hours (yes, they really were nonstop flights – PBYs were camels). Passengers received a “Double Sunrise” certificate at the end each flight.

The current lightweights whining about a 19-hour flight in a quiet, pressurized, cushioned seat and hot meal luxury are pikers compared to those who rode in the noisy fuselage of a PBY for 33 hours. Oh, yeah, the flight was scheduled to pass through Japanese-controlled airspace at night to minimize the risk that they would be shot down-as an added attraction the passengers got to worry about being intercepted by enemy aircraft.

Rick D.

I’m not convinced that a reduction of a few hours is really that much of an advantage. Granted, it’s a few hours less that one is stuck inside the metal tube, but what really takes it out of you on that flight is being unable to sleep.

Keep the stopover, and find a way to give passengers a lie-flat bed. After all, it’s not as if the volume of a passenger increases when they do that, so it shouldn’t really be necessary to charge more.

Or is that the point? Economy class passengers must remain uncomfortable to ensure business class gets filled?

Sylvia E.

Poll: What Should the NTSB and the FAA Do About Rising Fatal Accident Rates?

  • Don’t chase the needle. Knee jerk regulation is almost always counterproductive. If good data analysis actually shows an increase in fatal accidents due to deficiencies in pilot training, the answer is to clearly identify them first.
  • Make the FAASTeam seminars & safety events a priority again.
  • Ascertain what the problem area is and re-educate the pilot population if necessary.
  • Focus more on pilot decisions. bad decisions kill more pilots than marginal skills!
  • Stop investigating accidents from their desk’s. GO to the scene. Especially NTSB!!
  • Monitor data and use multiyear trends to adjust training and/or mechanical issues only AFTER confirming there is a bona fide deficient item to be addressed. Not “knee jerk” responses. Trust the processes currently in place.
  • Do their job, investigate and recommend.
  • I think it is a sign of the economy. More people have money to fly more, despite being rusty.
  • Analyze the data first, then take appropriate action.
  • Improve ATC and collision avoidance tech.
  • CFIT prevention (e.g. Tenerife B747, LFGB A320, 1. Improve aircraft and avionics procedures simulation training. 2. Reduce flight simulation training. 3. Work outside – inside training versus inside – outside training. 4. Mental picture versus mental image training, e.g. Dead-reckoning training versus iPad (id) lockup training. 5. Reduction of growing bureaucratism in procedures training.
  • Sad to say, but a goodly number of newer pilots do not have a satisfactfory knowledge of “AERODYNAMICS”!!
  • If they do ANYTHING, it will probably be wrong.
  • Get back in the business of promoting aviation and pilot training. All they want to do now is find a reason to violate.
  • It depends on why there is a spike.
  • Require a formal SMS program similar to CFR Part 5.
  • Figure out the underlying reasons and develop a program to specifically address it.
  • How about ANALYZE THE DATA and THEN let’s see what to do?
  • Investigate the cause.
  • Not a thing; wait for an evaluation of the data!
  • Pay more attention to Alaska, which is mostly responsible for the spike.
  • Require Upset Prevention & Recovery Training for all commercial pilots.
  • Stop allowing people to fly airplanes!

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