Top Letters And Comments, November 25, 2022


Entry-Level Travel

One big advantage of owning vs. renting is the ability to take your time. With renting there’s the added pressure of having to return the airplane for the next renter. If weather threatens the expense of returning the plane late can push the renter into making undesireable decisions, especially if a VFR pilot.

My wife and I made a big trip in a small Cessna and got weathered out on the way home. With no need to rush we stayed overnight. The next day’s forecast showed low ceilings for the next several days, so we rented a car and drove home.

Our plane was safe at the FBO (they didn’t even charge us for the tie-down). Two weeks later I hitched a ride with another pilot to retrieve the plane.

That flexibility made it much easier to make the no-go decision.

Kirk W.

This is a VERY well written article. Thank you for publishing it. As a guy who has been “everywhere” in a 172, I find a lot of truth in these writings. I’ve been to Key West, and Seattle. I’ve been to Catalina Island, and Dayton. I’ve been to Galveston, and Oshkosh.

David B.

Good article. My first plane was a 1963 Beech Musketeer, later know as the Sundowner. It sported a 160 hp engine and huge fixed landing gear. The four-place cabin was comfortable, which was one reason it could only cruise at 100 kt, on a good day. But it had a 60 gallon fuel capacity, so it had range galore – longer than even my young bladder could stand. I flew it as far west as Utah and east to coastal South Carolina. I had a few unplanned weather stops, but not many. It was fun and inexpensive flying.

These days, whenever I talk to someone who wants to buy a first airplane, I always advise them to match their plane to their planned mission. People tend to go for a fast, sexy looking complex airplane when their usual mission can be accomplished in a much more basic, and less expensive, craft. Until you have owned a plane, you can’t really appreciate how much more expensive that complex model, with all its bells and whistles, is to own and maintain. You can always upgrade later if you find that your mission dictates a more capable plane.

John Mc.

Europe Urges Automation, FAA Stresses Stick And Rudder

Having flown C150s to B767s, I’d say shame on EASA and kudos to the FAA.

Yes, an automated large aircraft can be handled by a single pilot. But… what happens when the automation fails?

Case in point, A320 series aircraft have had multiple incidents of nose wheel steering failures. In that case (as with JetBlue’s incident years ago at LAX), not only could the gear not be retracted, the autopilot became inoperative. So, now you have an aircraft failure requiring troubleshooting, decision making and communications, but also one pilot dedicated to aircraft control.

Or, what if that single pilot has a medical incapacitation event?

Just because this can be done technically, the public at large (especially when considering transport category aircraft) deserves the additional security and safety of a 2nd crew member.

Scott G.

Single pilot airliners are coming one way or another. I’m not a fan of the idea but economics and technology are driving the industry in that direction. The aircraft will probably be controlled from ground/satellite sources with minimal pilot input except for maybe takeoff and approach/landing. It’s just a matter of time.

Joseph F. C.

I am a commercial pilot, A&P IA, and DER aircraft engineer. I work assiduously to ensure that everything on the airplanes I approve is absolutely perfect, but throughout my 60-year career, I have seen failures of just about every aircraft system. Airplanes are designed and maintained by humans, so some errors will creep in. These errors can be overcome only by another human, the trained and professional pilot. I do not often praise the FAA, but in this instance I am proud of them.

Robin H.

Poll: What Did You Think Of The Artemis 1/SLS Launch?

  • 20th century nostalgia. “Totally awesome!”
  • After all the delays, the most they could say was that it was the most powerful “operational” rocket. NASA should bow out and let the civilians do the job. Waiting for the first Starship launch!
  • Waste of time and money since Musk, Bezos, and others will do it better for a fraction of the cost.
  • 50 years ago, it would have been impressive.
  • Watching SpaceX launch ~16 missions while NASA tried to get SLS off the ground makes me think there is a better way.
  • Money spent on research is rarely wasted. Just look at the spin offs from the space program.
  • Saw the launch from some 60 miles away in Central Florida. It really did light up the clouds in the night sky.
  • Waiting for some new technology. Back in the seventies we were told tourists would be going to the moon by now. Almost zero progress. Certainly a backward step from the shuttle.
  • Awesome, but not “totally”… it wouldn’t hurt to get the cost down. Lots more to the program than the main booster.
  • NASA is supposed to be about R&D and developing new technology. With an obscene cost, the ball did not move forward here. Awesome sight ‘n sound…I watched in-person.
  • It was good to see the US space program go beyond earth orbit for the first time in half a century.
  • Politics-SLS gets all the government money without accountability, SpaceX gets little government money and accounts for all manned and supply launches. Hopefully the FAA will update launch criteria and let private companies conquer space efficiently! All government programs should require innovation over political payouts!
  • Way over schedule and budget, Moon’s already been done. Put the bucks in people to Mars.
  • Awesome but lagging behind.
  • Horrendous delays and massive cost overruns are unacceptable, the SLS program should have been canceled long ago. The only thing proven by this launch is billions of dollars can eventually make a pig fly.
  • Glad USA is still in the game but we need a more aggressive program.
  • A good thing but it took too long and was too expensive.
  • I find Space X much more interesting.
  • Stuck in the past, old politicians, old corporations protecting their piece of the pie.
  • I’m excited about the science, but throwing excellent Space Shuttle engines into the sea is kind of a drag.
  • Well, I think a lot less of it now that I read Paul’s editorial…
  • Government should get out of Elon’s way.
  • As always, it serves no purpose for the problems on Earth.
  • Why don’t we state the TRUE purpose of the flight? To launch a fleet of military satellites!!
  • Old technology in a new dress.
  • Glad to see it finally launched and did not blow up.
  • I long for the return of the times when a big space launch had a huge impact on toy production in the USA.
  • All that money and they can’t figure out how to use a GoPro?

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  1. Single pilot or UAV airliners are a preposterous notion that ain’t gonna end well for anyone.
    The europeans have never had too many good ideas. The FAA is the only entity in the world that gets it when it comes to flying aircaaft. As one FAA person involved with certification told me. The JAA is a cluster —-!

  2. Fun to go to the moon right next door… however… even the smallest movement of the moon toward or away from earth could cause catastrophic effects of earth. Earth’s climate depends on the moon to be where it is… and will change as the moon moves away. Launching rockets off the moon will change the moons placement ever so slightly. But, even the slightest change could end all life on earth.
    Best to go play on Mars.