Top Letters And Comments, November 26, 2021

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Aviation Democratization Kinda Gives Me A Headache

Very well written. Having learned to fly in the 70’s I was spoiled with ramps chocked full of brand-new Cessna, Pipers, and Grumman “personal fighters.” Today on the ramps are the ragged remnants of that glory age of making personal flying machines.

Honestly, if you can’t even succeed these days making simple airplanes like we use to be knee deep in back in the 70’s then HOW will you make expensive complex designs with exotic materials cheap enough for working families?

Arthur J Foyt

Imagine a major city’s rush hour traffic, Now imagine all of those cars as UMVs each flying point to point. Our air space and air traffic systems could not handle it. The time saved by flying would be wasted waiting for a clearance. Then there would be the noise and “not in my neighborhood” complaints.

Davis Newman

These urban mobility in the skies plans could work, but probably not with democratic votes.

What is envisaged for Charles de Gaulle/Paris, in time for the next Olympics, no less, are “lanes in the sky” where they take off from an already almost decided site at the airport (not far from the TGV and regional train stations) and follow fairly low, very strict corridors, and then land somewhere in or near Paris — the only heliport in Paris is in the process of being shut after nearby residents won many court cases — so it will not be there.

And then fly back to CDG, using another, widely separated lane. Present proposal is a Km to the left and right of the motorway, but that might change as there are an awful lot of people who live and work there, and apart from the noise, hate the idea of people in aircraft looking down on them.

The only way it will happen is through regional and national decrees — not votes in parliament.

France, bless it, has a decree-based system, alongside the parliamentary law system — decrees get bundled up, sometimes years after being introduced and are voted on by parliament and if parliament rejects them the government falls, parliament dissolved and they all have to go campaigning, which is a hell of a bother.

Ask the people and it will never get done.

John Patson

Why Light Sport Airplanes Suffer So Many Crashes

As an ex-LSA owner, I totally agree with the points in PB’s video and here is my tale.

When I bought my LSA, a major brand I am not going to mention, I had owned a Grumman Tiger for some time but wanted something newer with a glass panel, hopefully lower total operating costs, and something medical-proof as I wasn’t getting any younger.

I flew up (commercial) to the factory, got the 3 hours or so of factory training and hired a local CFI from a school that used this model LSA as their primary trainer for the roughly 900-mile flight home to get yet more training. During the entire flight, the 3-axis autopilot (the Tiger only had a wing leveler, this is great I thought) was turned on for a couple of minutes to make sure it worked, but other than that it was hand flying with several conservative fuel stops.

After I got the airplane home, I hired another local CFI with LOTS of time in light airplanes like the Cub as there were no LSA CFIs to be found to get yet more dual.

Up to this point the LSA had been a delight to fly. The control forces were slightly, but not significantly, lighter than the Tiger, the visibility was great, the dual MFDs simply wonderful, and it just sipped gas.

Then the season changed…

Much of the year at my home airport there are lots of gusty crosswinds which, due to the geography of the place, are constantly changing direction. These had never been a pucker factor in any other airplane, not the 172s I trained in, any of the Pipers I got checked out in, and certainly not in the Tiger which I often set down on the left main gear first with the nose on the center line.

The LSA was a different story. I often felt I was riding a leaf being taken where the winds desired and no amount of dancing on the rudder pedals could maintain anything near a stabilized approach. I just need more practice I told myself.

My last flight in the LSA was one gusty morning practice session where it took three go arounds before I could get the airplane on the ground, within the limits of the runway, with something near the correct airspeed.

At that point I put the LSA up for sale and found and older 182, which at least had a GPS.

Perhaps with enough practice I could have gotten to the point where flying the LSA was at least not scary, but as I only fly because it is fun and flying the LSA on anything but a calm day was a lot more like work then fun, I’ll leave those airplanes to someone else.

Jim Pennino

Poll: Do You Think Joby-Style Urban Air Mobility Will Happen?

  • Not as quickly as investors hope. Airspace below about 750 feet AGL is subject to state laws concerning nuisance and trespass; Feds do not have exclusive jurisdiction. Sidestepping these state laws would trigger the Constitution’s “takings” clause and may exceed the Federal jurisdiction’s constitutional authority. This means that operations in this very low altitude (VLA) airspace will be subject to both legitimate complaints by surface dwellers and to NIMBYism. These sources of resistance cannot be swept away in our legal system. Operations above VLA airspace must comply with all NAS and certification requirements. Neither option can be implemented, it seems to me, on the timelines and at the scale proclaimed by UAS marketing pieces.
  • Yes. It’s inevitable. But it will not happen first in the U.S.
  • It might happen on a tiny scale, but the hazard of spinning rotors in public places means that very quickly these devices will be consigned to “droneports,” not sidewalks. Cue in all of the infrastructure problems of urban airports and heliports. In the meantime, the lawyers will be licking their chops.
  • Too complicated to integrate into a noise sensitive environment and complex city structure.
  • It’s hard to know. I do believe costs will make it prohibitive and energy requirements are relatively severe.
  • Likely but it’s unlikely to be a revolution, probably more an evolution.
  • Helicopters already exist. They have their limited uses and business cases. This UAM stuff will be a subset of the helicopter market.
  • I give it about a half-dozen fatalities before the public shuns it and the operators go bankrupt. At which time I will cheer. (Not the fatalities, though.)
  • “WISHING” won’t make it so. We watched the Jetsons—it didn’t happen. Even if the vehicle can be certificated and built—there isn’t enough real estate and ATC ability for “mass” aerial transit.
  • Someday perhaps.
  • I don’t see why not.
  • It looks simpler than it is in reality. It will need to be regulated, and with all the low-level (uncharted) infrastructures, safety will be an issue.
  • If they get to the stage where they actually have some vehicles in the air in their attempts to prove they were right all along, they supply one more reason to disconnect from the myth that is “urbanism.”
  • What could possibly go wrong with thousands and thousands more aircraft flitting around in already crowded airspace?
  • I hope not!

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