Top Letters And Comments, September 16, 2022


A Bucketful Of Blues

Flying is an endeavor that is remarkably good at reminding you that you are not quite the Sky God you secretly imagine yourself to be.

What I want to know is why are those perfect landings, the ones where you can barely feel the wheels spin up, only occur when there are no witnesses…

David G.

John’s Law states that the severity and degree of stupidity of an event is directly proportional to the quantity of observers of said event. (I made that up – mostly from years of experience). Had no one been there to witness the bucket lid fail, it would have most likely supported him (i.e. if a tree falls in the woods, and no one is there to hear it…). And as for motorcycles, I relate a recent event that my son witnessed first-hand. He pulled into a parking spot, along with my just-4-year-old grandson, at a convenience store. Moments later, a beautiful BMW bike pulled in beside him and the rider proceeded to dump the thing onto the pavement. Fortunately, only his pride was hurt, and it took both adults to right the beast. As the rider collected his thoughts (and what little remaining pride that existed), my grandson announced boldly, “You are supposed to put your feet down first!”

John B.

It has been said that “The basis of all humor is the misfortunes of others”–and you’ve certainly proved that adage!

Love the alliteration and obscure references–causes one to stop and consider the reference, and to re-read the passage–resulting in MULTIPLE LAUGHS.


Jim H.

Non-Published Approaches

Shortly after I’d checked out on radar at a joint-use facility, I was scheduled to work my first mid by myself. As I was relieving the second-shift controller, he was vectoring a pilot to the ILS approach for the second time on a foggy night that was getting worse. As soon as the relief briefing was complete, the pilot had a hard time staying on the localizer. I offered and the pilot accepted an ASR approach, and between my guidance and the controller I was relieving, who went to the radar room and expanded the scope for fine guidance while I watched the entire airspace on the D-Brite, we were able to get him safely on the ground. More than once in my 24 years there, we were able to save pilots with an ASR, so it’s a good tool to have.

Dave S.

Poll: Should The FAA And NTSB Do More About High-Profile Flightseeing Accidents?

  • I have to go along with “what exactly.” WHAT EXACTLY would the FAA do that isn’t already in the FARs? Weather minimums? More pilot training? The flightseeing industry is already governed by the very same FARs as General Aviation pilots, PLUS the strictures of air taxi and commercial operations. Add to that the unique nature of the locations where flightseeing happens (sea level vs. mountains–urban vs. desert–it’s pretty hard to do a “one size fits all.”
  • “High Profile” is subjective. We have plenty of current regulations, both for sightseeing operations and flight in general that cover this type of flying currently. If companies of pilots violate the rules, then deal with them individually. Painting with a broad brush leads to over-regulation.
  • FAA should require flightseeing operations to meet a minimum standard of pilot experience and maintenance oversight.
  • You cannot legislate away human error or overconfidence.
  • No! Government do more??? What does “High-Profile” have to do with safety? Treat them all the same. Just because the press gets all over it doesn’t change what it is or how its handled.
  • Accidents should get equal treatment regardless of “profile.”
  • Don’t expect a “one-size-fits-all” fix. Too many variables, some of which are the a byproduct of previous government “touching.”
  • Why are high-profile accidents any more worthy of investigation than “normal” accidents?
  • After the debacle of the infamous “Air Tour Rule” introduced 15 or so years ago, I’m not convinced that the FAA is competent to regulate sightseeing flights without just banning them altogether.
  • No. Why? Because they are “high profile”? Serious problems sure, but simply because it became news, no.
  • Do what they do for every mishap, but maybe preliminary faster.
  • We don’t need any more regs. Don’t need to look further than Gillespie, Kobe Bryant, Truckee to know regs and common sense don’t work. Passenger Resource Management (PRM). Train the pax. More available on this for the asking.
  • Hate to say it, but more governmental control equals more safety.
  • Don’t we have enough “big brother” already?

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  1. Sounds like people are slowly beginning to realize… they don’t really matter to ‘the government’… until you make it matter. Politicians don’t really care if you die flying a plane yourself… anymore than they would care if you crash a car.
    I kind of thought AOPA or some other pilot organization would privately investigate accidents and put out Pilot Directives, like Airworthiness Directives.
    In private aviation… the government really isn’t here to help.

  2. If more government control meant more safety, then authoritarian countries would have safer airlines, would they not?

    Has the government had more control of automobile or light aircraft innovation? Which area has had more safety innovations?

    Government does best when it steps in to correct situations where the incentives have clearly led to poor choices. Also, to correct monopolies and oligopolies from strangling innovation. Government needs restraint otherwise. It needs a first do no harm approach.

    What we have achieved is consolidation of suppliers driven by over regulation and bad rules often written to please the tort attorneys.

  3. The Nine-o-Nine “accident” is typical of flightseeing hazards. The pilot who was also the maintenance chief and the safety-officer made all the decisions that resulted in the deaths.
    These old flying-museum warbirds became too-expensive for national-governments to maintain…so private individuals (sometimes under the guise of private-non-profit-museums are actually operated as carnival rides to an unsuspecting public using short-cuts and alterations to aircraft which never met civilian safety and handling standards even when they were New!
    If they are to be marketed for thrill-rides to the public…they should meet the same maintenance and pilot training standards of commercial operators.