AVmail: November 1, 2002

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Elise Ransdell: Wellstone Crash

I must politely disagree with Mr. Whitehead in his letter to the editor on the 28 of Oct 2002. I believe it is important to mention that Senator Wellstone was "one of the Senate's leading liberals." Anytime a well-known figure is killed in an airplane crash it certainly is important in an aviation context. An airplane wreck, especially involving a public figure, tends to propagate the general public's belief that those little planes are dangerous. That belief is dangerous to aviation as we know it. Just look at the Wall Street Journal article on charter flights in response to this accident. It suggests changes to charter flights that have no bearing on safety. Does the aviation industry know this? You bet. However corporate execs reading the Wall Street Journal probably will believe what they read. What happens if they start refusing to fly on charter jets without flight data and cockpit voice recorders? That means it will cost general aviation more to get by. At the very least the article is more bad press on aviation. Would that article have even been written and would the television media have reported on the crash so much if the plane hadn't contained "one of the Senate's leading liberals"? Bad aviation press damages the aviation industry.

Therefore I would assume stating Senator Wellstone's significance in the Senate is important. It would be just as important if he were a leading conservative. In my opinion stating the facts about who Senator Wellstone was is important to the aviation context of the report and does not suggest a political belief upheld by the AVweb staff.