AVmail: March 17, 2003

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Reader mail this week about military night flight, the Wrong Flyer, flight schools fighting and more.

Kudos to AVweb

I subscribe to AOPA and they are a very good magazine BUT, I must say that in my opinion the INTERNET'S AVIATION MAGAZINE is the BEST. BAR NONE AND 2nd TO NO-ONE. I ENJOY READING it 100%, and that means every article and issue. You're doing an excellent job.

Fred Swazy

AVweb Format

Your new format is great! Now it all fits on the screen without spilling over the edges. I used to have to scroll left and right to read it all.

Thank you, thank you!

Lee Roan

AVweb responds ...

That is part of an ongoing effort to make AVflash and AVweb online a more user-friendly service. Keep us posted on how we're doing.

Kevin Lane-Cummings
Features and AVmail Editor

Military Lights Up For GA

I'm sure you didn't intentionally mean to imply our military pilots are "playing games" while using NVGs and flying lights out in the MOAs.

They are doing deadly serious tactical training, and I hope you and your readers are savvy enough to realize that.

Both the Army and Air Force have a tremendous tactical advantage over our potential opponents by being able to fight at night -- but they can't do that unless they train under as close to real circumstances as possible.

I for one, am might happy we have people willing to train and fight our nation's battles.

Gary Dikkers
Retired Air Force fighter pilot

AVweb responds ...

You won't get any arguments from us about whether it is vital to air superiority that our armed forces can practice fighting at night. We're just jealous of those NVGs.

Kevin Lane-Cummings
Features and AVmail Editor

The Wrong Flyer

After helping avoid a similar problem with the proposed logo for this year's Society of Flight Test Engineers annual Symposium, I have noticed two major instances of substitution of a later version of Wright Brothers aircraft for the 1903 Flyer.

The EAA's logo for AirVenture 2003 has what appears to be at earliest the modified 1905 Flyer III. The canard on the 1905 airplane was twice as far ahead of the wing as the 1903 Flyer I. This is very obvious when comparing it to the photo here, which appears to be the same as the EAA's logo! It's also misleading, since the 1903 airplane never got high enough to be seen from that angle, but I'll forgive them for that. This is a very good website to check out.

The second case has been around for quite some time on cars licensed in North Carolina! I pulled out a used N.C. plate that I bought from a junk dealer and, sure enough, they got it wrong too! The relationship between the canard and the wing is not as obvious in this view as on the EAA logo, but if you look at the diagonal braces from the top of the wing to the canard supports, you find that there are two per side. The 1903 Flyer only had one diagonal per side because the canard was much closer.

It's too bad the people in those art departments are not aircraft recognition experts.

I've enjoyed AVweb for many years. Keep up the good work.

Kari Seppanen
Boeing Flight Test

AVweb responds ...

We can always count on AVweb readers to have great eyes for aviation details!

Kevin Lane-Cummings
Features and AVmail Editor

The Fight To Stay In Business

I own and operate a small school in Hot Springs, Ark. I work for a larger school in Little Rock, Ark., as an Examiner. I have dropped from four or five checkrides a week to one or two a month. Over the last three months we have seen a 30 to 45% decrease in new starts. Our fuel cost range from $2.74 to just under $3 per gallon. Insurance has reached an all-time high (each of my aircraft cost $5,200 to insure). I know of two flight operations that have closed their doors. An aero applicator school in Wynn, Ark., closed their doors due to insurance and fuel costs. An operator in North Little Rock has stopped training and rental of his aircraft due to insurance costs. I spoke with a flight operation in Hope Ark., and a spokeswoman said they just had the worst Jan. & Feb. in seven years. I'm considering either selling my operation or closing the doors. (It would be a fire sale.)

I thought I was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel but I did not realize it was the train coming at me. The future of flight training, with regards to smaller schools, is bleak. We can not compete with the state-funded schools. If General Aviation does not get a boost, it may become a hobby for only the richest people.

Bil High