AVmail: October 20, 2003

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Reader mail this week about flying the Hurricane, ATC privatization, Yaeger's incident and more.

Huricane Flight

Great information about flying the Hurricane (Pelican's Perch, Sept. 14 and Oct. 12). I am an old Marine F4U driver -- WWII & Korea -- we thought we had some problems with that plane, but ... !

I am the historian for the original VMF 312, formed June 1, 1943. A young fellow made us a Web site.

M.O. Chance

NATCA/Air Traffic Controllers and Privatization

As an FAA employee, and part of the Airway Facilities (AF) branch of the Air Traffic Services Division of the FAA, I feel that you need to know there is much more to this than most believe (NewsWire, Oct. 13).

First off, Air Traffic Controllers (AT) are a critical part of the system that provides the safest control system in the world. But without the highly qualified and dedicated technical workforce in AF, the controllers would be seriously challenged to be able to provide the quality of coverage of which they are currently capable.

In AF, we maintain and certify that all systems that the controllers use are operating at the highest capabilities, and well within established standards. We do this 24 hours daily, 365 days a year. We provide top quality services, even on holidays, at night, or whenever.

If the Air Traffic Services system were to be privatized, or even if one of the two main parts are, services would decrease significantly. Delays would increase significantly. Service would be much more difficult to provide the way it is today.

Since some of the equipment manufacturers would be bidding on the contracts, full technical details of systems would no longer be provided by companies, being as proprietary as they are. This would decrease the levels of knowledge the contractor could be capable of.

Then, if contractors would be able to provide the response times and quantities AF currently provides, costs would skyrocket. Currently, contractors are not required to respond the way AF specialists do, because they usually will not respond at times that AT requires most, which is most promptly. Most often, to meet the requirements for air safety, they need systems to be repaired, figuratively, five minutes before they failed. AF always strives to meet that. Contractors would never even give that any kind of consideration at all.

This is why no part of the Air Traffic Services division can be successfully contracted. Not the Air Traffic Controllers, and not the Airway Transportations Systems Specialists in AF. Air travel would be seriously impacted -- in safety and financially -- by privatization.

Michael R. Snyder

Geography Lesson

When you identify Malaysia as being in the South Pacific (NewsWire Oct. 13), you are badly off on your navigation. It is located between the South China Sea and the Andaman Sea, and hard by the Strait of Malacca. The South Seas lie a thousand miles away. I presume your aviation-related intelligence is more thoroughly researched, and I find your weekly diatribes interesting and informative. Sadly, I doubt whether one in 10 of today's American scholars would know the difference, but accuracy, accuracy, accuracy ...

C.J. Walkerf

AVweb Responds:

And accuracy is what we always strive for. Appears we fell about 1,000 miles short of the mark on this one. Thanks for correcting us and for using AVweb.

Russ Niles
AVweb Writer

FAA and Joe Brinnell

I was interested in your news entitled, "FAA Defends Itself in Brinnell Case" (NewsWire, Oct. 16), as my son was one of two pilots to whom Mr. Brinnell administered flight tests allegedly without authorization. Of course there is a long story behind that accusation, but I can assure you it was false. My son is now an ATP flying professionally, but never got his MEI rating. He keeps the original temporary MEI certificate in his billfold as a reminder that petty bureaucrats can wield large clubs.

With regard to the remark that "... the FAA changed the job titles of the two [inspectors] but has not publicly released their names ..." one might conclude this was done as a disciplinary measure. At least one of the two was, instead, promoted! The best defense is a strong offense, they say, and I find that promotion strongly offensive.

I always enjoy the AVweb NewsWire. Keep up the good work!

W.B. "John" Johnson

Narita Airport Fees

In your article, "Airlines Protest Toronto's Rising Fees" (NewsWire, Oct. 13), Narita Airport's landing charge is quoted as $16,000. This is in error. The correct landing charge at Narita for B747-400 with a maximum takeoff weight of 395 tons is Japanese Yen 948,000, which is $8,595 by applying Dollar/Yen exchange rate on Oct. 10.

Aki Iki
Executive Adviser to the President
Narita Airport Authority

Chuck Yaeger's Incident

Russ Niles recent report on Chuck's accident (incident) (NewsWire, Oct. 6) omitted one important factor: He was flying a T-6. As anyone who has ever flown a T-6 knows, it is impossible to land a T-6 without significant embarassment.

Dick Wolff