AVmail: April 5, 2004

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Reader mail this week about Sport Pilot delays, avian warning systems, airshows and more.

Sport Pilot Delays? Just Forget It ...

I guess there's been another delay in Sport Pilot (NewsWire, Mar. 29). It started as the UL rules. People wanted to do more. They wanted an aviation for the middle class. The FAA didn't. Essentially, when the FAA could wrap Sport Aviation in rules that would preserve the jobs at the FSDO, they were willing to go along (10 years later, after many had given up, and abandoned dreams and investments). That's OK. You have to crush a lot of the little dreams of average people to make the big dreams of a Dennis Kozlowski or a Phil Boyer.

It's not worth hanging on to, for me. The government is not on my side. The effort should be put into taking something away from the people who are now the takers. Sometimes the fight is more important than any particular outcome.

The politicians argue about jobs. Well, you can't change regs, because the bureaucrats might lose something. You can't change things where the unions own some piece of this country, like choice slots into public airports. You can't change things where the lawyers want their cut of the action. You can't build an airport or certify a simple airplane people could fly for fun. You have to build one, and worship at the altar of the Tin Gods in Osh.

You want jobs? Set people free to do things. Accept that economic vitality requires a commitment to something other than the status quo. Screw the FAA and OMB, the EAA and the AOPA -- people that have theirs, and ain't gonna give you none. Screw a process that takes 10 years to write something that could have been done on the back of an envelope in an afternoon. With the TV on.

If people take 10 years of your life, and this is what they give you, you don't want it.

George Sears

Concorde is a Supercruiser, Too

AVweb wrote (NewsWire, Mar. 11):

The Raptor will be the world's first stealth air-to-air fighter, and the first production aircraft with the ability to "supercruise" --flying at supersonic speeds without the use of afterburners.

While the 1969 Concorde is not really stealthy (for that it is just too beautiful), it was actually the first production aircraft able to supercruise, at Mach 2. And supercruise it did, accumulating more supersonic flight hours than all the world's military aircraft together (including the SR-71A). Afterburners were only used for takeoff as well as climb/acceleration at altitude. When those afterburners kicked in at 30,000 ft and Mach 0.98 (a bit faster already than all "modern" jets), and the altimeter started turning like on a V35B in the death spiral (only in the other direction), while the airplane was simultaneously breaking the sound barrier, all this while sipping a glass of champagne ...

No wonder there is a shortage of test pilots for the Raptor, where the only thing you can sip under these flight conditions is oxygen! Guess a Raptor costs nowadays about the same as a Concorde -- talk about new austerity!

Yes, and it was engineered before the advent of the computer bug ...

Robert Ziegler

Avian Warning Systems Available Now

I read with interest the article on the Avian Research Lab's the automated radar system for bird detection that they are "working on" (NewsWire, Mar. 25). My company, DeTect, Inc. of Panama City, Fla., has a full-production system that does not have the limitations that Mr. Grimm cites for his system, and can provide real-time data direct to the cockpit. In fact, we recently were hired by the U.S. Air Force to replace Mr. Grimm's system with our MERLIN system and the unit is currently in use at Seymour-Johnson AFB for bird-strike avoidance for military training on the DARE county range.

Gary Andrews
General Manager, DeTect, Inc.

Your FAA at Work?

And I thought you guys had lost your sense of humor! This one is a great knee-slapper. Marion Blakey says, "We needed someone who could balance a $14 billion checkbook, and we found him," (NewsWire, Mar. 29). This guy worked where before? Pan Am, TWA, and Tower? All belly up in the sun, with only TWA even fit for consumption by the vultures. Anybody still wonder why nothing gets done at FAA, when this is the financial guru they chose?

Michael Muetzel

Jet Teams and Your Money

Thanks to the show director of the Florida International Airshow for his comments to NBC2 News, as if those of us -- the "privileged few" who love aviation -- need to give the public more reason to resent us (NewsWire, Mar. 29). Was fuel consumption the most outstanding feature of the show? You can be sure those even-handed TV producers who love the military will put just the right spin on that story. And why didn't the Florida Airshow pay for the fuel? The Cleveland National Air Show (performing since 1929) pays for the fuel, lodging, transportation, etc., for the jet teams, and all the other military performers and support teams that appear in Cleveland on Labor Day weekend each year. We raise the money by sponsorships and admissions.

Ted Gullia

More Than Four Airshows

There are excellent flyins to attend other than just Sun 'n Fun, Oshkosh and EAA events. Neglected were the Mid-Atlantic Flyin (MAF) at Lumberton, N.C. (May 14-16) and 34th Annual Thomasville, Ga. (TVI -- Oct 8-10).

MAF is organized by original Sun 'n Fun managers, who expect to rival SnF in several years.

TVI has had over 500 planes attend in past years.

I should also mention the 33rd Annual Cracker Flyin for antiques at Gainesville, Ga. (GVL, July 9-11).

In your poll, you did not allow much choice for the aviator (Question of the Week, Mar. 31).

Steve McDonald

AVweb Replies

As you can see on our Events Calendar, there are dozens of airshows this year. Our poll system has the capability to deal with a limited number of choices, so we picked the biggest and also included the "not listed here" option.

Kevin Lane-Cummings
Features and AVmail Editor

Navy Lawsuit

I just read in the weekly AOPA newsletter about the U.S. Navy suing some guy because he recovered a Brewster Buffalo from the South Carolina swamps 10 years ago. They are also going after a number of museums, I suppose, because they also have recovered and restored Navy aircraft. This is B.S.! If you could find out who and where this guy is, I would sure like to contribute to his defense fund. It seems to me we as pilots, warbird lovers and citizens ought to tell the Navy to do something better with our tax dollars.

Ron Alldredge


In our recent article on the Pacific Aerospace Corp. (Newswire, Mar. 15), we incorrectly called the PAC 750 a single-engine piston airplane. It is, in fact, a turboprop, being pulled by a Pratt and Whitney PT6A-34.