AVmail: April 12, 2004

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Reader mail this week about Sport Pilot, shooting at crop dusters, provocative Questions of the Week and more.

Sport Pilot

As a conscientious pilot who always self-certifies myself before taking the controls and who has had a recent biennial flight review, I will be able to fly with the Sport Pilot License. Those of us who love aviation would not intentionally do anything to give it a bad name.

Name withheld by request

Responding to the letter from Mr. George Sears (AVmail, Apr. 5):

Many aviation enthusiasts in this country share your sentiment. However, all things in life are relative. Private aviation in Europe and Asia fare much worse than here in the U.S. Europeans are facing more restrictive regulations, the price of avgas is sky high in Europe, and in Asia, private aviation is almost non-existent. What's really needed is for general aviation to be much safer and much easier to use, thereby attracting a larger following, hence more political clout to obtain favorable legislation. With large volume production will come higher quality at more affordable prices. Do not give up your dream, but instead shift your attention toward making general aviation much safer and easier to use, and that is my dream.

Roger Pham

Meigs Flap

The news about Meigs, Chicago, Mayor Daly, and the state of Illinois (NewsWire, Apr. 5) made me think how sad it is that the only transport-category airframe maker left in the U.S. is located in Chicago, much less Illinois. Looks to me like the state of Illinois and Chicago don't appreciate the investment that aviation has made in them.

Steve Schroeder

Crop-Duster Shooting is a Felony

The recent AVflash article entitled "Race Fan Shoots 'Annoying' Crop-Duster" (NewsWire, Apr. 5) may have led readers to believe that the agriculture aviation industry is "annoying" and a nuisance to the public. The article missed the main focus of the story: A felony was committed.

The National Agricultural Aviation Association (NAAA) is concerned that the headline is disrespectful to the agriculture aviation industry. The headline creates a negative connotation to an industry that provides an invaluable service to American agriculture. In your article, readers focus on the headline that says the agriculture aviation industry is "annoying" and a nuisance to the public.

The article failed to point out the damaging repercussion that could have taken place. Wayne Slaughter's plane could have crashed into a home or he could have been killed. If Anthony Gene Moore had shot at a passenger aircraft, he would have been jailed for a lifetime, not six months.

AVweb is a good source of information for general aviation and in the future, NAAA looks forward to reading headlines, articles and pictures that focus on the positive images of agriculture aviation. Aerial application is an important component in the production of food and fiber in the United States, as well as an important means of fighting forest and brush fires and providing public health spraying services.

Andrew D. Moore
Executive Director
National Agricultural Aviation Association

AVweb Replies

Far from trivializing the shooting incident, our intent with the headline and the structure of the story was to illustrate just how bizarre the gunman's actions were. As for not detailing the possible result of such actions, I think our readership understands quite well the possible consequences of shooting a rifle at an airplane -- any airplane.

Russ Niles

Question of the Week: Dangerous Aircraft

Why didn't you include military aircraft in your list of potential terrorist risks (Question of the Week, Apr. 7)?

Is the risk of death from a 65-hp, 800-lb airplane honestly more likely than terrorists stealing a squadron of F15s and using them for nefarious purposes?

I hope we see new regulations reducing the risk of deadly kite attack soon. This terror from the skies must be dealt with!

Greg Marshall

I would surmise there are members of this forum who would enjoy knowing the thoughts of many regarding use of any type aircraft as an attack vehicle. I believe the question is out of line and the results should not be published in any form. Why give ideas to anyone willing to give up their own life to end the life of others. As an aircraft owner and former military pilot, I find this question to be very poor judgment and taste on the part of AVweb staffer's.

Larry A. Similey

Navy Wants A Corsair?

One would think that the Navy would have more to do than harass a civilian who legally salvaged junk from a swamp (NewsWire, Apr. 8). If the Navy wanted this airframe, they should have gone after it years ago. Lex needs to fight them with all he has. If it were me and the Navy "works" the legal system to beat this individual down, this airplane would never see the light of day. There is principle working here that exceeds the value to the aircraft. It would be a cold day in h--- before I would let the Navy get close to "my" airplane.

Dale Carlson

Central Texas Airport Search

I caught the blurb in the AVweb newsletter (NewsWire, Apr. 8) regarding the city of Taylor voting against their airport being expanded to become the new Central Texas GA Airport. I was curious as to why, so I wrote to the city council. I received several replies, including one from Councilman John McDonald referring me to an online news article.

Reading the article gives me the impression that the so-called "New Central Texas GA Airport Search" is really just a political smokescreen with no substance (i.e., money) behind it. Apparently neither the state of Texas nor the federal government has actually committed any funds to the project.

On the one hand I am pleased to learn that the city of Taylor supports general aviation and their existing airport, but they just don't want to be part of an ill-conceived state and federal government boondoggle.

On the other hand, I am disappointed to learn that the plan for a new Central Texas GA Airport has so little substance to it.

David Hill