AVmail: May 23, 2005

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Reader mail this week about Chicago's lack of fighter protection, a snake strike, and answers to the question, ''The D.C. Insursion: Who deserves more blame?''

Chicago Tribulations

It's too funny that Mayor Daley would lament how his city doesn't have any jets (NewsWire, May 16). He's the one who literally kicked both the Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard out of his city in the middle 1990s.

I guess he doesn't consider the F-16s in Madison, Wisc., close enough to help him.

He's reaping what he sowed by not supporting the military while he still had it.

Larry Gamble

Richard Daley has declared himself an enemy of general aviation. We need to respond with a demonstration of our deep affection for him. No private aircraft carrying Daley or a high-ranking member of his administration should ever receive fuel or service at a U.S. airport. "What's that, Mr. Mayor? You're out of fuel? How ironic. So are we. Perhaps you'll want to pull the wings off your plane and tow it back to Chicago."

GA pilots should also avoid any unnecessary trips to Chicago, and Boeing should pack up and move back to Washington State, where the company belongs.

Jerry DiCairano

Snake Strike

I read your article about flying snakes with interest (NewsWire, May 16). And I know the answer to everyone's subsequent question: Yes it's happened -- a mid-air snake-strike!

In one of the weirdest encounters I've ever heard of in aviation, a colleague of mine suffered a snake-strike flying a BAe-146 on final approach into Charles de Gaulle [Paris, France]. In this case, however, the hapless reptile wasn't truly flying itself; a heron had picked it up and made a flight path conflicting with the aircraft. At the last minute it panicked, turned away and dropped the snake, which struck the forward, left-hand side of the fuselage before being ingested through the #2 engine (this being deduced by the presence of the remains of the animal on the fuselage).

Consequently, the crew was forced to make a snake-strike report! And they say stranger stuff happens at sea.

Love reading AVflash.

Graham Salmons

Aileron Tabs

Regarding the item on aileron tabs (NewsWire, May 16), I speak under correction, but I think the designation "Bosbok" was limited to the AM-3CM assembled by the Atlas Aircraft Corp. in South Africa. I know that there are a number of these in private hands, having been sold off by the SAAF. The Italian-assembled versions were known as AL-60B-1 and -2, and some were sold to Lesotho, which did not suffer sanctions. The Rhodesian Air Force also purchased some in 1967, and named them "Trojan."

The South African Bosboks eventually led to the development of the locally manufactured Kudu, which used the same wings as the Bosbok, but a larger fuselage with a sliding door for dropping paratroops. The first AL-60C-4M prototype, ZS-IZF flew in 1974 and, after receiving type approval, as the C-4M Kudu. They, too, were sold off, and many still fly in South Africa in private ownership.

Tim J. Carter

D.C. Incursion and Who To Blame

The part I can't figure out is how any rated pilot could not know about the Class B airspace surrounding D.C. (NewsWire, May 16). Not to mention the ADIZ and FRZ ... even before 9/11, you couldn't fly over D.C. at low altitude without a clearance. The inner ring of the Class B goes to the surface. And the prohibited area over the Mall and the White House has been on the charts for a long, long time.

Martin Gomez

I find it beyond ironic that here in the U.S. a pilot who accidentally flies a Spam can within miles of the Vice President winds up face down in the dirt with a knee in his back; yet the President went to Russia and stood next to Putin while dozens of ex-Soviet warplanes thundered directly overhead. What better time to announce a new regime in Russia than to erase that review stand with the Premier and all his top generals, and also take out the President of the U.S. as collateral damage. Then to top it off Bush goes to Georgia where the assassination plan only failed because the assassin had a weak throwing arm and a defective hand grenade.

Dr. Dennis O'Connor

In the Question of the Week, I do believe that your answer to the D.C. incursion -- "Who deserves more blame?" -- should be "both" (QOTW, May 18).

The first answer: We have responsibilities as pilots, and being a pilot involves more than knowing how to fly a plane. That "pilot" blew it.

The second answer: The government has long lost whatever sense it had, and responsibility for any panic and lost business caused by that flight rests with the powers that be. (Evacuated for a 150? Wouldn't they have been safer inside the buildings?) It shows that the government did not fully evaluate the threat and allowed panic to spread to the highest levels of our government, giving success for the terrorists and possibly damaging general aviation as we know it forever.

No mention that the pilots are Americans and most likely are just as patriotic as you and me, and will now be paying for their blunder in many ways for the rest of their lives.

This whole fiasco makes me think of Chicken Little.

Joe Aldendifer

Whether the government overreacted isn't even an issue here. Neither is the presence of the ADIZ or whether it's necessary. The ADIZ is there, all pilots should know about it by now, especially those that live near it, and they must avoid it.

FAR Parts 91.3 and 91.103 very clearly set out the pilot-in-command's responsibilities. The two individuals involved in this incident are responsible for violating the ADIZ. It's my feeling they should have their certificates revoked, permanently. Perhaps then the minority of pilots who make life difficult for the rest of us by selectively ignoring the rules will get the message that the FARs also apply to them.

Jack Ellis

I think the Laser Visual Warning System is great, but I hope they don't actually think it will prevent ignorant pilots from flying into D.C. (NewsWire, May 19).

The times that it will be helpful are those times like the King Air on it's way to Reagan's funeral. The pilot would have queried ATC about the warning, wondering why they (on a flight plan, under radar surveillance, talking to Approach) would be targeted.

I fully suspect that had the system been in place for the latest Cessna 150, the pilot would have said, "Hey, what's that light on the ground? Let's go check it out," and proceeded direct to the source. The pilot had not studied the TFR area well enough to know how to avoid it. It's doubtful that he would have read anything about the new VWS. If you don't know what it means, it won't do any good.

Doug Bosworth

I really enjoy the news from America; it makes me appreciate our flying in New Zealand. I chatted to a couple from your neck of the woods a couple of weeks ago -- they hail from Washington and showed me a chart of their area. It would cramp my style of flying somewhat. You have a bureaucracy there that imagines your president is close to god. I think that he is somewhat less so. They told me that whenever he pops across to his ranch, the area is made unavailable to all other flights.

You need to tell these sycophants to stop pandering to his ego, stop treating this servant of the people as some kind of special individual, and basically desist from making life extremely difficult for the folks who pay his salary (and theirs) to go about their business without all the nonsense attached to your president. So then, my vote is with the poor bastards trying to fly 'round the state-inflicted minefields you have allowed these parasites to erect. We fight governments constantly no matter which country we live in. I just wish they would all disappear and we could get on with our lives without the constant barrage of inane crap associated with these halfwits.

Charles Russell

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