AVmail: Oct. 31, 2005

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Reader mail this week about TFRs, photo licenses in Australia and much more.

Fathers Day TFR

Reading Ed Chromczaks response (AVmail Oct. 24) to Bill Hayes' article Fathers Day TFR prompted me to seek out and read the original article.

There was a statement in that original article that caught my attention. Bill said that the FSS disclaimer towards the presence of TFRs was intended only to "... help the FAA prove violations, not to ensure compliance." Bill Hayes article was well-written. Perhaps I'm picky, but that particular statement is not necessarily accurate.

The flight service controller's statement about "Did you have information XYZ?" was not really an "attempt by the FAA to help prove violations." It was actually more a reaction by a "Fearful Flight Service Person" seeking cover.

Cover. During this period of what can best be described as a free-for-all between the United States Secret Service (USSS), the FAA, and the flying community, the pilot and the Fearful Flight Service Person have been caught in the middle. A veritable witches hunt for a pilot, and, failing that, an AFSS guy, to take a fall.

For example: "Darryl," a great briefer, was reprimanded (at the insistence of my employer) for not providing DCA ADIZ info to a Gulfstream IV pilot based at Charlottesville, Va., (CHO) requesting to file an instrument flight plan to Leesburg, Va (JYO).

This pilot apparently decided on short final to change his transponder code to 1200 because of an unspecified personal issue with the control facility. This faux-pax earned my man (Darryl) an operational error because the book says my man (who only took the flight plan) shall tell everybody about everything going on anywhere.

Really? An IFR G-IV based at CHO requesting only to file an IFR flight plan to JYO needs to about the ADIZ around DCA? In June 2005? Sorry Darryl. Busted. The Great Book Says ...

Then I had to reprimand "Wayne" about a guy who departed 100 miles west of a TFR, intending flight another 100 miles further west. The pilot showed up 200 miles east of his departure point, and well inside the TFR. Nowhere near where he stated his intended flight would occur. My controller got busted for not informing the pilot of the TFR.

You folks need to decide. One of us needs to read and be responsible for the rules. Either everybody gets delayed while we read the rules to everybody regardless of their skill level, type aircraft, or destination, or you tell us that you have a clue. Maybe the FAA will show some guts and publish all this stationary stuff (together with the incessant requests for PIREPS, requests to contact EFAS, warnings to call Canada/Mexico for their own NOTAMS) and then weather briefings will be free to concentrate on pertinent information.

Actually I'm sitting here wondering why I still care. I'm not sure I'm even in compliance with FAA regs by writing this letter. My former employer has dictated that AFSS employees shall no longer participate in writing educational material for publications. We shall no longer answer the questions we routinely answered for student pilots. According to the Agency's own direction: "The AFSS is not to be a resource library. The Flight Service Station shall not provide common FAA documents, applications, or information concerning flight or flight related activities. All requests for information shall be directed to the nearest Flight Standards District Office."

That's a fact, kids. You might want to ask Philly about how much better it will be when we can't answer your questions in five seconds or less!

Bill Moriarty
Discarded AFSS Supervisor

General Aviation Definition

It is unfortunate that "general aviation" is defined in such a way that the Cessna 172 owner is bundled up with the same corporations that run aviation operations in their Gulfstreams, or any unscheduled carrier. I think that it is time to break out the real general aviation population (owners and renters who fly for pleasure) from the mega-money interests of corporations.

For example, AOPA has used lots of resources in the Washington "Big Three" airports. While some of the repercussions may affect those of us flying in Class B airspace, I am certainly not going to Washington, D.C., any time soon in my 172.

Bundling everyone who is not a scheduled carrier into the general aviation term is doing a disservice to the owner pilots who fly for pleasure. Has this issue been given any consideration recently?

Alberto Silva

Pictures of the Week

I know the weather has been changing everywhere, but that looks just like Port Alsworth, Alaska, [not Ark.] last time I was there (POTW, Oct. 27). Keep up the great work; I am crazy for your Web site here in Guam.

Tom Lund

First I wish to thank you for providing the best screen saver in the world. Each week I download the POTW into a file that randomly pops them up as my screen saver. It is awesome!

And next I too was curious about the DC-3 (POTW, Oct. 27). I did a Google and found the following:

The Cessna wreck is a light aircraft sunk as a prop for the movie Jaws IV. It is broken up and sits about 22 feet deep, about 100 yards from shore. It was just moved in to make room for a DC-3 that now sits on the wall in the original location. The DC-3 was sunk as a prop for the movie Into The Deep.

Matthew Kiener

Photo Licenses In Australia

Don't hold your breath when you apply for new photo license (NewsWire, Oct. 27). I applied on June 15, 2005, and am still waiting. When I checked last week it was still a couple of weeks away. My original license had a photo in it -- that was the way it was when I got my license in 1962. The next thing to get is the ASIC card, so if I am up and going for Jan. 1, 2006, it will be a real miracle.

Ian Berry

Minnesota Bonanza

If the State of Minnesota already had a 1978 A36 Bonanza (and it wasn't apparent to me whether it was a 35 or 36), why did they think they needed a new one (NewsWire, Oct. 27)? Was it crashed, corroded, or condemned? Properly maintained and hangared, a 27-year-old airplane is just as good as (and many times better) than a new one. I think the citizens of Minnesota should be seriously concerned that the State wanted to get another airplane in the first place. If the State wanted new fancy avionics; if they wanted a leather interior; if they wanted new paint; if they needed a new engine; if they needed new windows and windshield -- all that could have been accomplished on their existing aircraft for far less than the 434K the Cirrus would have cost. This kind of thing is what is running our governments -- and, in the end, us -- out of business to my way of thinking.

Love your Newsletter.

Clay Derryberry

How Big A Hint Do You Need?

In its report on an accident last December near Denver, the NTSB said the engines on the Cessna 421 twin-engine had quit twice before the plane began to taxi for takeoff.

I cannot comprehend how these things happen. Your engines unexpectedly quit, twice, during preflight. Yet you take off anyway. Can anyone dream up a scenario where such a thing can be rationalized?

Paul Bennett

Read AVmail from other weeks here, and submit your own Letter to the Editor with this form.