AVmail: Oct. 16, 2006
Your story says, "Right now that's not a problem because the sun is in a quiet phase, but it's expected to get active again in 2011," (AVwebFlash, Oct. 2).
I believe that, if you check sources, you will find that we are now in a period when activity is increasing and will continue to do so until it peaks in 2011. The problem for GPS service will start much sooner.
Regarding the Question of Week, Oct. 5 ("How many hours of time, in actual IMC, do you log each year?"):
Actual time is less than I would have expected after departing into marginal conditions only to find conditions not as predicted or expected. In those cases IMC was not logged. However, the flight was not cancelled as it would have been before the instrument rating.
Picture of the Week
Just a quick observation. It seems that each week the [POTW] submissions increase in quality ... a lot! The volume must be way up, too.
The range of aviation subject matter and the "whimsy" in some is incredible!
Then, of course, there are those shots of great beauty.
Through it all, the photos always seem to hit home, to me, and make me remember why I love to fly!
Just had to say, "Keep 'em comin', people."
Arrival at Oshkosh
Rick Durden -
Thank you for the great article on the increasing obnoxious behavior by arriving pilots to AirVenture (The Pilot's Lounge, Oct. 8). I have been a FLO volunteer since the middle 70s and am now the chairman of the traffic side of FLO. You hit the nail on the head.
After one low arrival, I showed up at the FAA afternoon meeting with a sign stating, "I am not the orange dot"!
A non-S-turning pilot (from written accounts) was most likely seen not observing safe movement practices by ground personnel well before the collision took place. If that aircraft would have been stopped early, there is the possibility that a person would not have died. It is disturbing to me that such a simple act did not take place.
I would also support a requirement for pilots to have a minimum number of hours under their belt, and possibly a number of landings at congested airports, before they should be allowed to be PIC coming in to OSH during this busy week.
Also, the FAA should publish a notice recommending the types of practice that pilots should brush up on: spot landings, keeping airspeed at a certain speed until very short final, having the touchdown spot on the runway changed at the last moment, side stepping onto parallel runways, flying down the runway at low altitudes, one turn to final from close in, for starters. I'm sure there are other things that should be practiced that I did not mention, too.
I am quite sure that perhaps half of the pilots coming into OSH have not practiced all of these recommended situations, and are unready to use these tools when they are called on to do so.
Not being ready with these skills could have serious consequences. Other behaviors, as written about, also need to be addressed, but once a pilot has made it nearly to the threshold, they should be ready to take the next important step!
I have about 6,000 hours and would not fly into that zoo for anything.
New York Crash
The whole nation mourns the needless tragic loss of a young man so early in his life, career, and family (AVwebFlash, Oct. 12). Watching and listening to the news reports from NYC, one couldn't help but relive some of the horror they lived through five years earlier. Little doubt exists that many thousands of NYC's citizens experienced a post-traumatic stress syndrome following the events of 9/11 only to have it retriggered by yesterday's events. It's ironic, though, that the "temporary" TFR in place over NYC, designed to protect its citizens, may have in fact contributed to this tragic event. Oh, to be sure, the final NTSB finding will more than likely state "pilot error," but will it mention anything about the airspace restrictions and the "box canyon" the pilot and his instructor found themselves in?
Gary Miedema wrote (AVmail, Oct. 2):
Years ago a product called Explosafe was introduced to solve this very problem (NewsWire, Sep. 25). According to EAA, it is still available.
The Explosafe was, I believe, an extruded-aluminum, perforated materiel that could corrode and clog the fuel system. The reticulated foams are used in helicopters and rely on the purity of kerosene and high maintenance budgets to avoid degradation into clogging particles. The reticulated foam in race cars relies on instructions not to leave fuel in the tank except when racing. Gasoline with its various benzenes, plus alcohol, plus water, presents a triumvirate of solvents that can degrade all available fine materials, which could stop the explosive flame-front. This problem exist to a lesser degree with bladders, and bladders have their own pro's and cons.
However, the other tactics to avoid post-crash fire were delineated in about 1964 by the Army for successful use in Vietnam. The costless design ideas of 1964 remain completely ignored in light aircraft designs to date. We have only our own laziness and snobby machismo to blame for GA's problems.
Francis X. Gentile