AVmail: August 3, 2009

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Each week, we run a sampling of the letters received to our editorial inbox here in AVmail. One letter that's particularly relevant, informative, or otherwise compelling will headline this section as our "Letter of the Week," and we'll send the author an official AVweb baseball cap as a "thank you" for interacting with us (and the rest of our readership). Send us your comments and questions using this form. Please include your mailing address in your e-mail (just in case your letter is our "Letter of the Week"); by the same token, please let us know if your message is not intended for publication.

Letter of the Week: Hands-On Coverage

I enjoy your aviation reporting, but your reporters should refrain from touching and leaning on the aircraft they report on. This gives gives the general public the idea that this activity is OK, when it's not.

A sweaty arm leaning on a polished aluminum surface leaves a mark that only re-polishing can remove. I always teach young people to look and not touch and to put their hands either in their pockets or behind their backs.

Tony Stein

AVweb Replies:

You're absolutely right, Tony, and shame on us for forgetting this basic courtesy. We'll do better.

Russ Niles

Rough Handling of the A380

I was very disappointed in the video of the A380 hard landing. It was an intentional firm landing in an almost 90 degree crosswind; otherwise the turnoff would not have been made. The commentary from a 777 pilot (obviously on the Boeing payroll) was absurd. I would like to see him put a 777 down under the same circumstances. It is a lifetime ambition to go to Oshkosh, but at 68 and the wrong side of the pond, I doubt I will ever make it.

Thank you for reading my rant. I do think AVweb is normally very fair in its reviewing, but not this time.

John Beech

AVweb content is usually informative and well-balanced, but I think your decision to use Dan Gryder's analysis and comments in regard to the A380 arrival at Oshkosh is not a good example of this. Wording like "what went wrong" and "the airplane is probably still going to be usable" seem highly exaggerated to me.

Sure it was a heavy landing, no doubt, but there was a considerable crosswind and the pilot was obviously going to have to get the aircraft nailed on the (unfamiliar) runway as soon as possible. All the talk about watching the wings flex was also exaggerated. These wings are huge, and they always appear to flex more than most aircraft on any landing!

I live in Sydney, Australia and we have had A380 operations here for some time. I've seen many landings, and I have flown in the type three times. Under the circumstances, this was not really that much of a big deal. Dan Gryder (a Boeing pilot) seemed enthusiastic in criticising the pilot's PIOs after landing. Perhaps he could have been focusing a bit more on how well the pilot did to get the aircraft into OSH under such circumstances.

Go and dig out some video of 747s landing in crosswinds at the old Kai Tak airport in Hong Kong, and then you'll see some aircraft that really have been stressed and in need of some serious engineering checks before they fly again.

Unfortunately, this particular AVweb coverage smacked more of what I would expect of the typical mainstream media coverage of an aviation story: poorly focused, overly dramatic, and, I have to say, biased.

David Butler

Sorry, kids, but your "analysis" of the A380 "hard landing" was quite disappointing to this reader.

You made all sorts of conclusions about the landing itself and the preceding events (e.g., control inputs) without talking to the crew and without having any knowledge of the aircraft beyond what you could see from the ground.

How much time do your reporters have in the A380? How much do the A380's wings flex during a "normal" landing? I could go on.

We're all armchair pilots, but your reporters sounded like those of the worst type. It hurts AVweb's credibility.

Mike Truffer

AirVenture Coverage

Thanks for the stellar coverage of AirVenture! I felt like I got a great feeling for everything that went on there by the coverage that your team accomplished.

The great pictures and articles were a whole lot of fun. I liked the panoramic pictures with the Gigapan technology. I could not believe how far you could zoom and still get a nice picture of any area of the panorama.

I loved the live video feed from the runway; you could really get a feel for the incredible non-stop action that takes place there by being able to listen to the controllers!

Hope you all got some time away from the work to just enjoy the show!

John Johnson

AVweb Replies:

The panoramas were our show photographer Mariano Rosales's idea. If you haven't tried them yet, check them out.

Russ Niles

Forgotten Volunteers

For many years, members (six personally) of the Florida Wing Civil Air Patrol have done much the same activities at Lakeland [as those we saw this year at Oshkosh] with little or no acknowledgement from any published sources at all, and these dedicated folks (cadets and seniors) are on duty 16 hours day after day, then sleeping on an armory floor for days at a time.

Carl Peltzer

AVweb Replies:

It takes a monumental effort to stage every air show, and our hats are off to the volunteers. Thanks for reminding us.

Russ Niles

Colgan Questions Linger

I read all 111 pages of the Cockpit Voice Recorder report cited in the AVweb report, of which 108 pages were about company policies, etc. However, one thing got my attention that I have not heard before, and I wondered if it could be significant and would love to hear from a Q400 expert.

On Page 109, flaps five is requested and selected. On Page 110, gear down is requested and confirmed. Then flaps 15 is requested but not confirmed (only "uhh" from the copilot), immediately followed by the stickshaker. The next communication from the copilot, 10 seconds later, was "I put the flaps up," followed eight seconds later by "should the gear up?"

My question (or thought) is the captain never commanded flaps up. Would the copilot have made that decision while the stall warning was going off, or is it possible or likely that she actually put the flaps up to zero instead of down to 15 when commanded, just before the shaker went off? Could a change from flaps 5 to flaps 0 put the aircraft close to stall, considering the ice build-up? I would love to hear a professional comment on this possibility.

Brian Conway

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