AVmail: September 10, 2009
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: VLJ Price Fantasy
Good observations. At the core the problem was, and always will be, moral leadership.
Always set the example by your actions, not just your words; do unto others as you would have others do unto you; be honest; consider all the stakeholders, internal and external; inspire and empower your co-workers; give them the constructive leadership, the tools and the respect they need to strive for excellence. Control your greed. I could go on and on, but hopefully you get the idea.
One last thing: We are all leaders. We always influence others. The choice we have is whether we influence others in positive, constructive ways or in negative, non-productive ways that diminish them personally instead of building trust, teamwork, a solid work-ethic, esprit de corps, etc. These things increase productivity and allow for continual improvement. They allow us to keep our jobs and provide better products at lower costs. They allow us to stay in business.
Many thanks for airing this. A great piece, and as an ex-Brit, it brought tears to my eyes. They were built close to where I grew up in Manchester, U.K., and now that I'm a private pilot, the scale of the courage of the crews is awe-inspiring.
Your "Picture of the Week" is great, but on a minor point, those flying machines are PPGs (powered paragliders), which are foot-launched. A PPC (powered parachute) has a cart with three or more wheels.
As I said, a minor point — but the PPG provides the ultimate in a portable flying machine. Most can fit in the trunk of a car and are classified as ultralights. Please give credit where it is due.
Duly noted, Tom — and as good an excuse as any to spend more time with the ultralights, gliders, and PPCs at Oshkosh next summer. (It'll be educational!)
I agree with the plan to replace pitot probes with pilot probes. I'm sure they will be more reliable:
AVweb wrote: "Thales Avionics' pitot probe 'has not yet demonstrated the same level of robustness to withstand high-altitude ice crystals as Goodrich pilot probes P/N 0851HL,' which the agency now requires as a replacement."
Unoffered "Question of the Week" Option
When a midair occurs at a non-towered airport, you don't see a control tower put in immediately. When a midair occurs at a towered airport, you don't see a wholesale change to the procedures used. So why on earth does one midair after decades of safe operations mean that we need to completely change the way the Hudson River Corridor is managed?
In your Hudson River poll, you forgot what is perhaps the most compelling answer (at least to me): Let's leave the dang thing alone.
NTSB Jumped The Gun
The last letter you published stated that the NTSB had no choice [but to exclude NATCA] because of the agreement it has with outsiders on the accident.
I was taught by a guy named Mike Grost, who worked for the USAF Air Logistics Command at Kelly AFB, Texas. This guy was phenomenal at getting to the bottom of the cause. The one thing he taught was you never guess. You are paid to produce facts, not opinions.
Yet the NTSB feels the need to get immediately in front of a camera and tell all.
Contrary to Mr. Voorhees's letter, NATCA was told unequivocally that the distortions presented by the Board would not be corrected. It is they who had no choice but to do what they did, and they did it knowing of and accepting the consequences.
Helicopter Rides to School
It might sound anti-climatic, but I got my helicopter rating in 1982, the same year my father got his rating, in my father's 269C (Hughes 300). I went off to college during '83-'84, and he would often take my brother and sister to school in the helicopter. He would land on the soccer field next to the gym, and they would use the key to the gym (which the administration gave them) to go into school. This was in Oneco, Florida. The administration was very cool with this and thought it was actually cool publicity for the school. On several occasions, with other parents' approval, he would give rides to the students.
Not everyone is "freaked out" by normal aviation activities.
I read with both interest and concern the article about the student arriving in his father's helicopter. It seems that dad was responsible, as no rules were violated. He landed away from others, showing the safety factor. So why the panic? If you were to ask, I'm sure the vast majority of students there that day would love to do the same. Perhaps Principal Cunningham should visit his proctologist to have the large stick removed, or perhaps he should seek counseling for envy. During my senior year in high school, they were using SkyCranes to set the HVAC on the new intermediate school nearby. Disruptive? Maybe, but I clearly remember that after almost 40 years — more than I can say for many of my teachers and administrators. I salute that dad!