AVmail: November 8, 2010

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Editor's Note:

A big AVweb "thank you" to the hundreds of people who commented on Sen. Jim Inhofe's closed-airport landing and the fate of third class medicals. We couldn't run them all, so we tried to run a representative selection.

Russ Niles
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: Where Is the Outrage?

My question regarding Sen. Inhofe's closed-runway landing is: Where are the angst and diatribe normally associated with an apparently errant airman? We are exhorted and cajoled by all manner of alphabet groups and agencies to put forth our best, most compliant behavior at all times. We are encouraged to be aviation ambassadors and show that we are not Wild West cowboys and, more importantly, not a threat to national security.

The senator's actions and subsequent public statements are eroding the public trust we have built up.

I remember a fable about an emperor and his clothes, or lack thereof. Maybe it is time to call a spade a spade. If the senator is truly in error, I would think it best for the aviation press to call him on it rather than waiting for the Nervous Nelly public to do it for us.

Louis C. Ridley Jr.

I hope the FAA applies sanctions uniformly. I looked it up; Senator Inhofe will be 76 soon. Maybe he needs to quit flying if he doesn't have the time to look up NOTAMs. Or maybe he should hire a pilot who does have the time.

Yes, the NOTAM system is less than ideal, but it is what we have. With the Xs on the runway (and people and equipment on the runway!), there is no acceptable excuse.

His position as a Senator should not get him off the hook for this.

David Conrad

Nice Photo

This week's "POTW" (Salmon River) is absolutely the singularly most mind-blowing aviation photo I have ever seen in forty plus years of flying and photography! It is positively stunning. That image will be my computer desktop background (with Tim's copyright notice) for a long time. Please pass my appreciation to Tim for a fabulous photo. Since I am no longer an active pilot, these photos are especially meaningful to me. Thanks again!

Ken Sabel

Nice Video

I watched Paul's video on the iPad versus the 696. Good review. His "oops" slide showing Martha King stepping out of her 172 with "hands up" was pretty damn funny. I enjoy his video presentations.

There are very few web pages I read on a daily basis. AVweb is one of them. Keep up the good work.

Howard Benz

Medical Issues

Just think of the amount of time spent behind the wheel of a car compared to an airplane. If some medical issue were to arise, the risk is far greater it will happen in a car. With cars traveling in such close proximity to each other, the damage level is much higher in cars. For the smaller amount of time in an aircraft, the portion of that time over civilization is just a small fraction of that total time. Third class medicals are keeping people, potentially me, out of aviation.

Rick Caldwell

The requirements for a third class medical are very simple. Basically, if you can walk into the doctor's office under your own power, hear what he has to say, and pass a simple eye exam, you qualify. If a pilot can't meet these simple requirements, do you really want him or her in the same sky as you, or flying over your house, or your child's school?

Richard Pearson

I think third class should go away. However, would the FAA consider loosening the list of meds considered disqualifying? I know plenty of people who take anti-anxiety meds (currently disqualifying) who drive cars every day and don't have issues. While airplanes add a third dimension to travel, the risk to the general public is much less than that of driving a car.

Jim Thrash

Yes, I think third class medicals should be eliminated. I think they may actually cause more issues than they fix, in that pilots may defer diagnoses or treatment for medical conditions becuase they are afraid to the losing their flying privileges.

Brian Case

And why, as Davis Wartofsky suggests, should it be mandatory to have a valid drivers license? What if you do not drive?

Paul Hoskey

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