AVmail: February 21, 2011

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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: NOTAMs Are for Everyone

I just read the FAA's letter to Senator Inhofe with regard to his landing on a closed runway and his subsequent take-off from a taxiway in October. It's good that the Senator had to take some remedial training, but is this really going to cause an attitude adjustment on his part? His statement about most pilots ignoring the whole NOTAM picture does not reflect well on the rest of us. I mean, come on, how hard is it?

When we get a briefing from DUATS, a whole list of NOTAMS comes up at the end. I always scan the huge list of en route NOTAMS, even though most turn out to be irrelevant to my flight. But I, and I'm sure most of us, give a good deal of attention to at least the departure and arrival NOTAMs.

After ignoring the large Xs, construction equipment, and workers on the runway and landing, [Inhofe] had the nerve to take off from a taxiway without permission from the airport management or FAA. Did he think that he was going to just sneak out, or did he think that he would just throw his position around and make it go away?! In this time of TFRs and hypersensitivity to aviation security, we must all do our homework diligently!

I hope Inhofe never decides to visit AirVenture. Who knows if he would take the time to read that NOTAM!

Steve Tobias

Committee Crush

Paul Bertorelli hit the nail on the head with the committee piece. It makes them feel good. This forming of spontaneous committees validates their existence but is nonproductive and maybe even counterproductive and actually recognizes the ineptitude and lack of efficacy of all former committees. I'd like to see if there is any commonality of members throughout the list of committees.

Jim Cavanaugh

In-Flight Cockpit Fire

Great coverage about a heroic pilot.

This sounds like a fuel fire. It's a warning to keep a leather glove in the cockpit to be able to turn off the fuel in the event of this happening.

Follow up, please. Contact a few field maintenance people who are familiar with the Dukes series of (usually under the floor on Cessna SE) fuel pumps and how they can leak fuel into the subfloor cavity. These pumps do have an overboard fuel drain tube; however, this scheme does not always provide a path to drain. Pilots complain of fuel vapors in the cabin leading to inspection of the area around the pump, which often has a puddle of fuel.

Greg Broburg

I am glad everyone got out alive during this event. However, I was less than encouraged by the "lessons learned" part of the interview. While I agree with the "make your decision and act promptly" part, the lack of the fire extinguisher on board was never mentioned.

For the instructor to not have encouraged us listeners to have an extinguisher misses the mark. This, in itself, could have made a big differance. As they say, rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it. We all need to prepare like our lives depend on it. Because they do!

Herman Bloomberg

The NTSB report on this in-flight fire left too many questions unanswered. They blamed the fire on a terminal lug without a rubber boot.

The questions they did not address were:

  • Why didn't the breaker shut off power to the pump when the short occurred?
  • Why did the carpet burst into flames? Did the carpet meet FAA burn standards?
  • Why were there "flames pouring out from under the instrument panel"? What was there under the instrument panel that would support flames?

This type of incomplete investigating does nothing to help us learn from this experience.

Larry Koch

4G Threat?

After listening to the LightSquared folks on the issue of interfence from 4G towers: If the 430, which is a sophisticated system, has problems, what about all the handhelds out there?

This does not sound good to me. It seems since GPS is a vital function for aviation and on the ground and [since] it was here first, the 4G folks need to find another frequency to use that will not affect us. I have a lot of GPS units for ground and aviation. I can't see how I have to put on filters. The 4G folks need to make their product the one that filters.

Thank you. Keep up the great reporting on this issue and keep us all up to date.

Bill Yendrzes

It seems like a clash of bureaucracies. I can't imagine why the FCC would even consider approving a system that has the potential to undermine military, defense and civilian navigation capability.

It's like banning all 121.5 ELTs. Who's minding the store? I'm a professional pilot and fly my own C-172 regularly with a Garmin III pilot handheld. Will I have to carry a filter to protect a cheap GPS? Ridiculous!

Scott Streibick

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