AVmail: Sep. 10, 2007

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Where Did I Fly This Summer?

Regarding the Question of the Week about flying trips (QOTW, Aug. 30): I flew that big trip I'd always planned ... and I flew to Oshkosh (two separate trips), but I can't enter both options! Rob Lees

Benefits of a Privatized FAA

Concerning Mr. Burnley's comments (Podcast, Aug. 31): As far as I am concerned, he represents everything that is wrong with Washington. He [doesn't understand] the general aviation population. He has no sense of our concerns about the slippery slope that this could be. And to represent Amtrak and the USPS as something to look up to and emulate clearly shows that his comments should be discard outright. There is absolutely no reason in the world to imply that we are behind the times because "other" modern countries do it differently. We are the greatest country in the world because we do things differently. If he thinks corporatization is so great, then let's have the corporation limited to board of directors from only "piston-powered" airplane owners/users and see what they think of that. The squeal and whine would be heard around the world. Doug Lesh

Museum Plaque Altered To Appease Vet Pilots

First I'd like to comment upon the title of this article (AVwebFlash, Aug. 30). I think "appease" is the wrong word here. These pilots risked their lives to bring that hideous war to a swift end. They had no say in what the mission was nor were many of these deliberate. Bombing, even in WWII, was still hit and miss and carpet bombing was the result. There were innocent civilians, too, but in Germany most of these were below the age of 10. The Germans voted in this monster in the first place then reveled in their newfound industry and power while ignoring the slaughter of millions of Jews in the process. They were not innocent. Historian Randall Hansen is the product of Canadian second-sight with a comfortable 62 plus years of time behind him. He allows himself to get wrapped up in current-day political correctness while ignoring the fact that he might owe his freedom to spout rubbish to the tens of thousands of "War Criminals" who were bombing the "innocent Germans." One raid on Tokyo in Japan resulted in over 225,000 dead while it took a whole war to kill 600,000 "innocent" Germans. Bravo to the war vets who pressured the War Museum, which was funded by the taxpayers who benefited from the fact that we won it at the costs of millions of our own soldiers and innocent civilians, and didn't allow them to kowtow to the ivory-tower types who seem to surface well after the smoke has cleared. I don't know how Hansen can fail to factor in the rage that must have existed at the time over Germany's complete disregard for the civilian population; the bombing of London and Coventry, the atrocities in Poland, Holland and other western European countries the Nazi's steamrollered over. It's a little late to rewrite the Canadian side of history, don't you think? And why just the Canadian history? Bet you won't see this in the British War museums or those in the U.S. Why should Canadian bomber pilots be singled out by these historians who spout the "new truth"? Shame on them. Don Ledger


Lately I have been flying around the country by airlines for work. I have seen what I think is the only answer to the airport/airline dilemma. In the entire world there are now too many people. At airports there are way too many planes. The hub system is also partly at fault. The answer is for the major cities to add another complete airport. I don't care what kind of space-age landing system you build, it will be inadequate! There are too many planes and not enough airports. Build a multi-billion dollar avionics system that will not fix the problem or add the airports that will. Add an airport or two, for each city, and connect them with high speed rail. It is the only solution! Don Zank

Carbon Offset Credits

I was amazed, but not amused, to see some members of the aviation press joining the "global warming" fray by advocating the purchase of "carbon credits" (AVwebFlash, Sep. 4). Boys, you ought to stick to matters you understand. Avoid the political scams and "feel good" schemes. Glenn Henderson
I really wish I had thought of this "carbon offset" business several years ago. Let's see how this works:
  1. I make you feel guilty about flying/driving/heating or cooling your house, breathing, etc.
  2. You pay me money to salve your guilt.
  3. I take your money and invest it in stocks of profitable companies involved in wind, solar, biomass, geothermal or other "non-polluting" power, forestry or other CO2-reducing activities.
  4. I then sit back and collect my dividend checks from these carefully-chosen stocks. I get all the benefits of investing -- with other people's money.
A really nice way to finance my flying! Yes, I wish I'd thought of this sooner. Dave Finley


A little quick math indicates that the new system of 700 ground station for $1.8 billion works out to $2,571,000 per station (AVwebFlash, Aug. 31). How much does a VOR/DME cost? Wouldn't it be better to do it from satellites? Do you think they will finally get it built for 15 billion? Do you think they will be on time? And somewhere along in there we in GA will have to spend lots of money to hook into the system. And somewhere along in there we in GA will get user fees, even if we beat them back this time. Gracious! Bryce Campbell

Spaceport America

I can't help it, but at first, second and even third glance, the design of Spaceport America looks like a giant bed pan (AVwebFlash, Sep. 5)! Perhaps that's just due to my profession, or the angle of the photo. Dr. Charles Truthan


Your alternative answers omitted one that should have been presented and made some assumptions about the FAA that are not warranted (Question of the Week, Sep. 5). First, the assumption that the FAA is the reason aviation is safe is good propaganda, I suppose, if you are the publicist for the FAA, but I am not sure that is the case. We do not need rules promulgated by the FAA to make us safe. The FAA is best at violating people, punitive action, not helping them be safe. They are not here to help us. In other words, what does it matter if the FAA does or does not make it a requirement to have the upgraded ELT? Yes, it will force some, I suppose, to buy the ELT who otherwise would not, but shouldn't it be the operator's choice? The free market (Darwin?) will sort this out better than the FAA. If someone wants to fly without this equipment, let them. It won't be me, though, nor the pilots I know irrespective of any action by the FAA. Daryl Williams
My answer was not specifically on your list. I vote "Yes," but only for planes operated commercially or above a certain size. I think the new technology is great, and that everyone should upgrade if they can, but it is costly for a lot of the little guys. Lynn Randolph
I find your ELT survey dishonest. The questions you ask assumes that there are no other factors at play. In the May issue of Avionics News, Artex claims that the old ELTs only worked in 12% of the cases. We do not know why they didn't emit a signal. If the reason was that antennas broke or were submerged, then it is highly possible that the same will happen to the 406 units. Are we any safer with the 406? We may be found more quickly if the part of the unit which is not TSO'd -- and that includes the installation -- is no better than the old system. Your survey will lead to false conclusions. The first thing that has to happen is that statistics need to be gathered on the number of crashes with the 406 ELT on board and we then need to know in how many cases no useful signal was emitted. Only then can we ask aircraft owners to spent over a billion dollars to re-equip. Frank Hofmann
I must comment on your coverage of this subject (AVwebFlash, Sep. 5). There are many misconceptions about the "406" and it is not what you and AOPA have stated, but what you have not said. First, 406 MHz, as so frequently implied is not the sole frequency. As per RTCA/DO-204 (the 406 spec), it is only an adjunct to 121.5 MHz and 243 MHz (Sec. 1 of above). I have never seen a "406 ELT" without 121.5. 121.5 is needed for "SAR aircraft homing." Next, while it may come as a surprise to the younger generation, before SARSAT, we flew quite safely without SARSAT using 121.5 and a good flight plan, which the wise pilot adhered to. There are other, cheaper, "new devices" that can be used to "mitigate risk" including cellphones, satphones and 406 beacons. Jim Palmer
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