AVmail: Oct. 15, 2007

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AFSS Nonsense

With all due respect to Lockheed-Martin VP Dan Courain (Podcast, Oct. 5), he needs to pick up the phone and call AFSS himself. The problem isn't just briefings; it's the tying up of airspace and human resources as well. Case in point: I was unable to raise Atlantic City approach to cancel my IFR flight plan into WWD (Wildwood, N.J.) Labor Day weekend. Couldn't get them on the phone, either. So I called AFSS. I was still on the phone waiting 22 minutes later when the Delaware Dept. of Aviation came looking for me on the ramp in the morning mist. They found me standing on the wing of my airplane muttering about Lockheed-Martin telling me how important my call was to them. The Delaware official's reaction was, "Oh, you're waiting on a briefer? Now there's a surprise!" The briefer finally answered after 26 minutes. His response? "I'm really sorry, I'll get the guys at Atlantic City and let them know you're down safe and they can release the airspace. I have been telling management about this since June ... and they won't listen. I'm done beating my head against the wall." So next time Dan feeds you a line, suggest he call himself. He's either getting bad data from his call-reporting systems or he is in denial, or ... well, I won't go there. AFSS is an anachronism, but at places like WWD where the FBO doesn't have a connection to the internet and cell service is still analog, it's an anachronism that is still required for safe flight. Glenn L. Martin and Allan and Malcolm Loughead (Lockheed) sure would be embarrassed by the job being done in their names. George Mattingly

LED Airport Lights

LED taxiway lights are not new (AVwebFlash, Oct. 6)! About a year ago, after hurricane Charley destroyed our old taxiway lights, blue LED lights were installed at KPGD, Charlotte County, Fla. Tampa is not the first use of these bright, low-power-consumption lights. The local pilots love them. PGD also will start having airline service Dec. 5 when SkyBus begins their first flight. Larry C. Hofmeister
I'm uncertain about the IR runway lights. Have you noticed that cell-phone cameras are often capable of seeing infrared? You can test this yourself: Simply point your remote control at the lens and watch the display light up. I hope that the military's expensive secrecy measures can't be subverted by the lowly cellular phone! Name withheld by request

TFR Web Sites

Regarding the pilots busting a TFR (AVwebFlash, Oct. 8): Just a reminder that the FAA does have a good flight planning Web site for NOTAMS, graphic TFRs, weather, etc. It could be better if it also linked to the FAA's own approach chart pages, something I've been trying to do from the "inside." Name withheld by request


While your poll is of value (Question of the Week, Oct. 4), it fails to adequately describe what pilots will get with the ADS-B Out NPRM. That mandate will only mandate avionics that transmit your position and velocity info. You do not get free weather, traffic, NOTAMs, etc., with just ADS-B Out. That requires ADS-B In. Ron Lee

Cell Phones QOTW

I believe you are phrasing the question incorrectly (QOTW, Oct. 11). I don't want to listen to other people's conversations but what would it hurt to be able to use the data access for internet access, email, and text messaging? Bill Cox


I applaud you for your prominent photo correction of the American Airlines jet, placed at the top of your Web page (AVwebFlash, Oct. 11). In this day and age, I've come to expect the media to print their corrections and retractions in places receiving little exposure. It's refreshing to see that there is at least one media outlet that emphasizes accuracy over hype and integrity over image. Eric Laing
I have been reading AVwebFlash for several years and would like to compliment you on this week's edition. There are many interesting articles and the photo galleries are superb. Keep up the great work! Peggy Gillman
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