AVmail: Dec. 31, 2007

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Mountain Wave

In the early '70s I found myself in a rotor from a cloudless Sierra wave (Probable Cause, Dec. 24). The T-34 I was flying experienced +3 and -2 Gs of turbulence for some five minutes. The rotor would roll the plane nearly inverted with extreme pitch changes. I'm glad I was in a strong aircraft. With the flinging about, I'm not sure that I could have used the parachute that I was wearing. Stuart Fields

Future of GA (QOTW, Dec. 20)

Like many others I suspect, I have always joked with other pilots that I really didn't want to know what it cost to fly my plane. I just liked to fly it. But the costs have increasingly been hard to ignore. Recently I had an occasion to compare the costs of keeping my aircraft for four years vs. flying for the same amount of time by participating in an Airshares Elite shared ownership of a Cirrus. I learned two things: Building in the realistic loss of value in an older aircraft meant that the total costs of keeping my aircraft vs. buying into and participating in the Airshares scheme were the same price. The other thing was that either scheme has finally become just too expensive to justify on my budget. Thus, regardless of the fact that the Airshares aircraft would be new and better equipped, my days as a GA aircraft owner are numbered. While I am not the first person to come to this conclusion, I believe that we are now on the leading edge of a period of rapid contraction of GA activities. David MacRae

Maine's Use Tax

AVweb has done an excellent job to date of covering the ongoing dispute between pilots and the State of Maine over a confiscatory use tax (AVwebFlash, Dec. 14). To date, however, the only response received by pilots protesting the tax has been a form response from the State informing us that we have been "misinformed" about the tax and that the use tax is being "administered correctly." Key legislative officials and other government officials have failed to respond at all. To date, the State has failed to answer the question asked in all of the pilot inquiries: When are you going to eliminate the tax? Accordingly, the pilot community plans to escalate the protest over the next few weeks and will continue efforts to educate the Baldacci administration and key legislative leaders that the tax is inimical to business and tourism growth in the State of Maine. Jeff P. Russell

Airspace Relief

We've been lately hearing about the government's opening of the restricted military airspace to allow direct routing of commercial traffic and much needed relief during Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays (AVwebFlash, Nov. 15). The known fact among aviation professionals is that this airspace is generally open anyway during weekend and public holidays. There is not much military training or exercises conducted on those days! Thanks, FAA. How about fixing the real problems with the ATC? Ross Aimer

Top Aviation Story of 2007

Editor's Note:

In our most recent Question of the Week, we asked AVweb readers to choose the biggest aviation story of 2007. Many of you offered your own choice that wasn't on our list.

Cessna's decision to build the SkyCatcher in China! Ron Gibson
[and] Joe Stamper
[and] Jim De Vries

Surely the top aviation story of 2007 is the introduction into service of the A380. If this aircraft proves successful, it will surely change the face of commercial aviation as we know it. Not to mention the ruckus when the first fully loaded one crashes! Gary J. Hebbard
Your question was poorly phrased. Hands down, the biggest aviation story was the first commercial flight of the Airbus A380. (It may also have been the heaviest.) The biggest from the standpoint of media coverage and duration has to be Steve Fossett's disappearance. John La Jeunesse
It's kind of a toss-up between the loss of Steve Fossett and the launching of the 787. E. Linnemann
The X-Prize contest. Bringing space travel to citizens. Jerry Miller
The impending loss of 100LL for GA without a replacement in the wings. [Ed. So to speak.] Ray Damijonaitis
The passing of age 65 retirement. Jim Seeds
My nomination is Delta Airlines emerging from bankruptcy. Harold Alston
How about the Flight Service Station privatization debacle? This is probably the largest setback to GA and aviation safety in history. Kevin and Jeanette Wright
The biggest story has yet to come to fruition: the destruction of the ATC system by those who ran/run it. Ms. Blakey's legacy will be seen in a year or two when the rest of the veteran air traffic controllers become eligible to retire and walk out the door. Mr. Sturgell will be just a mirror image of her and don't expect improvement. Incredible incentives (in addition to a fair contract) will now have to be given in order to stop what we all see as inevitable: massive delays due to lack of staffing. Why can't the media see it and help? Anna Mitchell
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