AVmail: Feb. 11, 2008

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Light Sport Aircraft

Who will profit most by my purchase [of an LSA]? Who will profit least by my purchase? The trend of business in the U.S. today seems to be driven by the notion that we can simply be the brokers and let everyone else do the "work." Our fathers left us with the ability to economically rule the world. They also left us with a furiously chaotic business plan. The result is a nation of service without production. Since service has no assets, we must mortgage anything we can find to buy the production we no longer do. So, who will really profit by these short-term toys? Larry Fries

T-2 Buckeyes Not Entirely Retired

Re: T-2 Buckeyes To Retire (AVwebFlash, Feb. 1): Just as an FYI, VX-20 (NAS Patuxent River) plans on flying the T-2 as a chase aircraft for a while longer. I believe they are actually acquiring a few of the aircraft retiring from Pensacola. Judson Rupert

Tetra-Ethyl Lead

If I had an aircraft that required 100LL, I would read every report from Innospec, the only manufacturer of tetra-ethyl lead (TEL). Here is a quote from their 2007 third quarter report, available on their Web site:
"In Octane Additives, operating income for the third quarter was $2.3 million, compared with $10.3 million a year ago. The gross profit margin was 50.6 percent, compared with 55.7 percent a year ago. Revenues of $16.2 million were down 49 percent from a year ago. The reduced results in Octane Additives primarily reflect a shift in certain shipments from the third to the fourth quarter, as well as the continuing longer-term decline in the tetra ethyl lead business."
The report also shows that Octane Additives sales were $16.2 million out of a total revenue of $143 million, about 11 percent. Given the declining sales, declining profit margin and the large costs to decommission a [TEL] manufacturing facility, if you were in charge, how long would you continue production? Angus J. McCamant

Fuel Prices and User Fees!

AVweb wrote (Question of the Week, Feb. 6): Which is more likely to ground you first: rising fuel prices or the added expense of user fees? My answer: Yes Randy Wilhite
Fuel prices are devastating. User fees would finish me off. Robert Neumann

A Pilot's History: Chap. 6

Carl: Just a note to say thanks for sharing your experiences, taking the time to provide a picture of the early days of commercial aviation from the real side (Skywritings, Feb. 7). Harry Clark
As an "Ex" of North American/Trans American Airlines 1953/1956, I appreciate your memories. Brings back a load of good ones for me. Looking forward to the continuation. Bert Yuttal
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