AVmail: June 7, 2010 »

Letter of the Week: Getting Real With ADS-B The way I've always understood the implementation of ADS-B is that the promise to GA was the benefit of ADS-B in at the cost of ADS-B out . The understanding was that the cost of both a GPS and a UAT were what we as GA pilots paid to obtain that benefit. When I upgraded my panel, I did everything but purchase a UAT because it really wasn't available and nothing talked to it. What happened to that dream? ... Perhaps this is an opportunity for economic growth? Let's get some of those "stimulus" dollars working by stimulating our avionics industries to produce the gear we need and hire techs to install them into all those aircraft which would benefit from a basic GNS-430W/GTX-330ES upgrade (or a newer, lower-cost replacement for that combination). Perhaps the FAA will get the spirit and help the manufacturers by searching for ways to meaningfully reduce the overhead costs to certify the new equipment; maybe something like what the LSA people are doing? ... If the FAA wants to mandate new technology, good; it's about time. If they really want to see that technology deployed, then get busy and find ways to help the manufacturers deliver quality products for a price that makes sense on the benefit/value side of things. Jim McDuffie Click through to read the full text of Jim's letter and other missives from AVweb readers — mostly on ADS-B ... . More

AVmail: May 24, 2010 »

Letter of the Week: Who Controls Whom? [Regarding the guest blog by Cleveland air traffic controller Jason Wilson:] Controllers are employed for the pilot's benefit. It is never the other way around. PATCO was a proving point to this fact. This fact apparently once again needs to made clear to Wilson and the newer controllers' union, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, that, like it or not, when a pilot declares an emergency, the pilot receives everything from ATC, no exceptions. Monday morning quarterback the incident later. Bad-mouth the pilot all you want, but that pilot is the sole reason you are in your government-protected position. In my 50+ years of aviation, I only "requested" a different controller twice and immediately got a different voice on the radio. I don't recall any emergency that required special handling. But if I had needed special handling, I would not have taken any question or hesitation from some controller. S. S. McDonald More

AVmail: May 10, 2010 »

Letter of the Week: Clearance Change Overdue The change to the FAA "Taxi to Runway" clearance is way overdue. ICAO procedures (in use outside the U.S.) require that a pilot receive a clearance to cross each individual runway when taxiing from any point on an airport to another point on the airport. This has been a set-up for U.S. pilots, used to FAA regs and unaware of ICAO procedures, to have a runway incursion when outside the U.S. Bob Ryan Click through to read the rest of this week's letters. More

AVmail: April 26, 2010 »

Letter of the Week: The Question of LORAN Your " Question of the Week " missed the point.  What is needed for a GPS backup is E-LORAN (which uses the LORAN-C infrastructure).  The upgrade and implementation of E-LORAN (Enhanced LORAN) was almost complete before the current government reversed several past Congressional decisions.  E-LORAN is almost as accurate as GPS (within feet).  A complete E-LORAN system in the U.S. costs less than one GPS satellite.  E-LORAN has been able to be fully intergrated into a GPS receiver to give it complete navigation redundancy.  That is why 13 other countries in the world will not shut down their E-LORAN systems. The correct answer to your question is Don't shut down LORAN, but finish upgrading it to E-LORAN so inexpensive GPS/LORAN combo receivers can be used for position, navigation, and timing. ... Miles Muller Click through to read the rest of Mr. Muller's letter — and messages from our readers. More

AVmail: April 19, 2010 »

Letter of the Week: Human Factors The assertion that the Polish crew did not come under any pressure to land in poor weather is premature. While they may not have had any direct pressure in the cockpit, as may be indicated by the comments about the CVR, I wonder what happened after that other pilot defied the President and diverted from Tbilisi in 2008. If there were negative consequences, that may well have weighed on the mind of the accident crew. In addition, the importance of [the] Katyn Massacre to Poles may be a factor as well. And, of course, all of what I have just said is speculation as well. Like any accident, we'd best wait for the investigation to be complete. I just hope the investigators dig a little deeper than pilot error. No one (or very few anyway) sets out to kill himself in an airplane. Whatever the pilots were doing, it probably made sense to them at the time. The question is, "Why?" As Sydney Dekker has said, "Human error is not an explanation. Human error demands explanation." Cameron Fraser Click through to read the rest of this week's letters. More

AVmail: April 5, 2010 »

Letter of the Week: History Lesson It's exciting that Helldiver wreckage has been found recently, both from the aspect of perhaps identifying some long-lost crewmen and because of the aircraft's rarity. Thanks for bringing us this news; I was just at Tillamook last fall, and the blimp hanger alone was worth the trip from Connecticut. Helldivers gave short-lived but critical service in the Central Pacific theater, and it was a great pleasure to see the CAF's Helldiver fly recently. ... Harold Moritz Click through to read the rest of our "Letter of the Week" and more mail from AVweb readers. More

AVmail: March 29, 2010 »

Letter of the Week: Make Transponders Mandatory How many [midair crashes] will it take before everything in the air has to have a working transponder? And if you can afford to fly, you can afford a transponder. Those of us who don't want to be hit by traffic we can't see will also buy some sort of TCAS. Once you have one, you won't believe how many aircraft get really close to you without you seeing them. You will be totally blown away how often it happens when you are being "watched" on radar by your overworked ATC. Tim Hodges Click through to read the rest of this week's letters. More

AVmail: March 22, 2010 »

Letter of the Week: Light Sport's Future Is Bright As Is Last week, Larry Stencel submitted a letter entitled " Revamp Light Sport to Save GA ." His letter suggested that the Light Sport movement has failed to be the "last great hope" for aviation. Mr. Stencel's view of the light sport industry is far different than our experience. This letter is submitted on behalf of the owners and managers of Chesapeake Sport Pilot. We opened our doors in January 2007 with one aircraft, two instructors, a handful of students, and a pilot's lounge as a pre-flight/post-flight briefing area. Fast forward to today: We have eight light sport aircraft and seventeen instructors. We have over 60 active students and many more active renters. We built a 6,000-square-foot hangar facility this past fall. All of this was built on the shoulders of light sport aircraft and sport pilots. The Owners and Management of Chesapeake Sport Pilot Click through for the rest of CSP's letter from the front lines of LSA — as well as more letters from AVweb readers. More

AVmail: March 15, 2010 »

Letter of the Week: Revamp Light Sport to Save GA The real world responses to this week's Question of the Week on the FAA's 2030 Aviation Forecast once again underscore the fact that the FAA's "last great hope" for aviation, Light Sport, is going to go the way of the 1990s recreational pilot and the Dodo bird. It's high time that everyone involved "gets" the fact that aviation is a sunset industry [unless there's] a massive paradigm shift in thinking. All of the ongoing positive accolades from FAA and EAA and AOPA aside, Light Sport has produced only 3,248 Light Sport pilots in just over five years. That's about one Light Sport pilot per State per month. The total number of active U.S. pilots is down more than 35 percent since the heyday of the early 1980s. Something has to be done. Larry Stencel Click through to read the rest of Mr. Stencel's letter and other missives from our reader mailbag. More

AVmail: March 8, 2010 »

Letter of the Week: "Ultimately Correct" In his letter , Terry Adams seems to decry a pilot's claim for medical benefits from one Federal Agency while not revealing his medical condition to the FAA, accusing that the pilot "lies" on his FAA paperwork with the result that he endangered others. Terry Adams is wrong. The FAA had erred in prohibiting the unreported condition and the medications used to treat it, and subsequently reversed themselves and approved both. While I don't condone the pilot's failure to report, I think the pilot ultimately proved correct. It appears Mr. Adams is disturbed that another pilot was able to save his career from wrong-headed bureaucrats. George Horn Click through to read the rest of this week's letters. More