AVmail: April 14, 2014

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Letter of the Week:
Adjusting GA

I find it very interesting that AOPA is planning to refurbish three Cessna 152s looking for a price point of $85,000.  Also, the comments about the 1,320-pound gross weight limit for LSA being a problem in the U.S. for flight schools.

Both of these concerns lead me to believe, as others do, that the LSA regulation should have a gross weight of around 2,000 pounds.  This would take in a lot of very reasonable two-seat airplanes.

Along with this, rather than eliminating the Class 3 medical requirement, the FAA could make the change from a five-year medical to a two-year medical more gradual, such as establishing a four-year Class 3 at age 45 and a three-year medical limit at age 50 rather than totally eliminating the Class 3 medical.

As an AME, I think the Class 3 medical examination, while rarely finding a new diagnosis on an applicant, serves as a screening process through an AME that convinces a pilot it's time to stop flying.

A pilot more than 80 years old who has Type II diabetes and is taking medications for depression and "memory" (a.k.a. senility) should not be flying as PIC.  There are definitely some pilots who should not be flying because of health issues.

Larry W. James

Medical Issues

In Canada, we can fly an ultralight (similar to LSA) with a permit, which requires a sort of declared medical where you sign that you have not had any of the illnesses listed on the Transport Canada form.  I have a pacemaker, so they throw the book at me and want a step test, etc.

I did this once, but due to cost and not wanting to unnecessarily stress my heart decided to give up flying.  I can still drive my van, and those of us older than 80 take an eye test and written exam every two years to maintain our driver's license.  I have been perfectly well with the pacemaker, have it checked every year, and they last about 10 years and are changed.

I can drive my van at speed through cities where failure due to health problems could cause much more damage than that in an ultralight.

I am a retired airworthiness engineer, and we used risk analysis to decide what to allow.  I think the way to handle the medical is through a risk analysis.  So far, I've had no problems with my health and, from a search through the computer, have found aircraft accidents due to health problems to be less than one percent.

Keith Walker

AME Issues

The doctors didn't cry about losing a few physicals to the light sport movement, but now that they stand to lose big bucks from a lot of people not getting physicals, they claim it's a safety issue.  According to the figures I've heard about, this isn't a safety issue; it's all about money and politics.

Greg Hill

Let's Be Clear

Is there any chance you could get the FAA to stop using "proactive" (unless they're referencing acne cream) and "synergy"?  It's hard enough to navigate the acronyms much less that sort of trite drivel.

Jennifer Carr

Virtual Earthrounders

I just wanted to mention that we are in the midst of the 50th anniversary of Jerrie Mock's solo around-the-world flight.  She was the first woman to do so -- and in a Cessna 180, no less!  The plane -- N1538C, The Spirit of Columbus -- hangs in the Smithsonian's Udvar-Hazy Center.

Jerrie is still alive and living in northern Florida.  Her trip is being reconstructed "as it happened" on Facebook and anyone can follow along, even without a Facebook account.

There is also a comparable Twitter feed.

Thanks for helping to spread the word!

Charles Lawson

April Foolishness

You did not disappoint with your April 1 edition.  Having lived in South Florida for a couple of years, I certainly hope that you were only kidding about snowbird-hunting season being rescinded this year.  I know a lot of hunters who look forward to that every year.  But if we wipe out the snowbirds, what will we do with that empty left lane on the roadways?

Howie Fuller

Great edition!  I couldn't tell how many of the items were for real, which is the mark of great writing.  What gave it away to me, having seen the Snowbirds and Blue Angels fly in the same show at Abbotsford, is that the Snowbirds would never be that desperate for such solidarity.  Sportsmanship can only go so far when you have a reputation to maintain.

Tom Jensen