Top Letters and Comments, June 29, 2018


Boeing’s New Hypersonic Concept

I’d love to see the technology advance. I’ve been following Reaction Engines in the U.K. for several years. The have a very interesting concept for using ultra-high-efficiency heat exchangers to produce oxygen from the air to use in rocket propulsion, thus reducing the need for the weight of O2 on board. Having said that, you have to wonder why someone would want to travel all that way, for all that expense, to spend so little time at his or her destination. I have heard of people riding the Concorde from the U.K. to New York for shopping trips. Maybe this new aircraft could be the ultimate shopping bag.

James Freal

It’s about market segmentation. This would never be mass-market, but targeted at business people and high $ personal travelers who place a very high value on their time. NYC to Singapore typically takes >24 hours now. Huge win for that type of traveler.

Mike Green

I don’t blame Boeing for trying, but if the Concorde wasn’t a commercial success, a Mach 5 aircraft certainly won’t be. And there’s still the issue of the sonic boom, and as far as I’m aware, that hasn’t been solved to the point of allowing over-land flights. And unless that can be solved, I don’t see how any high-speed atmospheric vehicle can be a commercial success.

Gary Baluha

Checkride Delays

I met a DPE about 2 years ago at KASH. He told me that as a result of changes instituted by the FAA on how DPEs maintained currency that he had decided to retire. Before the change time spent giving a check ride counted towards currency and after the change only time spent flying as actual PIC counted. Since he was primarily a multi-engine SPE he was not prepared to keep current at his own expense. This may also explain why there are fewer DPEs now.

Stephen Malkinson

Major checkride delays cause major checkride costs. Try $700-$1000 in Socal.

Rafael Sierra

It’s time the FAA start recognizing the retiring rank and file coming out of the airlines, with all their different backgrounds and experiences. To be able to run through a more streamlined process for becoming an FAA flight examiner/designee. Tap this incredible resource in an effort to aid the industry and next generation of aviators.

Tom O’Toole

Space Ops

If space ops are put under FAA control, they will bury it in bureaucracy and nothing will advance, just like GA!

Matthew Wagner

Actually, tracking LEO objects can and is being done, and will be done commercially down to 2-cm size by 2019. BTW, with enough radar observations, debris orbits can be ascertained and even propagated forward in time — different problem from birds and insects. The key to space traffic mgmt are three approaches: 1) don’t make more (best practices happening); 2) debris removal (underway, long term) and 3) avoidance (tracking, mapping, tools emerging). By far, the most effective enabler for the next decade is “3.” Full disclosure, I work for

Alan DeClerck

Airlines Losing Weight

You probably wouldn’t believe the amount of engineering that goes into large object packaging to shave ounces. Those crazy looking things that hold engines (or other large items) and protect them during transport cost a LOT of money. Not only that, they are designed to weigh as little as possible because shipping is already going to want to make your eyes bleed just by seeing the bill. Multiply that by thousands of deliveries a year. One man on the design team got an award (and a free lunch) because he managed to save 6 ounces in one go.

Joe Servov