Top letters and comments, April 22, 2022

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Updated airport design guidelines include turf operations

I have 31″ Alaskan Bushwheels on my Maule MX-7-180, so I land on grass whenever possible. They cost $1,800 each and wear out faster when used on pavement. Many GA airports have a grass runway next to the hard surface runway, but the condition varies widely. Some have obstructions such as signs or lights or drain grates. Others have only a narrow mowed strip and the rest is tall grass or weeds. Some are so steep that landing is risky. None of the tower airports I’ve used have grass runways. The fact that the FAA officially supports airport design that includes grass runways is a welcome change. Tail draggers like grass and this reduces the possibility of a ground loop on landing, which has a safety benefit as well as reducing insurance claims.

Andrew M.

Good shot, but unfortunately for probably the majority of small airports out there, obstacles abound in most unpaved areas. Sometimes this can be overcome with the application of sufficient dollars, but it is fraught with the likelihood that limited user demand will not convince the purse-string holders to release those dollars.

Jean W

Southwest pilots say fatigue most pressing issue

Fatigue has long been the source of many safety hazards. It has been present in the ATC environment for a long time. Despite numerous studies including a NASA study, the government continues to allow the union to dictate work schedules and shift rotations contrary to “science”. I chose this profession for the benefits and love of aviation, but I can tell you without a doubt that the fatigue-induced planning has aged me mentally and physically in a way that only people who ‘endure the same way can understand. Nothing is ever a problem until it is, or rather when something tragic happens.

Kevin K.

Instead of publicly debating whether fatigue occurs in the men and women who transport my family members in their professional care at altitude, I would like to see efforts to see what makes these people feel that way. Are the FAs also tired? And the mechanics? Is there any evidence that the pilot shortage is to blame? Time is time. The PIC indicates “Go” or “No Go” or “Divert”. If Dispatch has a problem with this, let them fix their problem.

Maybe there is a crew schedule problem. If so, does the airline really understand it? And spending the night should never become a problem. If so, crews should document it and provide that documentation to the reps. When steel is subject to corrosion, eventually we see rust. When fatigue is ignored and allowed to build up, safety degrades just like this corroding metal, and it can eventually kill people like me.

Perhaps the union tried to circumvent this issue and failed through the normal channels. So they put it in our face. The very last answer I want to hear as someone who travels in the back is, “…the airline says they follow the crew rest regulations to the letter.” Herb Kellefer would never have tolerated this kind of atmosphere.

John C.

Short finale: what to fail

During a night departure, I asked an instructor to turn off the landing lights to enter an unlit grass field. I missed the approach – he wanted me to land. I told him that even if I felt able to do it, if I had to do it, there was no way I was doing it on purpose. I asked – if this is a test of judgment then I guess I passed – if this is a requirement to rent your plane overnight then we can go back to the land right away, and I’ll look elsewhere for a plane to rent. He calmed down and rented me the plane – preparing for emergencies is important – provoking them is not.

Bill L.

During a double night flight with my instructor during private pilot training, we had our landing gear and signal lights fail in our Grumman AA-1B as we were landing at our airfield. uncontrolled tether on runway 21 (26 x 2830 feet). I looked at my instructor and he told me to get your flashlight out for the panel and land it. We landed without incident. It was an unplanned event that helped solidify my cross-country night training. Fast forward 5 years later on a solo night flight where the same thing happened in a Cessna 172P when returning to KFIT. I had the flashlight around my neck, put it in my mouth to illuminate the panel and landed without incident. Lots of valuable lessons learned from planned and unplanned incidents.

Mark R.

Poll: If eVTOL air taxi was available now, would you fly there?

  • I will expect real and demonstrated reliability. I’ve seen too many software-caused incidents to be on top of these things on purpose.
  • There are already many VTOL air taxi providers. Most people call them helicopters. Outside of the rides – including OSH – I’ve never really needed to make it an “air taxi”. Since I’m ambivalent about the propulsion system, I can’t imagine traveling in an electric helicopter either. So I guess the answer is “no”.
  • Not at all. I will not fly in a helicopter either. I want something that has at least a glide path.
  • Yes I would, once it was it was thoroughly tested in service.
  • It is already highly unlikely that I will fly an air transport device that I do not have the ability to control unless it is flown by a fully qualified commercial pilot experienced as a PIC. There are no such people or autonomous systems at present, so count me in for now!
  • VFR only / No ice / No strong winds / Able to fly with 50% of its engines.
  • Not as a primary mode of transportation, but if it offered quick access to a limited hotspot, I would consider it.
  • Depends on service provider and vehicle safety record.
  • If “now” refers to an eVTOL that has been flight tested, certified and trusted, then my answer is “yes”. Otherwise, no way.
  • Probably not. Too expensive compared to surface travel.
  • Later, after the bugs have been fixed.
  • I would, but one for my personal use.
  • I’ll give it some time to be tested before risking a stranger.
  • Depends on the cost/benefit calculation, it wouldn’t be an automatic choice.
  • Not at this stage. I should decide in the future.
  • Why is it different from a helicopter? Helicopters are not cost effective or capable of carrying large numbers of passengers, why is this different?
  • I would make them fly!!!
  • Depends on security backup. eVTOLs fly better than helicopters and airplanes until they no longer do.
  • I will fly myself.
  • Maybe, if I needed it.
  • It makes no sense in sparsely populated areas, which make up over 90% of the United States. It is a solution in search of a problem.
  • No. I’m not ready to be the crash test dummy.
  • Depends on the price.
  • Only if I could be PIC. 🙂
  • Aren’t they called helicopters?
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