March 1, 1998

With trusting eyes ...

Ellen Paneok joined the ranks of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and Gill Rob Wilson as one of the best pilot-writers to capture the spiritual aspect of "the airman's world," as she described it in " With Trusting Eyes Behind Me" (January Pilot).

Having lived and flown the midwest's northern tier of states in the winter, with its aurora borealis, 30-below wind chill, and eerie and lonely nights, Paneok helped us to feel the steel-sharp cold, taste the darkness, and experience the soul-warming presence of fellow humans sharing the same space.

Kirk AOPA 210683 and Zola Fowler
Woodinville, Washington

I want to thank Paneok for capturing the joy of flight so vividly. Sometimes it's hard to remember the magic that first drew us all to flying as a career or hobby. We get so tangled up in the rules and requirements, the systems and numbers, that we forget how privileged we are to be among the few who know the sky's enchantment. Paneok obviously remembers and, in so doing, reminds the rest of us. Even under the terribly difficult conditions she describes, her love of flying shines through — and we can all be grateful that she shared it with us.

David G. White AOPA 604751
Niceville, Florida

Whose error?

In " Safety Pilot: Runway Incursions," by Bruce Landsberg (January Pilot), a GA pilot deviation occurred when a Cessna 172RG taxied onto the runway at an intersection, in front of a Boeing 737 cleared for takeoff, after being cleared "into position and hold."

It appears to me that air traffic control did not know where the Cessna was. If its pilot performed his runup at the hold line of the intersection, requested takeoff clearance, and was then cleared "into position and hold," it is not expected procedure to taxi to the end of the runway as the article states. Even if he was at the end of the runway, I do not think that ATC should clear him "into position and hold" behind a 737 taking off. I would think that could be a difficult task.

In my mind, it was not pilot deviation. It was an air traffic control error, because the pilot did as instructed.

Frank Klein AOPA 556397
Manhattan, Kansas

Bruce Landsberg responds: NASA's Aviation Safety Reporting System report classified that incident as a pilot deviation; additional information was not available. Clearance to taxi to a runway, without further instructions, means to taxi to the end of the runway. We don't know where the pilot was when this occurred. Personally, I always look both ways before entering a runway, clearance or not.

The art of flying

It was with tremendous appreciation that I read " President's Position: Looking Back" (January Pilot). Phil Boyer has eloquently touched upon an issue of great significance in modern-day aviation, one that is often overshadowed by the big-bucks glamour of constantly upgraded products and ever-more-expensive aircraft.

Aviation has been a central part of my life for as long as I can remember. However, as I share my passion for flying with an even more obscure profession — modern classical music — and live in a part of the world where pleasure flying has been largely priced and regulated away, taking care of the love of aviation is a tremendously expensive proposal. Two or three times a year I travel back to the United States for an additional rating, or simply to hone skills. And, yes, the entire trip, including the flight, aircraft rental, and hotels, costs significantly less than would the same amount of flying time in Europe. No, it is not a logical thing for persons in my position to do, but, yes, it is deeply rewarding.

Many times, after reading an aviation magazine, I have asked myself: "What is wrong with these people? Don't they know that it is a privilege to fly, one which our forefathers dreamed of for hundreds of thousands of years?" Lest we take it for granted, let us never forget that flying is one of man's greatest cultural accomplishments. Technology has perfected the vessels of flying, but we should remember that the great artists have shown us the way; it is from them that we have inherited the passion, the longing to take to the skies.

Boyer's article illustrates, better than any other I have ever read, the reason I joined AOPA 12 years ago.

John-Edward Kelly AOPA 924163
Kirchsahr, Germany

Welcome, Rod

I was happy that AOPA selected Rod Machado as its newest columnist for Pilot magazine. It is refreshing to see a full-time flight instructor, a professional writer and speaker — and a pilot who will take the time to listen and talk to everyone who stops him — reach this level of recognition.

I think that Rod will make an enormous contribution to Pilot and his articles will pass on a wealth of knowledge.

Jim Trusty AOPA 795382
Old Hickory, Tennessee

Going around

I enjoyed Dan Namowitz's " New Pilot: Go Around" (January Pilot) and agree that the pilot's ability to control the airplane in this situation is certainly primary. However, I don't think that he went far enough in discussing the remainder of what happens in a common go-around situation; namely, the incursion onto the runway of another aircraft.

There are numerous incidents during which (for whatever reason) a departing pilot does not see another aircraft on final at an uncontrolled field, and the arriving pilot has no safe choice but to go around. Yes, the pilot must be able to properly handle the machine, but what then? It was hammered into my pea brain many years ago to fly the airplane first, then turn away from the runway and fly parallel to it, so that it is in sight along with the departing airplane at all times.

A tragic but relevant example was the unfortunate death of two pilots at our airport some years ago. A STOL-equipped Cessna 170 pulled onto the runway to depart at midfield, attempting to take off before a Mooney on final. The Mooney pilot initiated a go-around, leveling off and flying down the centerline of the runway. The 170, unaware of the Mooney rapidly overtaking him from directly behind and above, continued an incredibly high-angle takeoff — directly into the Mooney. Neither pilot survived.

Phil Ehlinger AOPA 588360
Daytona Beach, Florida

Why not general aviation?

How timely! In " Pilot Briefing" (January Pilot), you allude to John Hendricks, CEO of Discovery Communications Incorporated, which produces and exhibits the program Wings on the Discovery Channel. I have watched the programming for quite some time and notice that it deals mostly with warbirds. As we are attempting to encourage people to enter the general aviation market, how nice it would be for Wings to go to Independence, Kansas; Vero Beach, Florida; Kerrville, Texas; and, yes, even the Maule factory to videotape the manufacturing process and use of single-engine GA aircraft as a selling tool for getting people in aviation. I'm certain that many people would enjoy this type of programming.

Darrel Holland AOPA 475910
Newton, Illinois

Instrument insight

Having recently struggled through instrument knowledge tests for both the instrument and instrument ground instructor certificates, I appreciated Thomas A. Horne's " Instrument Insights: Balancing the Juggling Act" (January Pilot), which put into perspective those confusing questions about the primary and supporting instruments for pitch and bank control — the first writing I had found that made it logical and understandable, and in a relatively concise treatment of the subject.

Vincent D'Angelo AOPA 1253758
Naples, Florida

I thoroughly enjoyed Horne's article on instrument scans, but cringed at his selection of the word dart when describing a transition from one gauge to another. I've noticed, both with other pilots and with myself over the years, that too quick a scan can lead to seeing without understanding.

When I was in instrument training, one of my instructors had a neat trick to break the habit of rushing from one instrument to the next. Once we got the basic sequence down, he made me vocalize what I was doing. For example, I would say, "Airspeed is 105 knots. Is this acceptable? Yes." We did this in every configuration, including unusual attitudes, where keeping to the discipline became mighty hard. Gradually we shortened the monologue to calling out only the value observed, saying, "Airspeed 105. OK."

A thousand hours later, I still use the same "out-loud" mantra in my Aztec. This not only requires me to be fully aware of the proper values in every flight configuration (as also suggested by Horne), but also keeps me scanning slowly enough to fully understand what I'm really looking at and looking for.

Philip O'Reilly AOPA 822289
West Chester, Pennsylvania

A matter of choice

Finally someone has had both the common sense and the guts to speak out on the stupid mandating of ELTs, if only in a letter to the editor. I refer to Leonard Uecker's letter (" Letters," January Pilot). I couldn't agree more! I suppose that I would fall into his "deep-pocket-flyer" category (I fly a Baron with Victor Black Edition engines in it), but I'll tell you straight out that, regardless of cost, I would not carry an ELT if I had any choice in the matter.

As Uecker correctly states, I can file a flight plan or tell my friends where I am going. Even the fact that a downed airplane can usually be found quite easily without an ELT is beside the point. The point is that carrying an ELT should be a matter of individual choice.

Dean S. Edmonds, Jr. AOPA 432518
Naples, Florida


I enjoyed Barry Schiff's " Proficient Pilot: Power Squared" (January Pilot). His comments that many normally aspirated engines are operated "oversquare" is right on the money. Many of the older engines that turned fixed-pitch propellers at 1,400 to 2,000 rpm were installed in aircraft with low service ceilings and spent much of their time operating oversquare. Oversquare becomes a problem only with controllable propellers, and then the main problem is with turbosupercharged and supercharged engines.

Schiff's description of manifold pressure is incorrect. His description better fits that of brake mean effective pressure (BMEP), which is the major problem with oversquare operation of any engine. A BMEP beyond design limits of the engine will lead to preignition and detonation, which will stress the whole engine. Too high a BMEP will also overload the bearings.

A better description of manifold pressure would be the pressure between the throttle plate and the intake valves. With the engine shut down, this should equate to the pressure indicated in the altimeter with the altimeter set to field elevation. As a matter of fact, this is a good way to check the accuracy of the manifold pressure gauge.

William D. Fey AOPA 216959
Fort Worth, Texas


Incorrect pilot hiring statistics were presented in " AOPA Access" (February Pilot). In November, hiring was up, with 14 major and 35 national airlines hiring.

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