December 1, 2008

No airline would ever hire me

Over the years that I have been an AOPA member, AOPA Pilot has had numerous inspirational stories about what pilots have gone through for their love of flying. I believe none were as inspirational as the article about Logan Flood (“ No Airline Would Ever Hire Me,” October AOPA Pilot). I would consider it a privilege and an honor to be a passenger on one of his flights and to meet and congratulate him. He is truly an inspiration to us all. Thanks for another great article.

Cullen Duke, AOPA 5310102
Fort Wayne, Indiana

I want to commend you for sharing with us the well-written story on Logan Flood. To read his experience and try

to understand what Mr. Flood has overcome to achieve his dream is both humbling and inspiring. Anyone who works hard to reach their goals is an inspiration; however, someone who makes those accomplishments despite physical limitations is unquestionably a person of character and someone with whom I would be honored to fly. People like Mr. Flood make me proud to call myself a pilot.

Frank Pipitone, AOPA 5914311
Phoenix, Arizona

Great article about a great young man. I hope that, in my travels, I have the privilege of being one of this pilot’s passengers. I would have to resist the urge to give him a big bear hug as I told him just how inspiring he really is.

Chris DeVol, AOPA 5095890
Sunbury, Ohio

I am a 28-year Navy veteran. My expertise was in medicine. I have treated many people during that time, from combat to peacetime, from shore to ship. Mr. Flood’s story touched me and made me realize that if we go after what we want—even when faced with, in my case, small obstacles—we get where we want to go. He has inspired me and I only hope that I am half as good a pilot, and man, as he is.

Steven L. Meyer, AOPA 1155760
Round Rock, Texas

I just read your incredibly inspiring story about an incredibly inspiring human being, Logan Flood. I was deeply moved by his perseverance, courage, positive attitude, and his abiding love of aviation. He is a tremendous role model not only for current and aspiring pilots, but for everyone who has encountered adversity and seemingly impossible circumstances. As someone who has been fortunate enough to realize my professional dreams, I have the deepest admiration for Mr. Flood for his strength of character, and the great message his positive attitude and Herculean efforts to fly exhibit. His airline employer deserves great credit for recognizing and rewarding such talent and bravery. In the world we live in, these types of stories are so beneficial and uplifting. Your article is a must-read for all who are in need of inspiration and hope.

Mark J. Robens, AOPA 1545115
Scottsdale, Arizona

I read your story about Logan Flood and wanted to tell you how well you told it. I also thought I’d let you know there is another story within the story. You see, I got my private ticket this past November. Much of my instruction was from Logan. That in itself is not that remarkable; however I am a paraplegic. So if you can imagine it, a guy in a wheelchair being taught to fly by a burn victim. Basically it was one disabled guy helping out another, and along the way we encouraged each other. He pushed me to get my certificate, and I pushed him away from that desk at Duncan. I don’t want to steal Logan’s thunder; I just thought this was an interesting follow-up.

Shad Dahlgren, AOPA 5564933
Raymond, Nebraska

Editor’s note: AOPA Pilot received a record number of responses to “ No Airline Would Ever Hire Me: The Logan Flood Story,” which was published both in the magazine and online.


Blind to the satellites

Don’t you find it just a little ironic that the FAA wants pilots to install the 406 MHz ELT, but the Civil Air Patrol cannot afford the cost of the directional finders in order to find a downed airplane (“ Blind to the Satellites,” October AOPA Pilot)?

I guess the next question would be, how long will it be before the FCC allows other things to infringe on the 406 MHz band? It might have been cheaper to upgrade units to the five-watt output instead of building a unit with two
different frequencies so the SAR can save money.

Sam Hord, AOPA 5675244
Princeton, Idaho

I can certainly understand why most GA pilots will not be flocking to spend upwards of $3,000 to have a new ELT installed. But I think that it would be fair to say that most of us would line up to purchase a $500 unit.

So here is a million-dollar idea. You mentioned that portable units could be purchased for around $500. Why doesn’t AOPA partner with the maker of these portable units, but make one change in the unit. In addition to transmitting on 406, add a 121.5 receiver chip to the unit. Program the unit so that when it receives a 121.5 broadcast of a certain threshold intensity (such as when in close proximity to an aircraft’s activated ELT) and duration, it retransmits on 406. The technology for this already exists and could be added to a “hardened” personal 406 ELT for almost no cost. Most GA aircraft already have the 121.5 ELT; with proper programming the new unit would then retransmit the 121.5 signal in the event of a crash and could avoid false alarms. For my cut of the profits, I will take a new Cirrus SR22 G3.

Tim Eaton, AOPA 5121189
Sparks, Nevada

Thanks for getting the word out about the future of 121.5 ELTs. If the FAA had mandated the 406 beacon back when the Coast Guard mandated EPIRBs, we wouldn’t be in the present position we are in. The pleasure boating community didn’t dry up or revolt. But we as an aviation community have resisted and kicked this can down the road. And AOPA was leading the resistance. So for eight years we could have had the time to upgrade, and AOPA could have been a proponent of safety for the fleet. Oh, well, another lost opportunity.

Scott Lawson, AOPA 714899
Windsor, Missouri

I have an older EBC102A beacon that I have been considering replacing, and plan to replace with an installed 406 MHz unit before we take a trip to the Caribbean next year. I also think that the loss of satellite monitoring should emphasize the importance of maintaining a listening watch on 121.5 when practicable in flight. It’s something we’re supposed to do anyhow—now we’ve got another reason to do so.

Josh Johnson, AOPA 4236005
Decatur, Illinois

Your article mentions that two satellites are always over the United States. What you do not mention is that there are geostationary satellites that do not provide location service unless your beacon has a GPS position encoded in the signal. So a search can be initiated based on a flight plan, if filed, but unless you made position reports the search will cover your entire plan (a good reason for position reports or flight plans with short legs).

But at least with 406 MHz signal the SAR coordinators have a registration to determine who is lost. Of the low-Earth-orbiting satellites currently five have operational SARSAT payloads according to COSPAS-SARSAT and use the Doppler effect to determine the signal location as they pass overhead. These help searchers determine your location, but they are not always there.

Each satellite passes directly over an area only twice a day. Depending on your location, your signal may be picked up by more than one adjacent “pass” by the satellite (the farther north you are the more likely this will be the case because these satellites are in highly inclined near polar orbits), but you could have a wait of several hours before a satellite is in view. I was an exchange officer with the Candian air forces and was the program manager for SARSAT in 1997-98.

Karl Mickelson, AOPA 3671233
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Editor’s note: In “ Blind to the Satellites,” October AOPA Pilot , the Emergency Beacon Corporation was incorrectly identified. AOPA Pilot regrets the error.


Fronts on the move

I have been reading articles in all the pilots’ magazines about flying and weather for more than 40 years and still never understood. Your article with those wonderful graphics (“ Wx Watch: Fronts on the Move,” October AOPA Pilot) put it all together for me clearly, and now I can put it together for good use. I now feel that I can really understand what I am looking at when I study the available weather information in order to make decisions for a flight.

Thomas D. Andrews, AOPA 4324009
Chicago, Illinois

We welcome your comments. Address letters to: Editor, AOPA Pilot, 421 Aviation Way, Frederick, Maryland 21701. Send e-mail to [email protected] . Please include your full name, address, and AOPA number on all correspondence, including e-mail. Letters will be edited for length and style.