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The boss says fly! I read your recent article ("The Boss Says Fly!" February Pilot) and I was wondering if AOPA would be able to assist my employer in the steps we would take to set up a company flying club like the ones you mentioned in the article. My boss (and the president of the company) has urged me to research this project, and I was hoping that you might be able to at least steer me in the right direction.

The boss says fly!

I read your recent article (" The Boss Says Fly!" February Pilot) and I was wondering if AOPA would be able to assist my employer in the steps we would take to set up a company flying club like the ones you mentioned in the article.

My boss (and the president of the company) has urged me to research this project, and I was hoping that you might be able to at least steer me in the right direction. We are a company that is very enthusiastic about general aviation; all three of the owners of Universal Traffic Service Inc. are pilots (and AOPA members) who would like to share their excitement for airplanes with all the people who work at this company.

Jeff Schweitzer AOPA 899163
Grand Rapids, Michigan

I just finished your article on flying clubs and thought it was great. I am an aircraft mechanic for UPS, and in my free time I am a CFII. I have had an interest for years in forming a company club but just didn't know where to start. There are so many of my coworkers and colleagues who fly that it just makes sense. I just need to convince Big Brown! Do you have any information on where I could start?

Kelly Madigan AOPA 4445364
Louisville, Kentucky

The AOPA Pilot Information Center on AOPA Online offers a 10-chapter guide to organizing and operating a flying club. — Editors

Island life

The February issue with our Seaborne Airlines article is awesome (" Island Life," February Pilot). However, I'm swamped with e-mails and résumés. Here are some basic minimums that might help cut back on some of the inquiries. Seaborne Airlines has operated in the Virgin Islands since 1992. We fly de Havilland DHC-6 Twin Otters on floats. Our requirements for hiring consideration are: at least 1,500 hours; a multiengine rating (DHC-6 experience a plus); an airline transport or commercial certificate with multiengine seaplane rating; willingness to relocate; and U.S. citizenship or documentation of eligibility to work in the United States.

Living on an island is not the same as living in the states. You are confined to a small area (St. Croix is 26 miles long and six miles wide at the widest point; St. Thomas is even smaller), which has been known to create a claustrophobic feeling, locally labeled "rock fever." Food is higher in cost, and many times you cannot find items you need or desire when you want them. On the plus side we have sun, sand, and great water sports, no heating bills, low property taxes, and beautiful weather 90 percent of the time.

Because we operate on water, the cost of crew training is significantly higher, and therefore we are looking for candidates who are willing to commit long term with Seaborne Airlines. If you are looking for a different chapter of your aviation career and meet our requirements, we look forward to hearing from you.

Wayne D'Amico, chief pilot, Seaborne Airlines
Christiansted, St. Croix, USVI


As former chairman of the Flight Training Department at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's Daytona Beach campus in Florida, I wish to add my voice to Phil Boyer's in spreading the word about automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (" President's Position: ADS-B," January Pilot).

The results of the FAA's experiment in Alaska with Capstone provided compelling evidence that ADS-B could help pilots see and avoid terrain, weather, and other similarly equipped traffic using the cockpit presentations afforded by this equipment. I believe Alaskan pilots using ADS-B have experienced a drop of nearly 25 percent in accidents caused by controlled flight into terrain, not to mention impact with other aircraft. Our experience at Embry-Riddle seems to validate the conclusions reached by Capstone regarding near midair collisions (NMACs).

I have been studying NMAC event reports submitted by Embry-Riddle instructor and student pilots before and after the installation of ADS-B fleetwide. The results to date (September 2004 through December 2005) seem to indicate a greater than 50-percent reduction in NMAC events. Since Embry-Riddle operates in a very heavily trafficked area, with more than 300 other GA and multiple corporate and commercial aircraft every day, the results of this study have enormous implications for all aviation, but primarily GA. The cost cited is nearly 20 percent less than Embry-Riddle paid to install its equipment per aircraft less than two years ago. The introduction of multiple manufacturers and the potential demand surely will drive the cost to a level that will not seriously encumber the average GA pilot.

With the approach of free flight and the replacement of airport surveillance radars with ground-based transceivers and ADS-B, the airspace system will become safer and more informative and allow pilots and their managers significant options not available today.

Richard P. Theokas AOPA 3580944
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Daytona Beach, Florida

Test Pilot

Barry Schiff's February " Test Pilot" piqued my interest and brain cells as I tried to remember exactly how things were done. I'm referring to the true-or-false question (number 13) about helicopters crossing the Atlantic nonstop. Years ago, in the late 1970s, when I was on active duty at Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Service, I was involved with the attempt to fly several HH-53 (Jolly Green Giant) helicopters across the pond. This was to be a demonstration that we could deploy our aircraft to cover the rescue effort in the European theater. I think it was done by at least three, if not more, helicopters (with lots of weather recon support and air refueling from our HC-130s). I do remember that it took three or four attempts, and Gen. Saunders was in the lead chopper.

Joseph C. Hampton AOPA 677652
Newport News, Virginia

I enjoy "Test Pilot" in AOPA Pilot, but I think Mr. Schiff is wrong in the February issue regarding question 13. He states that no helicopter has flown the Atlantic nonstop. Not so. Circa 1967, two Sikorsky H-3s did so while operations testing air-to-air refueling operations while taking on periodic fuel from a C-130 tanker. This was part of the U.S. Air Force testing to increase the capability of Air Force combat rescue operations in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. I think the models were CH-3s and later designated HH-3E when they were finally configured for the rescue combat role. They had drop tanks and the refueling system. Herb Zehnder was the lead pilot on the mission; his rank was maybe a major at the time. Later, HH-53s crossed over the Pacific the same way leaving Alaska.

Retired Col. Jay Strayer, U.S. Air Force AOPA 1637389
Jamestown, Ohio

Barry Schiff writes, "I meant to ask about nonrefueled helicopters flying nonstop across the Atlantic, but I failed to mention the nonrefueled part."

Do the right thing

It's interesting and a little ironic that Bruce Landsberg happened to mention Ricky Nelson and his Fools Rush In song in the "Safety Pilot" installment in the February issue of AOPA Pilot (" Safety Pilot: Do the Right Thing"). Although poor aeronautical decision making might not have entered into the equation, Nelson died in an airplane crash in the DeKalb, Texas, area on December 31, 1985. He and his band were flying in a Douglas DC-3 that apparently caught fire when its heater malfunctioned. Rick (he'd dropped the y years earlier), his fiancee, and his band (the Stone Canyon Band) lost their lives in that crash. The weather wasn't so great that night, either, helping to increase the odds of a mishap. Regardless, Landsberg's "Do the Right Thing" makes this pilot think back to questionable practices that other pilots have bragged about, things that are just waiting to go wrong.

Tom Griffith AOPA 1375077
Aubrey, Texas

Flashlight roundup

I know we shouldn't shoot the messenger, but I thought I'd send a note about one of the flashlights in your article (" Pilot Products: Flashlight Roundup," February Pilot). The item in question is the battery-free LED Shakelight. The Shakelight generates the power for the light by the same method used by all generators/alternators. That is, a coil of wire is moved within the magnetic field created by a magnet of some sort. In the Shakelight, the magnet is a permanent magnet, and taking one of those into the cabin of an airplane will cause the compass to lose its mind. It happened to me on a training flight. The student brought one into the airplane and was using it for the usual tasks — reading the chart, reading the flight plan, and so forth. When it was on his lap between actual uses, the compass was only off about 10 degrees, but when he brought it up to chest level to provide illumination, the compass went off more than 30 degrees.

Ken Sharp AOPA 1088246
Eatonton, Georgia

Magnets can be found in several items you might bring into the cockpit, such as GPS and cell-phone antennas. Always ensure that no interference from portable devices exists prior to using the magnetic compass for navigation. — Editors


The $3,700 figure published in the article on the Cessna 206 (" Cessna Turbo 206: Panel Truck," February Pilot) is for the float provision kit, consisting of struts and other hardware for attaching a set of floats. The actual floats will, of course, cost much more. — Editors

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

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