Charles Stites did a great job of laying out the basics of automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B) (" The Future Is Now," November Pilot). We have a 1973 Cessna 182 that has been reborn with a total avionics makeover to include the Garmin GNS 480/MX20 and ADS-B. (We are one of the participating aircraft in North Carolina.) The airport I fly out of, Johnston County Airport, is in a military operations area and even the fast movers are displayed on the MX20. I have helped with several ADS-B demos around the state and every pilot who has seen it has been wowed by the technology. Now we just need a manufacturer to give us a package that includes a display and universe access transceiver for about the same price as a Garmin GPSMap 396 handheld.
The manufacturer of Charles Stites' Ryan Navion was incorrectly identified in the original story during the editing process — Ed.
Just a quick note to say thanks for the up-close and personal look at the sweepstakes Rockwell Commander in the November issue (" 2005 AOPA Sweepstakes: In-Flight Insights"). While I have enjoyed reading about all of the fun stuff that's been installed and the trips you've taken, I've been waiting for someone to talk about the airplane from a pilot's perspective. While the article is short of a full-blown pilot report, I feel that I now understand the airplane a little better.
I agree with all your comments about the assets and liabilities of the airplane's design. You noted all of the features that attracted me to the airplane: big windows for a great view; a wide, spacious cabin; and an easy two-door entry. After years of shoulder-cramping Cessna 172s and seat-crawling Piper Cherokees, I, for one, would really appreciate the Commander. And though it won't keep up with a Mooney, I'll bet it doesn't add more than 20 minutes to the typical cross-country flight.
I have a suggestion for another story: How is it to fly with the Chelton EFIS (electronic flight information system)? Have you found that it makes IFR flights any easier? Aside from learning all of the new buttons, I really wonder if the display symbology works as well as advertised. Hopefully, in a few more months I'll get to find out.
For more information on the Chelton EFIS, see " 2005 AOPA Sweepstakes: Leader of the Pack," in the December issue of Pilot.
I am the CFI mentioned in " Putting on Your Game Face," (November Pilot) which featured my student, now private pilot John Iazzi. I'm a firm believer in computer-based aids as a useful part of training for private and instrument pilots. During my own instrument training in the late 1990s, I used ASA's IP Trainer software with a simple joystick and mouse as controls. My old-school instructor was very much against computer "games." His resistance was justified to the extent that no game can simulate the activity level in a real-time cockpit environment. However, but for the IP Trainer, I might today still be pondering how to fly an NDB approach — a diminishing requirement these days, I know.
As to my former student, the article explains quite clearly how well prepared my student came for each lesson. His standards of performance relative to practical test standards were very impressive — he exercised finesse for the most part and was able to be assertive when needed, for example, on crosswind landings.
In summary, his flying skills were remarkable as was his dedication to studying for the FAA ground knowledge test. He was really disappointed to miss one question on his formal test. With flight schools debating how to deal with glass cockpits for primary and instrument students, I'm convinced that the demand for computer "games" will grow because they represent a cost-effective introduction to and recurrent method for training outside a real cockpit.
I read Bruce Landsberg's article " Safety Pilot: There Is No Safety in Politics," November Pilot, and his reference to the general news media's "sometimes-schizophrenic personality," with great interest. I was reminded of a quote by, I think, Langhorne Bond some 20 years ago in this magazine on the same subject. The quote, although probably not exactly recalled, was, "Aviation news occurs when the uninformed are interviewed by the unqualified to produce drivel for the uneducated." Nothing has changed.
Looking at the article in the November issue of Pilot about JetBlue's nose gear pointing 90 degrees to landing direction (" Proficient Pilot: Nosewheel Landing"), I thought it would be most logical to fly the airplane to New York City instead of flying around in circles to burn off fuel, especially given the price of fuel today.
I don't know if the crew tried to retract the gear and if the nose gear got in the way or not. The pilot could have flown the airplane at maximum altitude for this airplane to reduce drag. I was at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey many years ago when a twin Beech took off; the landing gear would not retract all the way, nor would it move in either direction. The pilot was making a delivery of this airplane.
He flew around for about an hour trying to raise or lower the gear and talk to people on the ground, including officials from Beechcraft, but it still would not move. He even flew the airplane inverted. He eventually landed the airplane with the engines off and set the prop blades horizontal. I thought he did an excellent job of landing the airplane, with very little damage done.
Thank you for publishing such an outstanding magazine. The articles are always interesting and informative. Occasionally an article sparks a host of memories. Such is the case with your article on Everts Air (" Legendary Aircraft, Extraordinary Service," November Pilot). As a former CH-47 pilot for the 6th Infantry Division, stationed at Fort Wainwright, near Fairbanks, Alaska, I remember the resupply missions we flew to remote sites around the state. I was fortunate enough to return to Alaska to visit and reminisce. During that visit, I found myself on the receiving end of supplies transported by Everts Air. We were based out of Port Alsworth on Lake Clark, which is about 45 minutes by air southwest of Anchorage. The community relies heavily on aerial resupply. I strongly recommend Alaska for those pilots who wish to experience the open-country style of flying, beautiful scenery, and convenience of just enough modern amenities for safety.
Thomas B. Haines' vivid description of the moon rising on the East Coast reminded me of an experience I will never forget. (" Waypoints: Aha Moments," October Pilot). I was flying the Pacific coastline in the late afternoon and had just passed the Golden Gate Bridge. The sun was a fiery red as it began to descend in the west. I watched it until it disappeared over the horizon. The speed at which it went down made me realize just how fast our Earth spins on its axis. Definitely an aha moment.
Editor in Chief Thomas B. Haines received a number of responses to his column. For more member comments, see " Waypoints: More Aha Moments," page 36 in this issue — Ed.
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.