That was an excellent article in last month's AOPA Pilot (" FAA Funding Debate: Congress Listens," June Pilot). I haven't been so involved in an issue that affects aviation like this in years even though my aviation career is almost over. I fly for the state of Florida and I've talked to our state senate president about this issue. His son is a student at Embry-Riddle in Daytona Beach so he gets it from him too.
I am so proud of our Sen. Bill Nelson for taking the stand he has. He is an avid aviation buff. I used to fly him when he was the insurance commissioner here. Florida's other senator, Mel Martinez, I suspect will be in lockstep with President Bush. I am disappointed in Trent Lott but again I suspect it is a lockstep thing. It's funny about him since they built a really nice general aviation airport out in the middle of nowhere north of Pascagula, Mississippi, and named it after him.
It seems to me that we (AOPA and NBAA — especially NBAA) should be lobbying the presidents, CEOs, and owners of the companies that own these corporate airplanes. You know these people donate big money to the senators' campaigns and I suspect would have a huge impact on the thinking of these wayward legislators. Warren Buffett owns NetJets. This will affect its operation in a huge manner. Could you imagine the attention that a call from him would get? Just think of all the really big companies that own airplanes.
I suspect this would have a greater impact by far than a bunch of us little guys.
Again, great article and yes, we have to win this.
Kudos to AOPA Pilot for doing a great job covering the ongoing FAA funding saga. As a Canadian citizen, but a permanent U.S. resident and recent instrument-rated pilot, I thought other members might find my perspective on the state of Canadian general aviation interesting and illustrative of where American general aviation could find itself in the years ahead.
Last week my family and I completed our first flight home to Canada in our new Columbia 350, and it was an eye-opening experience. American pilots need not fly all the way to Europe or Australia to glimpse the impact of user fees, landing fees, hefty fuel taxes, and privatization on general aviation. Canada is a much shorter flight. The two weeks that I spent flying Canada's incredibly beautiful airways, on $6.20-a-gallon fuel, landing at airports with few facilities, and often times paying for the privilege to do so, made me truly appreciate the many privileges and benefits of flying in the U.S. air system.
I enjoyed the outstanding article on Robinson Helicopter (" The Highest Standards," June Pilot). Until the summer of 2005, I did not care much about choppers. But that summer, as my family was vacationing in Montreal, my hometown, we spent a full day at Six Flags [amusement park], where they offer helicopter rides. So while our children were enjoying the roller coasters, my wife and I decided to have a chopper ride. And guess what: It was in an R44 Raven! I sat in the left seat and my wife in the back from where she took outstanding pictures. I have been flying in singles, floats, twins, and airliners (as passenger, I'm not a pilot yet) but none of the other aircraft got me that thrill I experienced that day: The view from head to toe, no need for a runway, and the feeling is totally different. For example, a 30-degree bank in an airplane is hardly noticeable. But in the Raven, it's much more exciting. The pilot said that she was going to do a steep turn and if we didn't like it, to say so. Are you kidding? We wanted more but the ride was over already.
I just wanted to thank you for including some women in the pilot profiles over the last few issues (" Pilots: Katherine Jefferts Schori," May Pilot and " Pilots: Kelly McCague," July Pilot). I know men dominate the industry by far, but as the mother of a small daughter (and the sister of an Air Force pilot), it was nice to see a few women on those pages. I appreciated that you didn't make a big deal out of the fact that they were women. They were profiled and treated the same as any other pilot would be — kudos to you for keeping it even. I read my husband's AOPA Pilot from cover to cover every month, often out loud to my daughter. Now while I love the fact that the line for the men's room is always longer at any pilot event, I also see that if GA is going to grow, women are going to need to start earning their tickets in greater numbers. Including women in pilot profiles helps subtly remind everyone who reads them that girls can fly, too.
I really enjoyed reading your article on Kay J. Kennedy (" The Kay Kennedy Story," June Pilot). It was a fascinating biographical. I wish they would scan her records in digital format so those of us who live far away from Alaska could browse them on the Internet. Thanks for a nice piece of journalism.
Having just read Barry Schiff's story about the joy of jets I must write to say thanks (" Proficient Pilot: The Joy of Jets," June Pilot). As an 85-year-old retiree and private pilot with 1,000 hours in Aeronca Champs, Piper Super Cruisers, Archers, Cherokee Sixes, 172s, and thousands of hours on commercial flights and many hours up front on the flight deck thanks to persistent con jobs with pilots (all you had do is tell the captain by a note that you are a pilot of a Cherokee and prior to 9/11 you had an invitation to go up front), I have wondered about the differences between flying a prop and a jet. You tell it all and I now understand. I have been up front in many commercial jets; one going into Denmark where the captain had me up front for approach and landing from 30,000 feet. From about 20,000 feet looking at that narrow asphalt strip, it was incredible to me that we would land that 757 there. I really do get the gist of the difference. No prop to serve as a brake.
I am not sure that I completely agree with Barry Schiff's statement regarding the lack of responsiveness of turbojets as compared to turbofans. I recall the opposite. Certainly many factors affect the acceleration capability of any jet engine, but of all the jet [engines] I've flown over the years, the GE CJ610 was the fastest accelerating of the bunch. The power response of that engine provides a pilot with gobs of quick thrust at the flick of a wrist. I've had the privilege of playing chief throttle jockey on many narrowbody Douglas, Boeing, Fokker, Airbus products and the 767. None of the fan engines on those airliners could match the acceleration of the pure turbojet 20-series Lear. Granted, we are dealing with small rotational mass compared to large, but that is my point. Fans are not directly driven, and high-idle or not it takes some time for the turbine to drag that big fan wheel up to speed. I do understand Schiff's point about the ability of the fan to pull you out of a hole on the approach.
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