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Letters: From our March 2018 issueLetters: From our March 2018 issue

Risky business

How safe is flying? Editor in Chief Thomas B. Haines’ reflection on risk had readers wondering

I just finished reading Thomas B. Haines’ article “Waypoints: What’s the Risk?” It could not have come at a better time for me. I am a 48-year-old orthopedic surgeon who started flying one year ago. I have 100 hours under my belt and I recently bought my first airplane. It’s a 2000 Cessna 172R. The exact model I got my ticket in. I tried to steer away from all models that have the nickname “Doctor Killer” and stay within my own capabilities. 

I read these stories that continually come out about general aviation accidents. I often wonder how close I have come to avoiding catastrophe without knowing it. It’s encouraging to know that it is still something you think about with 40 years of flight experience under your belt. 

Daniel P. Moynihan
AOPA 10171933
Hernando Beach, Florida

Keep it up

Just tell want to tell you guys I really enjoy AOPA Pilot magazine. I’m a former U.S. Air Force instructor pilot, commercial license, and right now I love flying gliders. The magazine has a perfect mix of articles and I read just about the entire thing—please don’t mess it up!

John Murtari
AOPA 9906433
Lyons, New York

Kid approved

Sarah Deener’s article “Kid Approved” and the accompanying video couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I can’t wait to take my young son flying and the information that’s out there about flying with a toddler is not very, well, informative. I really enjoyed her candid story.

Joseph Friedman
AOPA 5643993
New York, New York

I am based at Columbia Airport (4G8), a small strip just outside the inner ring of Cleveland (CLE). Ever since earning my certificate many years ago, I had wanted to fly to Put-In-Bay. This past summer I finally did. Hugging the shoreline as long as I could, I finally turned north over the water. “Holy cow, what am I doing?” was the first thought that came to me. I did not fly direct, but rather IFBB (I Fly By Boats). I would see a boat and fly toward it. Another boat, toward it. My thought process was that I wouldn’t be far from a rescue. After landing my thought was, “Now I have to fly back!” The flight back was not as bad, as I could see shoreline pretty quickly after I was in the air. My latest flight review this past fall we went island hopping. It was great to read a positive article about one’s local area. 

Dean Fazekas
AOPA 5134800
Olmsted Falls, Ohio

The royal treatment

Received my AOPA Pilot magazine today and was surprised to find an article on sport hunting. While I recognize the aviation connection, I question the decision to publish this. Unlike other topics, sport hunting is controversial in today’s world and will generate some pretty negative feelings among many people. I’ve been a member of AOPA for a very long time and I don’t really want to have a photograph of dead birds shot for fun be part of the image of my organization. This is not a criticism of the author—the article was well-written, it’s just a question of topic choice—AOPA needs a positive, not polarizing, image to keep existing and attract new members. Please consider less controversial topics instead for the future.

Tom Doblmaier
AOPA 1060021
North Wales, Pennsylvania

Test pilot

The March “Test Pilot” asks what is the “largest” propeller-driven airplane, and “largest” means size, usually interpreted to mean wingspan. When it comes to wingspan, the Spruce Goose has a wingspan of 218 feet, eight inches, seven feet more than the Antonov An–22. 

And the Messerschmitt Me323Z likely had a wingspan greater than the An–22 as well. The 323-series aircraft were six engine variants of the 321 glider, sort of the C–5 of their day. The 323Z (Z for zwilling, or twin) was a twin-fuselage, nine-engine version that flew but suffered a structural failure on its first flight because of poor repairs after being strafed. The 323 series had a wingspan of 181 feet, and although I did not find an exact wingspan for the 323 Z, it is possible that the 323 Z also has a greater wingspan than the An–22. 

In second place are the early versions of the B–36, as well as the XC–99 transport variant, that were driven entirely by propellers and had a wingspan of 230 feet. 

In first place is the Solar Impulse, with a wingspan of 236 feet.

So while the An–22 might be the heaviest, when it comes to size, the An–22 is not even in third place.

Ed Wischmeyer
AOPA 509307
Savannah, Georgia

Barry Schiff responds: This is an interesting point and I cannot totally disagree. The problem is created by the definition of “large.” The most common definition is “of considerable or relatively great size, extent, or capacity.” This means that one could use wingspan, or maximum-allowable gross weight. There is no official protocol for defining the “largest airplane.”

See “Test Pilot,” page 45, for a question inspired by this exchange.

On Instruments

I enjoyed Thomas A. Horne’s article on NDB/ADF. I’ve always thought this was one of the most maligned and under-
utilized tools we have in our belt. Simplicity at its best! In 47 years of flying, I’ve never had an ADF quit in flight. If it turns on, it will work.

Bob Stringer
AOPA 1404816
Duncanville, Texas

Head of state

I just read Barry Schiff’s column regarding King Michael of Romania. He concludes the article by stating that he was the last surviving head of state from the Second World War. I think that particular designation might be a better fit for King Simeon of Bulgaria, who was born in 1937 and ascended to the throne in 1943 (still a minor and ruling with regents). He is probably the only case of a king who was later elected a prime minister, 2001 to 2005. 

Dimitar Bojantchev
AOPA 3517369
Hercules, California


“Proficient Pilot: Member No. 554” incorrectly stated that the Fairchild PT–26 Cornell had an open cockpit. The Klemm Kl 35 instead resembles an open-cockpit PT–19.

In “Pilot Briefing: Behind the Scenes at SpaceX,” we incorrectly identified the dates of the moon landings. Manned U.S. moon landings occurred between 1969 and 1972. Additionally, we referred to the SpaceX factory in Hawthorne, California, as a former Boeing factory. It was a Northrop factory.

AOPA Pilot regrets the errors.

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