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Looking Homeward

Readers relate to Julia Levitina’s reflections on the war in Ukraine

Ukrainian Julia Levitina’s “Musings: Looking Homeward” (November 2022 AOPA Pilot) resonated with me, as a first-generation American of both a Ukrainian mother and a Crimean-Tatar father. Prior to the current Russian invasion, both of their homelands were invaded by the Nazis in 1941. My then-17-year-old mother, along with 2 million other Ukrainians, was taken to the Third Reich as a forced laborer; basic freedoms lost, under a brutal regime.

Julia’s night flying reminds me of my own primary night cross-country: flown on July 3, the eve of our Independence Day. As we flew, the sky was alight with exploding fireworks. Fireworks are celebratory, but also have me reflect on all of the freedoms we enjoy. Included is the “freedom to fly,” as enabled by our American nation and, in large part, by the ongoing, diligent work of the staff and leadership of AOPA.

Sevim Ablay / AOPA 4635183
Dundee, Illinois

I was moved by Julia Levitina’s aviation take on the war in Ukraine. Watching the initial news coverage of Putin’s heinous invasion of Ukraine, like most observers I expected Kyiv to be quickly overrun. My surprise and astonishment at the Ukrainian people’s response quickly turned into deep admiration of their dedication and bravery, including those now living abroad and waiting to return to rebuild once the madness is over. They have been an inspiration, and I feel they are kindred souls to what most free people hope we would be if faced with a similar trial by fire. My aircraft now flies with Ukrainian flags proudly displayed on my vertical stabilizer. And looking forward to life after the war, here is a thought: What better poke in Putin’s eye than having American-style freedom to fly within Ukraine? I can’t think of a people that would appreciate and deserve it more.

Al Herron / AOPA 888615
Placerville, California

First Fly-In of 2023

Thank you for the article about AOPA participating in the Buckeye Air Fair in February 2023 (“First Fly-In of 2023,” December 2022 AOPA Pilot). I am pleased that AOPA will be a part of the airshow, rather than holding a stand-alone event. Ever since AOPA moved away from the annual convention to regional fly-ins I have been to one almost every year as I looked forward to the seminars, aircraft/vendor displays, and the cadre of aviation experts on-hand. However, when I noted this year’s “Hangout” events were charging admission, that seemed like a huge step backward and a bad choice for reinforcing the existing AOPA membership/pilot community or attracting prospective pilots. I look forward to seeing the AOPA staff in Buckeye.

Dan Ybarra / AOPA 4615703
Menifee, California

IFR Turn-Arounds

Tom Horne’s “IFR Turn-Arounds” (November 2022 AOPA Pilot) was a useful refresher on procedure turn dos and don’ts. In his discussion of the hold in lieu of procedure turn (HILPT), Horne suggests that after flying the appropriate hold entry procedure, the pilot should “make a trip around the pattern before exiting it and flying the rest of the approach,” seeming to imply that a full circuit around the racetrack needs to be flown. Paraphrasing AIM 5-4-9.a.5 that covers HILPT procedures, the holding pattern maneuver is completed when the aircraft is established on the inbound course, and, if cleared for the approach prior to returning to the holding fix, additional circuits of the holding pattern are not necessary nor expected by ATC.

I have observed confusion among even some seasoned instrument pilots as to whether the HILPT is actually required if approaching the holding fix from a direction that “implies” a simple straight-in entry to the final approach course. As Horne points out, the HILPT is required unless “NoPT” is explicitly noted, when receiving radar vectors to the final approach course, or if otherwise instructed by ATC. Pilots should always clarify any confusion with ATC prior to beginning any procedure.

Fred I. Stahl / AOPA 899593
Frederick, Maryland

Brava to Natalie Bingham Hoover for her article in November’s AOPA Pilot magazine (“Men and Women in the Cockpit”)! Her litany of transgressions by male counterparts is more than enough to prove her point. Fellow male pilots, pay attention! The woman next to you in the cockpit has every bit as much right to be there as you do, without the slightest hint of “chivalry” or whatever you may call it, from you. Act like a professional—you can bet she will! —Brian Smith / AOPA 5085148Big Pine Key, Florida

The Power of Two

I very much enjoyed Catherine Cavagnaro’s recent article (“The Power of Two,” November 2022 AOPA Pilot). As a technically minded person I’ve long had F=1/2MV2 posted on the visor of my car ever since I spent a duty station in Germany. The office on the base there, where one obtained their international driver’s license, featured photos of truly catastrophic car wrecks on the autobahn, the likes of which the average American might be unaccustomed to seeing. Of course, this was an effort to impress upon invincible young service members being released on speed limitless roads, the “power of two” as it relates to the force of impact. The article inspired me to expand that thinking to other exponential relationships, and especially consider where they appear in my flying. As she rightly points out, it’s an effective way to quickly distill the factors that matter most.

Demetri Capetanopoulos / AOPA 2895767
Upper Arlington, Ohio

What’s in a Name

In “What’s in a Name: Taking the Waters in TorC” (November 2022 AOPA Pilot) Julie Summers Walker mentioned Spaceport America and the municipal airport. But then there’s the Elephant Butte Reservoir.

In June 1958 I was a crew member on a Navy P5M Marlin flying boat. We blew a cylinder about 60 miles east of El Paso, Texas, which resulted in shutting down and feathering one of our two engines. These seaplanes weren’t the best with single-engine performance. We strapped on our parachutes and flew north about 60 miles to the 30-mile-long Elephant Butte Reservoir at Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. We landed on it. We were greeted by a fish and game warden in an outboard motorboat. He hollered up to the captain, “What’s the matter, buddy, are you lost?”

We were there for three days repairing the engine. The town supplied us with a car and motel rooms. They made the skipper an honorary mayor of Truth or Consequences and the crew members honorary town commissioners. We inflated a life raft and had swimming parties with lovely maidens diving off the wings. A couple of waitresses came out to the plane and cooked up some great meals in our galley.

On the day of our departure a big crowd showed up to watch the takeoff. It was a very long run. We fired two JATO (Jet Assisted Take Off) units and we were still on the water. The second pair were fired and the 60-ton airplane broke the surface. We lumbered over the watching crowd and we turned west toward home. It was an interesting experience to be a sailor in the desert.

Ed Stanfield / AOPA 654515
Middletown, Maryland


“Safety Tool” (November 2022 AOPA Pilot) misstated the chemical formula of carbon monoxide (CO).

An incorrect link for a Garmin SiriusXM Aviation Training video appeared on p. 97 of December 2022 AOPA Pilot. The url is:

AOPA Pilot regrets the errors.

We welcome your comments! Send letters to [email protected] or Editor, AOPA Pilot, 421 Aviation Way, Frederick, Maryland 21701. Letters may be edited for length and style.

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