Thursday, June 25, 2009

Electric Airplanes

I'm all for this trend. One of the biggest obvious hurdles is battery capacity/storage of electricity. I do love the fact that electrics motors are just really, really reliable. No gas to explode in the event of an accident either (though a lithium fire would be interesting...)

Updated 8-20-09

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A call for more needless "security"

Wow. It is never ceases to amaze me to see the scare mongering tactics people use to get attention and to try to take more and more freedoms from us. Here's an excerpt from an article by a Stanford, "professor" I suppose, Lawrence M. Wein.

"What about attack by a small plane? Given the impracticality of shooting down a tiny aircraft before it could detonate a bomb from the air, the best approach is to begin screening all domestic departures of small airplanes. This effort should be folded into the Securing the Cities Initiative."

That is just brilliant. This "idea" imposes yet more restrictions on law abiding citizens to make life and liberty more difficult to achieve for us, and does ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to stop a terrorist. Think about it, the challenge of screening the MILLIONS of GA aircraft departures and all a terrorist would have to do, if they wanted to even pursue this impractical attack vector, would be take off from an unimproved grass strip or field somewhere not even charted on a map. Speaking of grass strips and other small airports, how do you propose we deal with the challenges of managing the departure at the thousands of those types of airports across the country, not to mention the ridiculously prohibitive cost of doing so? Thanks for the thought Larry, go home please.

here's the link in case you want to read this drivel.

Edit 6/22/2009:
Looks like some people who are much closer to the situation the Professor Wein is are in agreement with me on this one. Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the Department of Homeland Security states in a recent report this past May of 2009:

"We determined that general aviation presents only limited and mostly hypothetical threats to security. We also determined that the steps general aviation airport owners and managers have taken to enhance security are positive and effective. Transportation Security Administration guidelines, communication forums, and alert mechanisms, coupled with voluntary measures taken by the owners and operators of aircraft and facilities, provide baseline security for aircraft based at general aviation sites. Significant regulation of the industry would require considerable federal funding."

link here:

Edit 6/23/2009:
Henry Ogrodzinski, President and Chief Executive of the National Association of State Aviation Officials puts it much more kindly and eloquently than me.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Nice new site from Air Safety Foundation

The ASF has produced a new product called AskATC designed to allow pilots to ask an air traffic controller those questions you always wondered about. I just read through the initial questions, and they are all pretty interesting reads. Here's the site (again AOPA members only) and here is AOPA's official word:

"New resource answers your ATC questions

From newly minted aviators to seasoned veterans, most pilots have questions about air traffic control. When speaking to ATC, should you use local or Zulu time? What is “standard separation”? If you bust airspace or an altitude, what really happens? The AOPA Air Safety Foundation put these and many other common questions directly to controllers, who provided no-nonsense, real-world answers for pilots. The result is a valuable new Web r

esource, Ask ATC, developed in cooperation with the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. Question categories include VFR, IFR, and more. Don't see your question listed? An interactive feature allows you to submit queries of your own."

Also, if you're interested in learning more about communicating with ATC, Bob Gardner's book, Say Again, Please: Guide to Radio Communicationsis a great resource.