LH Aviation's LH-10 Ellipse (AW&ST June 25, p. 10) borrows heavily from two largely forgotten forebears: Jim Bede's BD-5 for the design, and Al Mooney's M-18 Mite for the concept. I wish the company more success than its predecessors.
Brien Bluhm makes a good case for air crews' wages being commensurate with their responsibilities. I made a somewhat similar argument in the early 1980s, when Boeing was developing the 757. The aircraft—designed as a replacement for the 727—would be flown by a crew of two rather than three, and it was widely touted that elimination of the flight engineer (FE) would save airlines tons of money.
I agree with the majority of the premises in “Open Season” (AW&ST June 27, p. 60). Open architectures are mostly a good thing. Much of my career was as a software engineer in technologies defined by industry standards. The standards-driven model usually does deliver better results to customers than a narrowly proprietary approach, but caution is warranted.
As to “Training Turnaround,” lowering the nose in a stall is perhap Lesson 2 in Airmanship 101. Right? Or maybe that was only in 20th century America, when we used to start out by teaching people to fly air “planes” and only later allowed them to step up to air “liners.”
“Reflecting on Glass” (AW&ST July 26, p. 66) admirably distills the ongoing debate triggered by the NTSB’s recently released study of the safety impact of glass cockpits. But alas, that debate has all but ignored the most important issue, namely that glass cockpits’ user interfaces (UIs) are too easy to “fat-finger,” and it’s too hard to recover when you do. Glass cockpit UIs suffer from two seemingly contradictory problems: they have too few buttons and knobs, and they have too many buttons and knobs.
In your editorial “Safeguard Transatlantic Relations”(AW&ST July 26, p. 70) we’re told that, as regards maintaining decorum in the international arms market, “. . . industry’s track record is better than government’s,” and “U.S. lawmakers . . . have set an example of how not to behave in international competition.” That notion is either naive or disingenuous: Senators and Representatives whose states and districts benefit from defense spending—nearly all of them—are merely playing bad cop to the defense contractors’ good cop, in a set piece of political melodrama.
Agencies at all levels of U.S. federal and state government are eager with good reason to exploit unmanned aerial vehicles flying in civilian airspace, but both the FAA and National Transportation Safety Board have strong—and equally reasonable—misgivings about the risks UAVs pose to other aircraft.
Lawrence R. Benson's comments in "A Foolish Data Lockout" (AW&ST Aug. 14, p. 6) are right on the mark. Many of the federal government's current attempts to suppress information are indeed foolish. I recently discovered that Uncle Sam has now withdrawn from the Internet the "Orange Book," a major source of guidance for computer system security. This is the height of folly. Information systems professionals determined decades ago that it's better to share system security information as widely as possible, rather than sequester it.
FAA Chief Operating Officer Russell Chew says it is too early to tell if the Air Traffic Organization he heads will need separation from the government to serve customers (AW&ST Aug. 7, p. 22). Many of the 40 air navigation service provider (ANSP) organizations that have been partially privatized around the world have a cushion between their operations and the government to avoid political interference.
In "Rebalancing Act" (AW&ST May 8, p. 25), we're told that the Bush administration's vision for moving "the U.S. space program back into the kind of exciting work needed to attract the best students to 'the hard subjects' of math and science," is to beggar NASA's science programs in order to fund its manned space effort.
Excuse me? It was manned efforts like the International Space Station and inc- reasingly directionless shuttle program that, in NASA Administrator Michael Griffin's words, "ultimately didn't matter much to very many people."
In "New Heights for Bizav Bash" (AW&ST Nov. 14, p. 40), Edward H. Phillips writes that "[t]he airlines say the FAA should charge all users the same fee for operating within the NAS [National Airspace System], regardless of aircraft type or passenger capacity."
The airlines' resurgent enthusiasm for "equitable" user fees is a smoke screen. What they want is a NAS paid for by anyone other than themselves, so they can sell tickets at prices that hide the cost.
In Washington Outlook (AW&ST Oct. 3, p. 23), we're told "[NASA management] will try to make sure the civilian agency takes military needs into account as it shapes an aeronautics program to meet the new national aeronautics policy Congress is likely to order this fall." That's what caused the "scope creep" that morphed the shuttle from its original concept--flying astronauts into space and back--into a behemoth that hauls things the size of Greyhound buses.