The two don’t add up

I was incredibly disappointed in your publication of the Headwinds article in The Southern Aviator, February 2005. (Don’t become a “factor”) The content of this article was, compared to your usual fine content, irresponsible at best.

Mr. Elman clearly exhibits at least two hazardous attitudes in his remarks, namely “machoism” and resignation, and as such portrays one who hasn’t really kept up with advancements in GA for the purposes of safety, if not for himself, for those of us who may have the misfortune of flying near him one day.

In one breath he rather congratulates himself for taking wider margins (translate to longer time and expense) to travel by air and then suggests, no, clearly states, that he files no flight plans (translate to lack of self-discipline) because he fails to see the use. I’ll bet he would wish he had filed a flight plan the next time he crashes in some remote field!

As a CFI, I believe it part of my responsibility to insist that rules be followed and that, more important, procedures be followed — procedures that are really in place to enhance safety, not provide inconvenience.

I can’t tell you how many times I have flown with a student and was forced to deviate and excuse some other pilot’s behavior because he was using his own “procedures” and presenting a very unsafe situation. Burying your head in the sand by “factoring in extra safety margins” is, at face value, commendable until you realize that it may be being done for the wrong reasons. Not wanting to attract attention when you fly is an unnecessary by-product of sloppy piloting. If you fly within the rules on a consistent basis there should be no need to be concerned that you are attracting the attention of “interested others.”

In your otherwise fine publication, I just don’t understand the connection of portraying a disciplined pilot and flaunting not using a flight plan. The two just don’t add up and show a true lack of concern for fellow pilots and the system we must all fly within.

Bill Howard
Columbia, S.C.

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