“China gets ready for takeoff,” [subscription required] is the cover story of the Nov. 18, 2013, of Fortune magazine. The article centers on Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China‘s efforts to bring the C919 to market. For perspective, the C919 is remarkably similar to the Airbus A320. So we’re not talking GA here.
If there is one constant in life, it is that change is inevitable. In the aviation industry, this often manifests as people leave one job to take another. Or, as in the case of JoAnn and Sandy Hill from Longmont, Colo., it can take the form of retirement after what most would agree is a long and eventful professional life.
Guest Editorial By John Christensen
I recently attended my 50th high school reunion. I had a wonderful time reminiscing with classmates. As one would expect, the rather large crowd quickly organized itself into small groups, according to interests, past and present. I found myself embedded in a pod of old coot pilots.
After the hangar stories, lies and exaggerations were dutifully processed, the conversation topic switched to the Class 3 medical and our collective assortment of various health issues keeping us grounded. Many colleagues are aircraft owners and pilots. Tickets ran the gambit from ATP to private. All had one common interest: To somehow legally get back into the air, as seniors.
Guest Editorial By THOMAS P. TURNER
The pilot of a twin-engine airplane sped through a narrow mountain pass. Low clouds obscured the ridges and peaks; pine trees blurred past just a few hundred feet below, materializing from the mist, flashing dark green beneath the sleek airplane, and zooming into the cloak of mist behind with dizzying speed.
The pilot pressed on, familiarity with the terrain and a business need to get through the pass to the other side giving him confidence, even as conditions worsened. As he knew it would, the pass narrowed until there was no possibility of turning around, certainly not at the aircraft’s fast cruising speed. Suddenly something went incredibly wrong, and a ball of what remained of the aircraft came to a gnarled rest at the end of a 700-foot-long impact scar.
I won’t cite the specific crash involved out of respect for all involved and in the absence of a compete investigation. Any specific incident to which you may link this narrative is entirely the result of your imagination. In numerous chat rooms and Internet bulletin boards, however, many pilots praised this pilot’s final flight with these supposedly comforting words: “He died doing what he loved.” [Read more…]
Guest Editorial By STEVE BILL HANSHEW
Pilots dread ramp checks. It’s a lot like a prostate exam in a flight physical — you don’t want one, but sooner or later you’re going to get one.
No matter that it’s a part of an FAA inspector’s job to periodically audit any aircraft he or she chooses, the pilot’s perception is always the same: “Lord, why me” or “What have I done now?”
Is this country great or what?
I can rent a 30-foot-long CruiseAmerica.com motorhome, with no prior large vehicle experience, load it with six of my friends and family, and plow on down the road.
GUEST EDITORIAL By PHILIP HANDLEMAN
Sequestration is forcing the Pentagon to slash $41 billion this year on top of the $487 billion reduction in defense spending already mandated over the next 10 years. Resultantly, a cruel triage within the Defense Department has taken hold. Communities across America are waking to the reality that their scheduled airshows will not feature military air demonstration teams or that, in the absence of the teams, the shows themselves are being scrubbed altogether.