Sorry I missed the Lisa Kondrick article (Time to get outta Dodge, Sept. 9 issue) that touched off this subject, but the letter to the editor by Michael Baas (Just say no to mass arrivals, Oct. 7 issue) concerns me for the lack of bigger picture perspective.A complaint is made that the mass arrivals somehow impede arrival of other aircraft. Actually mass arrivals facilitate access for more aircraft. In the year that I participated in a mass arrival to OSH, we were able to land an 83-plane formation and be clear of the runway in 10 minutes. At best it would take double to triple that amount of time to land an equal number of planes arriving individually. Therefore, mass arrivals are the most polite and fair method for large groups to attend. By arriving en mass, the large, coordinated group leaves more minutes of runway time available for other aircraft.One type club in particular makes prior formation training a condition of participation. This enhances safety and efficiency because there is a much, much greater likelihood that the pilots will do what they are expected to do. Also, the organizers have a clear and very specific plan pre-arranged with the controllers. This is a massive work saver for the controllers in that they only need to communicate with the lead aircraft and sequence in the formation as a single unit instead of, say, 83, individual arrivals. Although I wouldn’t go so far as to mandate mass arrivals for everyone, I find the safety and efficiency of mass arrival so significantly greater that I personally would not consider arriving individually. For those that think mass arrivals are somehow unfair to them I can only suggest that they do the math and then consider how much more difficult their own arrival would be if so many other pilots were not participating in the substantially more efficient mass arrivals.
Gary T. Read