Top Letters And Comments, December 28, 2018

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Image: Mike McBey - CC BY 2.0

Image: Mike McBey - CC BY 2.0

Drones Close Gatwick

Regarding your question, we don't have enough accurate information. There are conflicting reports. There were two or more drones. Or there were no drones.

But what surprises me is that any airport, especially an important hub like Gatwick, would be surprised by a drone incursion and not already have a plan of action.


Drones are going to be a major threat for aviation in the near future. This can be our next 9-11 because there is no defense.

Charles Lamb

If drones are illegal at certain heights near or on airports, why not shoot them down. Look at all the problems the present Gatwick drone has caused financially and for so many people.

Gatwick could use one of their own drones, armed, go find the offending drone and shoot it down.

Robert D. Yates

I imagine we'll eventually discover that this was caused by the Russians deliberately interfering in order to force the Brits to show what anti-drone technology they've developed. Another act of war by Putin.

Neil Robinson

Proposed Piper AD

This blog writeup doesn't accentuate the fact that the time point where an inspection is required is 5000 FACTORED SERVICE HOURS. Factored hours has an A&P IA looking through the logbooks to determine the number of 100 hour inspections the airplane has undergone and the total number of hours. Someone in the FAA decided that 100 hour inspections (required when used for hire) is an indicator of the "harshness" of service (can you read ERAU, e.g.). Factored hours use the number of 100 hour inspections and the total time on the spars to determine when it reaches 5,000 weighted hours. The AD narrative gives an example of an airplane used mostly privately with 12,100 hours that has only 711 factored hours on the spars. Age is NOT used in the calculation. SO ... anyone who thinks the sky is falling with this AD ... rest easy. Unless your airplane has a lot of hours on it AND was used for hire ... you're likely never going to have to do this AD.

Furthermore, the inspection involves ONLY removing the two outer lower bolts and doing an eddy current inspection. The cost doesn't appear too great but finding a shop with the equipment and a certified inspector will likely be THE problem. I suppose a cottage industry will now evolve around doing these inspections. As an A&P, I have a certain trepidation over removing the two bolts in the lower spar. Even the AD talks about doing damage in the removal process. I don't see another way to do this but ... I still worry when critical structural items have to be disassembled in order to do an inspection. Bottom line ... all PA28 and PA32 airplanes will now have to have the FACTORED HOURS calculated at each 100 hour (if required) and annual inspection. Most airplanes will not have to have this inspection done. The FAA could change the AD as data from the field trickles in to them.

Larry Stencel

Jet Engine Failures

The AA B777 engine failure story was one of the best aviation reports I've read, I have flown for more than 50 years including international B747 so I feel I'm qualified to make that comment.

Ron Krantz

I am an enormous fan of both Pauls' (Bertorelli and Berge) writing styles. I told Bertorelli at one Oshkosh show that I would continue subscribing to Aviation Consumer for so long as he writes. I now have extended my commitment to Berge's tenure as well. So now the deal is: so long as *either* Paul is with you, I am with you.

The piece on Matthews was sparkling and a delight to read.

Keep it up, fellows!

Alan Gordon

Lion Air

Thanks for making the Accident report available on Avweb. Interesting reading and fairly understandable. There seems to be a lot going on and for a human pilot to keep up with; it is difficult. This is an example where when everything is working it is simple to fly but when there are interconnected problems it becomes unmanageable very quickly.

0n the takeoff roll they had a config warning and stick shaker. This would erode confidence and create an atmosphere of trying to diagnose during climb out. This was a cascading series of issues and they seem to have come at a rapid rate. In this case I think the airplane killed them by going squirrely and by overloading them with problems.

What stands out for me is the increased complexity of the modern airliner in attempting to make it easier/safer to fly. I see the problems I have with my laptop and cell phone software as it becomes more complicated becomes more prone to conflicts. Maybe the Max is one step to far? It's like the Apollo 13 issue: sometimes good enough is good enough.

Interesting report. I think I know more now than I should. IMHO.

Ray Toews