I am a fan of regulation. Why that is so is easy to explain. I want to live in a society in which there are rules to regulate people's behavior because without them I know how people can behave, and it's not pretty. Like it or not, we need the police and speed limits and insider trading regulations and health codes. It makes our world a better, safer place in which to live.
The Air Line Pilots Association has come out and said what a lot of folks in aviation already suspected: The looming pilot shortage we’ve been hearing so much about lately is a myth, created by airlines unwilling to offer better pay. There is no pilot shortage, period.
ALPA agrees that there may in fact be a shortage of pilots willing to work for poverty wages in a crummy industry, but the fact is, many thousands of qualified and experienced U.S. airline pilots are currently on furlough or working overseas. They are eager to return to U.S. cockpits — under the right conditions.
It might be hard for those of us who were along for the ride to remember, but the Cessna Skycatcher was a great idea. It was a failed airplane, however.
The Skycatcher, a light-sport aircraft that was designed to be a primary trainer for the next generation, never caught on, that is, after a huge spate of 850 initial orders with relatively small deposits at its launch at Oshkosh in 2006. That figure turned into 1,000 orders in the coming months.
In recent months Flying columnists John and Martha King have discussed their early flying careers and the high-risk situations they put themselves into, whether through choice or ignorance. These pieces have generated a great deal of both positive and negative reactions from our readers, much more than I would have expected — well, I'd hoped for the positive.
Watching recently released footage of a Challenger crashing at Aspen last week is a heartrending experience. The jet was on its second try to land in less than ideal conditions, and the second attempt, caught on tape, is a baffling scene. At the risk of speculating on an accident under active investigation, let me just say that there aren't any explanations unrelated to human factors that spring to mind.
I spent some time this week with Kenny Dichter, the founder of Wheels Up, a startup private aviation company that is rolling the dice with a fleet of brand new King Air 350i turboprops. The New York-based firm has taken delivery of its first nine King Airs as part of a massive deal with Beechcraft for 105 airplanes plus maintenance that eventually could be worth $1.4 billion. But surprisingly, Dichter says the deal almost didn’t happen.