More by ac­ci­dent than de­sign…

Pilot - - Preflight -

Well, pulling in great con­tent some­times does hap­pen this way — es­pe­cially when we en­joy such a fine set of con­trib­u­tors as we do. On this theme, I was go­ing to get my head down and start trawl­ing through yet an­other set of airspace change pro­pos­als (ACPS) — the com­bined RAF Brize Nor­ton/lon­donOx­ford one that is threat­en­ing to balls-up power fly­ing and glid­ing close to my own farm strip and across a huge swathe of cen­tral Eng­land — when colum­nist and LAA CEO Steve Slater kindly made avail­able the piece that ap­pears on p.12.

If you read noth­ing else in this edi­tion of Pilot, read Steve’s ar­ti­cle. It seems that in an ef­fort to grab as much airspace as pos­si­ble be­fore any bright light of scru­tiny is shone upon them, con­sul­tants and busi­nesses around the coun­try have gone into over­drive in sub­mit­ting to the CAA hastily pre­pared pro­pos­als that, if they are ac­cepted, pose the big­gest threat to pri­vate fly­ing and the free­dom to fly pri­vate air­craft we have seen in decades. I stress the word free­dom, be­cause it is the lack of this that dis­tin­guishes to­tal­i­tar­ian states. It is also the habit of to­tal­i­tar­ian au­thor­i­ties to in­vent trans­gres­sions to jus­tify oner­ous rules and leg­is­la­tion. In this case it is an un­holy al­liance of the mil­i­tary and, iron­i­cally, big GA busi­ness seek­ing to lay down the law — but the ef­fect is the same. And please: once you’ve read Steve’s ex­po­si­tion, file your ob­jec­tions to this ap­palling ACP now!

Re­turn­ing to the theme of ac­ci­dents, one happy one is that un­known to me colum­nist Pat Malone chose to write about Ger­man WWI ace Ernst Udet (p.32) as I was re­view­ing the new Stuka ‘man­ual’ from Haynes (‘Books & Gear’, p.58). Udet was revered in the USA for his aer­o­batic dis­plays and he was the model for The Great Waldo Pep­per’s ‘Ernst Kessler’ (by the way, that su­perb 1975 avi­a­tion movie is now avail­able from Ama­zon in its full HD glory). Udet was also in­fa­mous for be­ing the man who pro­moted the dive-bomber in Nazi Ger­many. Oh, but now we are back on to to­tal­i­tar­i­an­ism.

Talk­ing of which, the won­der­ful Luñák glider flight-tested by Dave Un­win (p.68) was built in Com­mu­nist Cze­choslo­vakia and con­ceived as a mil­i­tary trainer — but this should in no way de­tract from the ap­peal of what is a very pretty and ca­pa­ble air­craft, way more sporty than the av­er­age club aero­plane. Se­ri­ously peo­ple: you ought to give glid­ing a go!

Fi­nally, ex­pa­tri­ate Amer­i­can Gar­rett Fisher makes a re­turn to these pages to de­scribe his lat­est fly­ing ad­ven­tures in Spain (p.40). As you will see, while Gar­rett avoids any ac­ci­dent — an ex­pe­ri­enced moun­tain pilot, he takes a far more se­ri­ous ap­proach to his fly­ing than his tongue-incheek ac­count may sug­gest — he finds rather less sen­si­ble de­sign in the lo­cal rules and prac­tices than he’d like. How­ever, he does have fun, and that’s what we all ought to be pur­su­ing in our fly­ing. So time to shut down the com­puter and get aloft in the Cub… while I still can.

Philip White­man, Edi­tor

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