A Span­ish view...

Pilot - - AIRMAIL -

I was amazed by Mr Gar­rett Fisher’s ar­ti­cle; it seems to me that he views avi­a­tion from a self­ish point of view, and sadly for him, does not find any good or nice things within Europe or, by the way, like any Euro­peans.

I have been a Pi­lot reader since 1973, and have read many dif­fer­ent and in­ter­est­ing ar­ti­cles on your very good gen­eral avi­a­tion mag­a­zine. It is a pity it is no longer sold on Span­ish news stands so less peo­ple get to know it. I am a Span­ish ATCO (work­ing Tower/radar at Palma de Mal­lorca) and PPL since 1978, and since 2007 a mi­cro­light pi­lot, in­struc­tor and ex­am­iner, and run a mi­cro­light strip and flight school at Binissalem - Mal­lorca. I have trav­elled all over Europe and North Africa.

So we have an Amer­i­can pi­lot that, af­ter liv­ing in the ‘rigid’ Ger­many can only find some mean en­gi­neers that can’t fix a prop, so he de­cides – demon­strat­ing ex­cel­lent air­man­ship – to fly with a known faulty pro­pel­ler from Ger­many to Spain, across France and the Pyre­nees... a very in­tel­li­gent and ad­ven­tur­ous move. I can un­der­stand why the Ger­mans pre­ferred that in the event of an emer­gency land­ing this was car­ried away from Ger­many. Mr Fisher seems to dis­like the French too, just see some of his com­ments.

He talks about Spain as if it was a typ­i­cal Hol­ly­wood cow­boy movie, Mex­i­can bor­der town, finds no good things in my beau­ti­ful coun­try, and tries to make a laugh of it. He should be a bit more po­lite, not so dis­torted in his opin­ions against the world. Catalunya and Scot­land or Cor­sica and many other places in Europe want to be in­de­pen­dent, a strange sit­u­a­tion for an Amer­i­can ci­ti­zen like him.

Airspace is re­ally a pend­ing as­sign­ment, some­thing that could be bet­ter, we all fight for it, but it can all be viewed on the AIP... Oh, sorry! Seems Mr Fisher doesn’t use such a thing. What for? He just goes into aero­dromes with­out check­ing. He flies into small mi­cro­light strips mainly, and they don’t have 100LL. Mi­cro­lights in Europe use mo­gas not av­gas: “Mr Fisher, they don’t use Ly­coming engines, they use Ro­tax”.

La Cer­danya is set in a moun­tain val­ley, so if you have to land at such a strip, and you have wind at the moun­tain tops, what should you ex­pect on the lee side of the moun­tain? Has he ever thought about check­ing winds aloft charts? Is he aware of some­thing called moun­tain fly­ing? Am­puria Brava is a non-con­trolled air­field, Europe’s Mecca for sky­divers. Information on the ac­tiv­ity is given by the para­chute plane pi­lots. Av­gas and jet fuel are set side by side.

Why doesn’t he talk about the nice bar and ter­race, the help­ful staff, or the fan­tas­tic wind tun­nel where you can prac­tice sky div­ing for a very low price? Santa Cilia – Jaca, Did he see the nice club­house with a ter­race by the swimming pool?

Castel­lon is a lovely air­field by a long sandy beach. The run­way is only 500 me­tres from the beach. You ei­ther call in ad­vance or “sadly be forced” to head for a nice ho­tel by a lovely beach, and go for a swim in that won­der­ful warm, Mediter­ranean sea and take in the sun… how nasty.

Air­fields in Spain do not have ruts, rocks and tall grass, he should not lie about that, strips not air­fields, are cleared for mi­cro­lights.

And least but not last, let’s see his de­scrip­tion of other Euro­pean pi­lots like the Bri­tish and the Ger­mans… a rude, dif­fi­cult and un­ruly bunch. I’m sorry but I can­not tol­er­ate such a lie. I am a mem­ber of the Royal Aero Club Records Rac­ing and Rally As­so­ci­a­tion, know many Bri­tish pi­lots and have many good friends among that com­mu­nity, and cer­tainly I would never in the world use such words to de­scribe their at­ti­tude when they are ex­actly the op­po­site. They are the nicest, friendli­est and most help­ful group of peo­ple I have ever met. I have raced as num­ber 13 with them for many years, mainly at the Alder­ney or Isle of Wight air races and I can only say the nicest things about them. I do not know that many Ger­mans but the ones that I know have al­ways been very nice and cor­rect peo­ple.

I find this ar­ti­cle is at least in­sult­ing to all Bri­tish, French, Ger­mans and Span­ish – or for log­i­cal Amer­i­cans too that read it and should feel ashamed of Mr Fisher’s rude be­hav­ior. It’s an in­dig­nant piece of writ­ing, and worst of all it gives a very false idea about Spain and other Euro­pean coun­tries and their cit­i­zens. Gabriel Gomila by email

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