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Learning to fly. (Letters).

In his recent column, Charles Peters ("Tilting at Windmills," September) took a couple of uninformed swipes at private pilots. He says we receive "gentler" treatment from "Congress and the FAA." Gentler than what? Private pilot training is bootcamp compared with training for private drivers and private boaters. We are also required to submit to biennial flight reviews with a qualified instructor, and many of us get booted out of the cockpit due to medical conditions that would not affect the privileges of the driver of a 700-hp speed boat on a public lake. Mr. Peters apparently believes that private pilots as a group are cavalier toward aviation risks. I suppose there are a few jerks in every crowd, but on the whole we're a pretty conscientious bunch, especially those of us who fly with family or friends. We know that flying an airplane is more dangerous than driving a car. As private pilots we learn to think in terms of risk management. If we go on to more demanding ratings and more complex aircraft, risk management takes on more and more significance. I don't think anyone in aviation is satisfied with the status quo, but as a group we are anything but cavalier about it.

DAVID M. SMITH Plano, Texas
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Author:Smith, David M.
Publication:Washington Monthly
Date:Nov 1, 2002
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