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