Letters: 01/05

Hey, Just Kidding
In the November Aviation Consumer on page 10, you say, Its not morally wrong to lie about how fast your airplane flies as long as you know the truth. Shame on you. For a publication that emphasizes the truth without advertising to state that it is not morally wrong to lie leads one to wonder about the morals of the author, period.

The article should be we’ll received, however, as many people do not know or care about the truth or the speed of their airplane, the factory included. I have been told that American Airlines received a check for $1 million from Convair when the CV-990 did not reach the 600 MPH mark that Convair touted in their presentation. (The CV-990 was originally called the CV-600.)

Jack Williams
via e-mail

We were just thinking about the poor shlub who flies 50 miles for the $100 hamburger with his buds. Swapping hangar lies is part of the sport, no?


Weather by Phone
For the past two years, I have had Pilot My-Cast on my Motorola i95cl and have found it invaluable for aviation weather information. I am not always at a computer when I want weather info and I find it cumbersome to call FSS and wait for a briefer who wants to provide a briefing when all I want is ceilings, visibility and winds for a local flight.

The NEXRAD loops, which can be centered and zoomed in on any airport, are excellent for not only pre-flight looks at area moisture and convective activity, but due to their frequent updates-often every 10 minutes-are reliable and often fresher than what are found on Web sites. I have modified my planned route on the ground at the end of the runway, ready to take off, due to information obtained via phone.

It is very hard to pick up Pilot My-Cast from the air, but I have done so on a few occasions. I don’t count on it for in-flight info though and its a pity because it would be a great help if it could be relied on while flying. Would an external antenna help?

As an aside, I also use it for another hobby: sports car racing. The radar images are accurate and timely enough to help make the decision on whether to put on rain tires in anticipation of rain or stay with a dry set-up. I think its a great product and at a reasonable price.

Jim Marinangel
via e-mail


I enjoyed your article on weather by cellphone, but was surprised you didnt include CSC DUATS as an option. As more phones get Web access (I use a Treo600 on Sprint), it seems that a pretty good option is to just use www.duats.com directly.

The service is free, it provides a legal briefing and it has weather graphics that show up just fine on my Treo. Oh, and of course you can also file your flight plan while there.

Its true that it takes a little getting used to the screens, since the pages are designed for a bigger screen, but Ive learned to get around pretty we’ll on the site. Maybe, if more pilots started accessing DUATS from small screen devices, they would design pages tailored to the small screen.

Gary Fielland
Via e-mail


Canada Chart Complaint
I had to make a trip to the Toronto area so your October article on Canada trip kits was timely and helpful. I ordered the requisite approach plates and enroute chart from ATP 12 days before my scheduled departure. When more than a week passed, sans charts, I got a little nervous and gave them a call. The end result was that they did not ship the charts until six days after I ordered them and they werent delivered until two days after I made the trip, a full two weeks after I placed the online order.

To salvage the trip, I had to throw money at it, ordering from Sportys and paying a premium for overnight, Saturday delivery. I invested over $86 in those charts, including $30 in phone calls to ATP in British Columbia while sorting out the mess.

Theyve been cordial to deal with. When I got home and saw their package on the porch, I promptly bundled it up and sent it back with the Sportys invoice. They have promised to refund the price of the charts, less shipping though. My main beef was there was no feedback that they were out of the merchandise and that shipping was delayed. Had I known-a simple e-mail, please-I could have executed a much cheaper contingency plan.

Would I use them again? Sure, but only if I have plenty of lead time.

Mack Parrott
New Castle, Pennsylvania