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Monday, June 1, 2015


Question of the Month: The U.S. Air Force faces challenges sustaining relatively small, mixed fleets. What do you find most challenging in maintaining a small fleet? Let us know, and look for responses in a future issue. You’ll find contact information below.

In Your Prime?

In response to your Publisher’s View (“In Our Prime,” R&W, May 2015, page 4), like everybody else in the rotorcraft business, I grew up reading Rotor & Wing. I love the magazine, or should say I have loved it. In recent years, R&W has floundered.

After reading some articles, I asked, “Why did I spend the time?” Sometimes I didn’t make it through an article. I try to stay on top of things in the industry and get news from lots of sources. R&W was always at the top of the pile. I’m rooting for you to get back up there. Here’s hoping your prime turns out to be more like Tony Bennett’s than Rod Stewart’s.

Anthony G. Boone San Francisco

Helos in WWII

Thanks for your brief article on the helicopter’s role in WWII (“V-E Day Fly-By Showcases WWII Aircraft. But Helos?,” R&W, May 2015, page 16).

I got a big kick out of the Arsenal of Democracy flyover in Washington on May 8. It was great to see all those old birds in the air and ponder the sight back in the 1940s of clouds of B-17s and their fighter escorts setting off on their missions in Europe. (Fortunately, I’m too young to have actually seen that.)

But as a rotorhead I think I got a bigger kick pointing out to my fellow spectators that the Big One wasn’t entirely a fixed-wing war, and your article reminded me of some details to pull that off. I also told them that some of the factories that churned out bombers and fighters by the thousands in WWII played a role in building the helicopter industry--like Globe Aircraft’s Saginaw, Texas plant, which Bell used to build Model 47s. If that drew a blank stare, adding “You know, the M*A*S*H helicopter” brought a flash of recognition. Nice work.

Jim Raba


Taking Issue

Your article on the fatal 2011 aeromedical accident in Australia does a fine job of highlighting the contributing factors to that accident by juxtaposing the Australian Transport Safety Bureau and coroner’s probes (“Danger: Improved,” R&W, May 2015, page 42). But I take issue with your headlines, which imply that improvisation is dangerous. That is a desk jockey’s view.

Improvisation is an essential part of search and rescue. No standard operating procedure can encompass every combination of weather, terrain, patient position and condition, etc. What was lacking in that accident--as the investigations note--was true risk management. The distinction is critical.

Leif Langeland

Tjelta, Rogaland, Norway

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