I read your well-written column "Airmanship Uber Alles (page 39) in the March issue. Unfortunately, I believe there is one mistake, which might cause inconvenience to my fellow aviators from Slovenia, looking for a job worldwide.
Your article states, that copilot Ratislav Kolesar, involved in the Crossair accident, came from Slovenia. In combination with other articles that address this accident–where suggestions of misreading of the attitude director indicators are cited (Eastern Bloc-built instruments have a movable airplane symbol, while Western instruments have a moving horizon symbol)–a reader might understand, that pilots in Slovenia do not speak English and are trained and used to Warsaw bloc hardware only. This is not true.
Slovenia (as a republic of the former Yugoslavia) was never a part of the Warsaw Pact and was under Russian influence only for a brief period after World War II. Pupils in Slovenia start to learn English at age 10, so one could hardly find a younger citizen who does not speak at least basic English–let alone professional pilots, where knowledge of the aviation English language is a mandatory requirement.
From about 250 Slovenian-registered powered aircraft, there are only five that are Russian built: three AN-2 biplanes and two Yak aerobatics machines. Slovenian flag carrier Adria Airways, established in 1961, started with the DC-6, switched to DC-9 planes, was one of the launch customers for A320 aircraft, and was the first in the world to use IAE V-2500 engine powered aircraft.
I checked around for Ratislav Kolesar (Slovenia is a small country) but none of the fellow aviators knew him. His name sounds to me Czech or Slovakian rather than Slovenian, so this probably was a mix-up.
Quality Assurance Manager
Slovenia Police Helicopter Department
This is frustrating to me, because I think you’re right. I remember being careful with sources, who insisted the first officer was from Slovenia. So I went with that. However, I have since viewed the interim report from the Swiss accident investigating authorities, and it has Slovakia as the country of origin for the first officer. Many thanks for your message and many additional insights. –David Evans
First, we want to say that we are big fans of Avionics Magazine and the Website AviationToday.com. On page 18 of your March 2001 issue, in the article titled "Systems That Permit Everyone to Fly," the hyperlink at the end of your e-mail mentions Seagull Technology in the context of providing an enabling AHRS for general aviation. That is true. However, the article inaccurately says we are working with Vision Micro. That is not true.
Seagull Technology has developed an all solid-state (no moving parts) air data attitude and heading reference system (ADAHRS), in part with NASA sponsorship, that we believe is quite relevant to the business and general aviation industry. The ADAHRS uses a sensor suite that enables pricing below $10,000 per unit in initial volumes, and as low as $7,000 in mature volumes. We have pre-production units working on four aircraft, and have demonstrated its performance to leading avionics firms, airframers, and relevant FAA Aircraft Certification Office (ACO) personnel.
We believe this technology is key to bringing affordable glass cockpit technology to GA. We are pursuing applicable TSO approvals (e.g. C4c bank and pitch instruments; C6d direction instruments, magnetic) and targeting approvals for early 2002.
In early November 2000, an extensive flight evaluation by four members of an FAA ACO was very successful. The ACO’s lead program manager, key test pilot, and a highly experienced AHRS system engineer could not induce inadequate performance during a series of aggressive flight maneuvers, including lazy-8s, sustained shallow and steep bank turns, and pitch doublets. We have patents pending on the applicable technological innovations. The Patent and Trademark Office has approved all key claims. We demonstrate our ADAHRS technology on an equipped Piper Saratoga out of Moffett Field, Calif., or San Jose Airport in the San Francisco Bay area.