Regarding “Small planes more worrying,” March 11.
The writer is upset by helicopters and small airplanes flying over Sidney. I think he would benefit from visiting the airport and talking to a few pilots.
The young student pilots flying over our neighbourhoods may fly us to Toronto or Shanghai in a few years and I like to think that they will have the right stuff when it counts.
There is no substitute for real flying. Simulators are good for teaching pilots how to deal with some major failures, because if a pilot mis-handles a situation there will be no loss of life or property. However, some situations require reflex-like action in order to save the aircraft, and the best way for the necessary habits and reflexes to be formed is by flying small aircraft.
Most of these training flights also have a professional flight instructor (commercial pilot) on board. The probability of risk to people on the ground is extremely remote.
As for helicopters using runways rather than taking off vertically, those pilots are practicing procedures that would allow them to fly in clouds or greatly reduced visibility. It is important that these military and Coast Guard SAR crews are comfortable on nasty nights as well as sunny afternoons.
The fact that the Airport Authority receives landing fees is inconsequential in comparison. Victoria airport has been a training airport continuously since 1939. Unless the writer has been living in his house since before that time he could easily have chosen, as I did, to live away from the airport departure paths.
Aviation is a beautiful thing. Embrace it!
B. Scott, North Saanich