Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor: Readers would not board Boeing 737 MAX due to safety concerns

In this March 14, 2019, file photo, workers walk next to a Boeing 737 MAX 8 airplane parked at Boeing Field, in Seattle. A published report says pilots of an Ethiopian airliner that crashed followed Boeing's emergency steps for dealing with a sudden nose-down turn but couldn't regain control.
In this March 14, 2019, file photo, workers walk next to a Boeing 737 MAX 8 airplane parked at Boeing Field, in Seattle. A published report says pilots of an Ethiopian airliner that crashed followed Boeing's emergency steps for dealing with a sudden nose-down turn but couldn't regain control. AP

In response to Will Powers’ letter on the Federal Aviation Administration: Will, I fear your praise of the FAA might be unfounded.

The latest 737 to break ground with its fuselage had just the day before been saved by an off-duty pilot who happened to be aboard, knew about the controversial anti-stall system and saved the plane and all souls aboard.

Because of the lack of any communication, the same plane was again sent up the next day with pilots who were ignorant of the computerized stall system and, bingo, the second 737 with an anti-stall system lost its sway on gravity. Of course, no one at the FAA will be fired because the feds take care of their own. In conclusion, I would not board this aircraft.

Mike Morgan, Los Osos

Former test pilot’s view

As a former test pilot holding an FAA Air Transport Rating, I feel compelled to comment on recent tragic Boeing 737 MAX aircraft crashes.

Boeing philosophy has always been to include pilots in any decisions involving aircraft control. How then could it install a system that controls pitch attitude without even mentioning the system in the flight manual, especially a system whose responses to sensor failure are nose-down pitch commands in nine-second intervals?

This “runaway trim” is a serious emergency requiring immediate pilot action before manual control becomes insufficient for recovery.

It is inconceivable to me that test pilots and engineers at Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration did not have reservations about the safety and secrecy of this control modification. Has the cozy relationship between Boeing (with its legion of lobbyists since it acquired Douglas Aircraft) and the FAA (under pressure to promote rather than regulate flying) resulted in a chipping away of expected safety margins?

“Sully” Sullenberger cannot pilot every flight. Simple ethics demand that safety must always trump economic competitiveness.

Dan Biezad, San Luis Obispo

U.S. supports tyranny

Does anyone wonder when or how the United States of America became entitled or obligated to topple the governments of other countries? Do people realize that we almost always attack democracy in favor of tyranny? This sorry tradition began in the very early days of our Republic.

Many of our Founding Fathers were rich, property-owning white men. In those days, property wasn’t just real estate but also people: women and slaves. Social inequity led to corruption, then to violence in almost endless cycles. Did you know that since the last time Congress declared war on another country (1941) the U.S. has been engaged in over 300 military conflicts worldwide? Is this what a “leader of the free world” does?

Since we may be going to war in Venezuela soon, let’s take a look at our neighbors in Latin America. Try to find a nation where the USA has not replaced an elected government with dictatorship. Costa Rica is one. Sometimes our troops directly invade another country: Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and Grenada. Usually, we support in-country dissidents: Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Panama (again), Nicaragua (again), Colombia, Chile, Haiti, and Cuba. Is Venezuela next?

Brian Reynolds, San Luis Obispo

Gerrymandering is always wrong

“Supreme Court seems split on partisan gerrymandering” a recent headline stated.

Also mentioned was “extreme partisan gerrymandering.” Is not gerrymandering always partisan? Gerrymandering’s purpose is to ensure one political side or the other has an edge to win an election. Why is the Supreme Court involved (particularly this partisan Supreme Court)? It’s just the wrong way to do business. Eliminate gerrymandering completely; make elections fair. This should be a regulation and states should be required to fix this pervasive problem.

Jeanne Dukes, Paso Robles

Oppose blacktop; support trees

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has proposed a Green New Deal that aims to address climate change. Her resolution is designed to preserve access to nature including access to clean water and clean air. Her resolution also promises to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

None of this can be achieved while we are allowing the creation of urban heat islands and the indiscriminate removal of carbon-sequestering trees. Heat islands are comprised of black or dark flatwork, building facades and roofs. Heat islands trap pollution, trap heat and make ozone form faster. Trees sustain wildlife, retain runoff, reduce ambient temperatures and clean the air.

Each of us can take it upon ourselves to oppose the following:

▪ Blacktop surfaces in any open area, particularly within small and large parking lots.

▪ Newly-built buildings arbitrarily painted black or existing buildings that are “fashionably” updated by painting them black.

▪ The continuous wholesale removal of large and small trees within our cities.

Aggressive reaction to these three unacceptable modifications to our environment will help to getting the Green New Deal rolling. The SLO city government’s passive attitude regarding these issues must come to a stop. We are running out of time.

Allan Cooper and David Brodie, San Luis Obispo

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