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Re: JFK Missing -- Coverage

I am a conservative also but my political leanings have nothing to do with 
the nausea that I am experiencing over not only the coverage but the 
government attention as well.  Like Mr. Kennedy I am also a pilot, probably 
with more hours than he has.  I my rented Piper Arrow went into the drink 
with my wife and sister-in-law on board you can bet that we wouldn't have 
half the Coast Guard looking for us.

A couple of points that seem to be overlooked by the media:

1.  The Piper Saratoga is a very reliable single engine airplane.  It is 
correctly referred to as a "Saratoga"  or a "PA-32" not a "Piper 32".

2.  The generally accepted rule for flying single engine is to stay within 
gliding distance of shore.  This is not an FAA regulation but rather a rule 
of thumb.  If you are going to fly beyond that, the plane must be equipped 
with rafts and vests.  The flight path that is being depicted on TV from NJ 
has him flying over a couple of expanses of water.

3.  Martha's Vineyard, as well as Nantucket, are notorious for fogging in 
suddenly.  The meteorologists on TV have danced around the fact that the 
temperature and dewpoint were relatively close, a prime condition for fog.

4.  At night the ocean and sky are sometimes hard to differentiate.

5.  The news stories make no reference of Kennedy having an instrument 
rating meaning that he was only trained to fly VFR (Visual Flight 
Rules).  FAA studies have shown that the average life span of a 
non-instrument rated pilot (ie. a VFR pilot) who flies into instrument 
conditions (fog, clouds, etc.) is 3 minutes.

6.  It is a commonly accepted practice, even on VFR flights, to file a 
flight plan and/or to ask air traffic control for "VFR Flight 
Following".  This is an optional service that has the air traffic 
controllers following your flight on radar and advising you of any air 
traffic in the area.  It serves as a second set of eyes for you.  At the 
very least they'd have some idea where he went down.  Reports indicate that 
he made no such request for services and no radio contact after leaving the 
NJ area.

Given the above facts, the NTSB would normally crucify a pilot with their 
findings for poor judgement.  It will be interesting to see the political 
whitewash that is applied to the report.  I'd even be interested in 
starting a pool to see how long it will take for the Kennedy family to sue 
Piper Aircraft for some alleged failure of the plane to cover the poor 
judgement. (This is actually a fairly common practice in the aviation 
industry.  - A pilot goofs and drives his airplane into a mountain and the 
family sues the airplane manufacturer.)

It was a tragedy that three people died but lets forget that they are not 
royalty and are entitled to nothing more that you or I if we were in that 

Brian Vita

At 10:41 PM 7/17/99 -0400, you wrote:
>It sounds like some of Dan's conservative leaning beliefs are talking 
>here.  If
>Nancy Reagan or Barbara Bush were involved in a plane crash, the coverage 
>also be wall to wall.  Amy Carter and the Reagan kids were not in the public
>spotlight nearly as long as JFK Jr. was, and they never recieved any lasting
>noteriety.  Also, many older Americans have followed JFK Jr. since the Kennedy
>assassination, which was another great Kennedy tragedy.  This country has been
>focused on this family, this very DEMOCRATIC family, for many, many years, 
>and it
>sound like Mr. Billings is letting his political views tarnish what is a very
>legitimate news story, probably this biggest news story of the year.
>Mike Thomas
>WXLO & Mediabase 24/7