No pilot practises over built-up areas

What would Ms. Ramsdin have had the pilot do? Crash into a field full of holes or animals?

Re: the letter (Friday, Feb. 19) from Bernice Ramsdin of Chemainus:

As a pilot of more than 35 years, presently holding a commercial licence and owner of one of the small planes that Ms. Ramsdin is so critical of, I can assure her that no pilot purposely practises aeronautical manoeuvres over any built-up area. That said, the Canadian Aeronautical Regulations state that, in an emergency, a pilot may land an aircraft anywhere. The pilot who safely landed on Highway 18 the other day has my personal congratulations for carrying out an engine-out landing so successfully. What would Ms. Ramsdin have had the pilot do? Crash into a field full of holes or animals?

Ms. Ramsdin should also know that pilots regularly practise emergencies of all sorts, from loss of electrical power to loss of engine power.

They are tested on their emergency knowledge and the manner in which they carry out an emergency. Such practices are carried out AWAY from built-up areas. Knowledge of emergencies is a requirement of aircraft owners’ insurance.

Furthermore, Nanaimo Regional Airport is located just northwest of Chemainus. Aircraft large and small use the only available runway for both landing and take-off. We are required to avoid noise-sensitive areas in the vicinity of the airport; in fact, virtually all airports in Canada and the United States have such avoidance procedures.

Pilots are not allowed to perform the types of manoeuvres mentioned by Ms. Ramsdin — “flying round and round over town, cutting their engine [and] starting up again,” diving and backfiring. Any aircraft doing that sort of thing, large or small, should be reported to the nearest air traffic control facility which, in Ms. Ramsdin’s case, is the Nanaimo Regional Airport. A commission operates the airport; she may call 250-245-2157 to complain.


Manuel Erickson

Mill Bay