ANN's E-I-C Counters WESH's Hysteria and Errant Reporting (As
Sent To WESH)
It sure is a shame when
suggestion takes the place of good research in regional journalism.
The facts, if they had been properly researched, would show that GA
airplanes make very poor weapons. Their payload is limited, the
range likewise and their targeting capabilities are (at best) poor.
As already demonstrated, far better targeting and payload
capabilities exist with the use of a simple utility (ground)
I am particularly displeased with your so-called experts...
equating the destructive capability of a GA aircraft with a cruise
Surely, you must be mistaken. The facts don't remotely support
such an argument.
GA aircraft, for the most part, are woefully short on the mass
and inertia to make an effective weapon.. one variant of CALCM
Block I cruise missile utilizes a 3,000-pound Class blast
fragmentation warhead (some are fitted with warheads designed for
target penetration prior to detonation) and delivers that load at
speeds just below Mach. Please contrast the "high subsonic"
capabilities of such a carefully crafted weapon with the average
1600 pound (max weight... plane, pilot, payload, fuel--TOTAL)
Cessna 150 that barely gets around at 100 knots (115 mph) or even a
123 kt Cessna 172 of 2450 pounds gross weight (again, that's the
WHOLE plane PLUS fuel, pilot and other payload).
Folks; you can stuff more into a VW bus... but why let facts
cloud a sensational news story that seems designed to provoke fear
and hysteria in an anti-aviation, post 9/11 world?
And, by the way, do TRY
and stuff that payload all the way into the tail of an aircraft --
as described by your reporter ("have storage all the way back into
the tail"... but also know that the laws of physics, and proper
weight and balance principles are likely to make that aircraft more
and unflyable as you keep stuffing weight aft. Do it far enough and
the airplane simply won't be controllable... but some simple
fact-checking would have revealed that flaw in your
argument--something that every student pilot is taught early
I might also suggest that when looking for more experts to prove
your point (which was what this piece seemed to be intending all
along), that you line up experts with more extensive and
authoritative credentials than being an aircraft painter to
delineate your concerns about the destructive capability of GA
The portion about dangers to nuclear plants was also
dramatically and errantly overplayed. Numerous learned studies
(available upon request) suggest that light aircraft make LOUSY
weapons against nuclear facilities and also suggest that even a
fully fueled airliner (of many hundreds of thousands of pounds)
would not be able to create the kind of damage needed to pose an
effective terrorist threat.
There's more... much more... but that's just a few (but not
all--by a long shot) of the points that alarmed us over the course
of just a few minutes of viewing your poorly researched and
narrated article about general aviation security issues. Next time,
I suggest that you do the kind of research that would NOT allow us
to poke numerous holes in your arguments over the course of just a
few minutes. Yes, that would take some real work and consultation
with experts who can make rational and documented arguments for or
against any concept... but I guess that kind of effort is reserved
for a period when "Sweeps Frenzy" isn't still fresh in your
As an aviation journalist, aviator, flight instructor and test
pilot, I am thoroughly disappointed in WESH's poor work on this
Jim Campbell, ANN Editor-In-Chief