Aero-Analysis by ANN Editor-In-Chief, Jim Campbell
feeling pretty good this morning at ANN.
Having personally worked on flight tests of the early
certified BRS Cessna 150 program (and having flown underneath
that chute quite a few times), I take some personal pride in seeing
"that crazy idea" keep saving lives... again and again and
Face it, no matter the reason, it's a delight to watch the grim
reaper get cheated.
So imagine our delight turning to incredulity when yet another
political animal looking for a cheap headline shows his ignorance
and rains on the GA parade (AGAIN) in some of the local media
coverage surrounding the CAPS save.
The recent "save"
of an SR22 pilot should be yet another opportunity for the world to
marvel at the technology and safety being built into the new
generation of personal aircraft... not as a target for a
self-serving politician to get a few cheap media mentions. In the
most recent case, NY State Assemblyman Ryan Karben, D-Monsey
(right), claimed that the SR22 parachute save "highlighted the
need" to create yet another no-fly zone around the local Indian
Point nuclear power plant.
Let me get this straight... technology saves an endangered pilot
with a brilliant display of American ingenuity and all the
Assemblyman can think to do is to find ways to deprive more
Americans of their right to go as they please?
OK... here's the background to the matter at hand. Media reports
claim that the SR22 chute-assisted landing occurred only a few
miles southeast of Indian Point.
Karben claims that, "Today's plane crash occurred only a short
distance from a major nuclear reactor... Establishing a no-fly zone
and disrupting a flight pattern is a small price to pay if it means
ensuring the safety and security of millions of New Yorkers."
Karben added that, "A catastrophe at Indian Point would be an
emergency for the entire metropolitan region... We need to take
proper preventative measures and minimize the potential for any
sort of accident to occur."
Oblivious to the many PUBLISHED studies that have exhaustively
concluded that light aircraft (and far larger aircraft, including
airliners) pose NO (repeat, NO) threat, Karben has firmly placed
his foot in his mouth and opined on issues with which he apparently
has little knowledge -- and which the facts CLEARLY DO NOT
But... this is where the story gets REALLY bizarre... Even as
the Assemblyman is being quoted in a local article about the Cirrus
save, ranting about the danger that these small airplanes pose to
hardened nuclear facilities, yet another quote, just a few lines
later, shoots him down and shows that Karben is way off base.
The Indian Point Nuke
site is owned by Entergy Nuclear Northeast. Company spokesperson,
Jim Steets, counters Karben and specifically states that such small
aircraft pose no risk to the plant. "There's no question that a
small plane could not penetrate or even cause minor damage to our
containment building," says Steets. And, had Karben or his staff
done the slightest amount of homework, they'd have had plenty of
reasons to have known that.
The sad part is that the stories that quoted the errant
Assemblyman will not always be read thoroughly or
dispassionately... and some people will come away with the errant
and factually insupportable conclusion that GA planes pose a risk
to nuclear safety... all because some minor local politician said
For that, NY State Assemblyman Ryan Karben, D-Monsey, should
apologize. He should do his homework and correct his false and
alarmist statements as vociferously as possible in order to undo
the damage his rants have done. However; according to Karben's
Chief of Staff, Aaron Troodler, this is not likely to happen. When
confronted by some of the FACTS mentioned above (and more),
Troodler's response was to disagree with the studies, the experts
and insist on the need for the actions espoused by the
There's no dissuading some folks from the facts when their mind
is made up. What a shame.