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VIEWPOINT | Writer lacks understanding of landing practice
The Letter to the Editor titled: “Time for moderate discussion on OLF,” in the 3 August 2013 of the Whidbey News-Times merely amused me. The writer clearly demonstrated little to no understanding of the reason for doing FIELD Carrier Landing Practice (FCLP). To err during FCLP is to merely land a bit short and roll through the painted outline of a carrier’s flight deck. It would certainly gain the ire of the Landing Signal Officer (LSO). To err by landing short during a landing on an aircraft carrier “parked” in Admiralty Inlet, however, is to die in a large fire ball on the back end of the ship (probably taking quite a few of the folks on the flight deck with you). This is a simple case of someone not knowing that their opinion is based on ignorance of the facts. Mr. Sharpe needed to do some additional research before throwing out “solutions.”
The later “Sound Off” article on August 7th by Coupeville Mayor Nancy Conard and County Commissioner Helen Price Johnson, however, did not amuse me at all. In fact, it seriously angered me. They evidently believe that their “kumbaya,” can’t we all just respect each other’s point of view attitude is applicable to the OLF situation. In fact, it is NOT applicable. Actions have consequences, and even words have consequences. The first consequence is that the Anti-OLF group has succeeded in exporting the noise normal to the OLF area back up North to folks living around the Naval Air Station. I am sure that those folks are less than grateful. The second and highly probable consequence, if the OLF is actually closed, is that prior to their deployment the total number of bounces per pilot will be reduced. THAT reduction would actually increase the danger to the lives of the pilots, the flight crews and the folks operating the carrier deck. There were many occasions in my aviation career that I was grateful for every single “pass” my pilot had ever made. His total experience allowed us to squeak aboard when everything else was going against us. Think – Dark, pitching deck, axial wind, heavy rain and a manual mirror operated by the LSO.
My 30 years military experience tells me that anyone who, through their words or actions, endangers my friends or my comrades-in-arms is THE ENEMY. I will expend my time, my effort and my funds to ensure that anyone who is “the enemy” does not prosper. If I find out that a particular person is associated, in any way, with the anti-OLF group, you may be certain that no penny of mine will ever go their way. That attitude also applies to any politician who gives them political support and/or protection. This is MY line-in-the-sand, and I will stand by it!
WILLIAM E. SIMONS
Commander, USN (Ret.)