USAir crashIn the aftermath of USAir Flight 427, I have...

the Forum

September 20, 1994

USAir crash

In the aftermath of USAir Flight 427, I have talked to numerous fellow employees and found that we are all immeasurably saddened and shocked by the event.

My heart goes out to every friend and relative of those who lost their lives. In 21 years of flying as a pilot I have seldom sat down and cried over things related to my flying.

I've had two friends who were killed in Air Force fighter crashes and that brought tears, but nothing like the recent event.

I mourn mostly for the 132 people who lost their lives, but I also mourn for my company, which has suffered more than its share of tragedy.

With over 13 years of command pilot time in the Air Force and 12 years of commercial pilot time that has included test pilot duties at another air carrier, I have seen a myriad of operating practices.

In that time I have seen operations that were as safe as USAir's, but none that was safer.

USAir's maintenance group are extremely thorough and meticulous people who take great pride in their work. If maintenance items arise during the course of a day they are dealt with immediately. Our airplanes simply do not fly unless they are 100 percent safe.

And our pilots, including me, do not accept airplanes unless they are 100 percent safe.

This is a policy that comes from Seth Schofield down. I have never heard of or seen safety compromised at USAir.

Along with USAir's uncompromising maintenance standards, our pilot group is the most experienced and professional I have had the pleasure to be associated with.

Our pilot group simply will not tolerate anything even remotely resembling an unsafe procedure.

Perhaps this is the reason I, my family and my fellow workers have been so profoundly affected by this tragedy.

David S. Hunt

Ellicott City

The writer is a 737 pilot for USAir.

Court clerk

As Ken Keatley says, ''Let our registers of wills and sheriffs and circuit court clerks rise through the ranks and earn their appointments by their expertise in that area,'' rather than running for election ("Where there are wills, there's a candidate," Sept. 12).

I whole-heartedly support the movement toward making the clerk of the Circuit Court an appointed position.

Under the current system, anyone who is a county resident and has a high school diploma may run.

What you end up with is a clerk who happens to be a good politician but may have absolutely no expertise in the legal system.

Wouldn't it be preferable to have the Circuit Court judges of each county interview applicants for the position and then make a four-year appointment based on the applicant's experience?

If the appointed clerk did a substandard job the judges would be the first to know about it. Judges have the greatest interest in appointing a clerk based on ability rather than popularity.

Leslie J. Cale

Ellicott City

Health competition

By failing to enact a universal, employer furnished health care program, Congress has once again failed the American public.

Such health care, available in every other industrialized capitalist nation, was first proposed by President Truman in the late 1940s and again by President Nixon 20 years later.

Both measures were defeated by special interest lobbying that put corporate profits above the national interest.

This time, however, the opposition of special interests has more serious consequences. We are embroiled in an economic war of survival with a dynamic and united Europe and a resurgent Japan, who enjoy the benefits of managed and universal health care.

To remain competitive on a global scale, we cannot continue to pay 13 percent of GNP for health care while our competitors pay 7 percent to 9 percent and enjoy superior health as measured by infant mortality rates and life expectancy.

Jack Kinstlinger


Too many mouths

I was concerned recently when a TV network news broadcast boasted that the Roman Catholic Church is so powerful that it was able to stall the population conference in Cairo by keeping the issue of abortion in the center of discussion.

To whatever extent the Roman Catholic Church succeeded in stalling the conference, it acted very much to the detriment of humanity. The problems resulting from human population growth are many.

It is clear to me -- and to many others, including the more than 1,700 scientists who signed the Warning to Humanity in 1992 -- that our numbers, compounded by our consumption patterns, create a significant threat to the long-term survival of life on earth.

I do not believe that one can have respect for life without being seriously concerned about these matters.

Melissa Melum


TV election curse

If there is one time that television is a curse upon the country, it is during election time. This certainly was never foreseen by the founding fathers when they were attempting to develop principles for true democracy in framing the Bill of Rights.

After a half-century of both political and civic involvement, the last decade has left this writer disturbed, if not despairing, of the election process.

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