FAA rules not the real problem

April 19, 1996|By Lewis E. Porter

I WAS DISMAYED by the shortsighted opinion of the writer of April 13 editorial, ''The pint-sized pilot,'' in stating that ''the fallout should spur a revision in Federal Aviation Authority (sic) rules governing amateur pilots.''

Even allowing for the writer's apparent lack of familiarity with Federal Aviation Administration regulations, under which a student pilot (there is no category for ''amateur pilots'') must be at least 16 years old, should we try to revise rules that by and large are working effectively because of one highly publicized act of extreme stupidity? Fortunately, there was a hint at the complicity of the media in this incident, when the editorial writer asked, in respect to the ill-timed takeoff, "Would a delay have meant missing an arrival at the next airport filmed in time for the 6 o'clock news?''

Clearly, young Jessica Dubroff was the victim of publicity-seeking adults exercising poor judgment who were encouraged by those media anxious to supply this tabloid-type publicity. It would be better advised to have the media review its own behavior in reporting on these types of ventures aimed at attaining some sort of bogus record than to further victimize a much larger class of responsible pilots through enactment of what would, no doubt, be more restrictive regulations.

Lewis E. Porter



Notwithstanding the eloquence of the April 13 editorial, "The pint-sized pilot," it is indeed a stretch to suggest that a news-hungry society may in part be to blame for the air crash that killed young ''pilot'' Jessica Dubroff.

It may well be true that human society has always admired and applauded very young people who accomplish very remarkable things. But the culpability for Jessica's death lies solely with parents who obviously held their daughter's right to personal freedom more sacred than her right to a safe life.

Your editorial lamented the loss of ''a child whose zest for life was a precious gift.'' Perhaps even more lamentable is the fact that Jessica, like every other child, depended on the adults in her life to take care of her and protect her and they failed her miserably.

Anne Huppmann Kidwell


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