Why so many military planes are crashingWhile politicians...


October 01, 1997

Why so many military planes are crashing

While politicians and others seek the band-aids for the spate of accidents involving our military aircraft, the relationship between the Clinton administration's cutbacks over the last five budget years and the accidents is obvious to those of us who spent the bulk of our working lives involved with military aviation.

One need only talk to the commanders and line pilots of any Air Force or Navy aviation unit to see the relationship.

Experienced pilots of these potentially lethal aircraft are leaving the services in droves for lucrative jobs in commercial aviation, leaving more junior people to fill the void. The same is true of ground crews who do the maintenance.

There is not enough money in the budgets for the fuel, lubricants and spare parts needed to conduct the training hours any military force needs to stay combat-ready. As a result, pilots are less proficient and the aircraft less dependable.

When an aircraft is not flown and the systems are not powered up almost daily, seals in the vital fuel and hydraulic systems dry out and burst, causing emergencies with which younger, less experienced pilots cannot cope.

All branches of the military are stretched to dangerous levels by the continual and endless deployments ordered, not because of military necessity but for nation-building programs like Haiti and Bosnia that have no relationship to national defense. Stop being the world's police force.

The answer is very simple: Appropriate the money the armed forces need to prepare themselves to carry out their primary mission -- national defense.

Stop eating up the defense budget with these costly non-defense activities and support our people in uniform. Then the accidents will stop.

Chuck Frainie


The only way to go in space is nuclear

I wonder sometimes what people think makes a spacecraft go, and if they remotely understand the physics involved with space flight.

Solar-powered spacecraft do not use solar power to move them. The solar panels power radio equipment and computers. Solar-powered craft drift to their destination, and they take years to arrive.

A nuclear-powered craft would have the power to operate engines to drive the ship much faster than it could drift. Space shuttles use liquid fuel, not solar panels. But there's no way you could store enough liquid fuel to power a ship to Mars. Only a fission drive can do that currently, and that uses plutonium.

Until we learn how to make small fusion power plants, which use ordinary water as fuel, plutonium-powered nuclear drives are what we have to use. Nuclear power is the power source of the future, and solar power will be obsolete.

Jason Ruth

Bel Air

British royalty is British business

This is in response to T. Bruce Godfrey's letter (Sept. 20) about British monarchy.

When America took over the management of the world, it seems that some of its citizens felt it their duty to deplore the existence of a monarchy in Britain.

Royalty is a British institution which has been evolving for over a thousand years. It is answerable to the British people, not to foreigners, and should not be swept away by people whose knowledge of history goes no farther back than 1776.

It is no coincidence that the most enlightened democracies have constitutional monarchs with no power at all except to unite their people. Actually, kings of industry can do more harm to a nation than royalty.

Under a monarchy, Britain has become a stable and law-abiding nation; what it doesn't have are militant groups arming &r themselves to take over the government.

Frank Matthews


Did Glendening notice crabs were females?

The front page of The Sun for Sept. 26 shows Gov. Parris N. Glendening ''checking the catch'' of a bushel of crabs.

I've been crabbing for over 50 years, and to ensure that there will be crabs for all in the future, I never keep any females. If I can't get a jimmy, then I would rather get nothing.

Note that the entire photo shows only females. Egg-bearing or not, taking the females has to cut down production in years to come.

David I. Rubin

Randallstown We are all aware that the actions of one or two police officers publicized in the media may bring about a strong judgment by many concerning the entire Baltimore County Police Department. As you know, the Baltimore County Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has been especially sensitive to allegations of any police misconduct coming to its attention.

However, this letter is about a few police officers in the homicide unit, who in their meticulous, persistent, tenacious, devoted and manifested professionalism bring honor to the Baltimore County Police Department and notch up the level of public trust in the minority community, if not the general community.

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