Pilots’ experience crucial

After the Indonesian Lion Air flight that crashed in October and killed 189 people, the Federal Aviation Administration issued an emergency airworthiness directive (AD). This was a very straightforward response to the danger of a false reading about the angle-of-attack or angle of the plane’s nose.

This false reading would cause the computer — not the pilots — to push the plane's nose down so hard that a crash might result. An AD to commercial airliners is a bugle call for action. A series of actions were required, including inspection and recalibration and pilot training.

In this grim scenario, if the pilot had received and understood this training, he/she first would have to recognize that the computer had gone crazy, then find a little switch and turn it off. Heaving back on both control yokes would have required great strength from both pilots to overcome the automated error, perhaps an impossible feat.

The so-sad aspect is that the angle-of-attack instrument is a life-saver — it tells a pilot whether the aircraft is approaching a stall, so that the pilot can take appropriate action. But automated systems don't have a pilot's training to check and confirm such indications before taking action. A simple warning signal is much more effective. This is what has been used for 50 years; I used it in gliders; Navy pilots relied on it for years to control their carrier landings; and it has been adopted in light planes as an essential safety feature.

Had the FAA instructions been followed, the crash of the Ethiopian Airlines plane that killed 157 people might have been prevented. The FAA hasn’t concluded, yet, that the computer control system should be disconnected and replaced by a warning. But one can read between the lines of the Nov. 7 FAA directive.

Andrew Grant, Akron


Connor for Ward 10

Ward 10 residents, would you like to have an Akron City Council person who truly represents you and your neighborhood? I know I would. We need someone to represent us, have meetings, answer our questions and concerns — not just give a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance and have a guest speaker.

Sharon Connor is running in the May 7 primary to represent our ward. Please consider and vote for her. She has been working for us for almost 20 years. She sincerely cares, not just talking, but truly working. She has been a leader of the Residents Improving Goodyear Heights Together Committee (RIGHT), organized National Night Out Against Crime events at Reservoir Park for 10 years, worked to obtain a grant to install 10 Little Free Libraries in the neighborhood and made many more positive contributions. I believe actions do speak louder than words.

Barb Williams, Akron


Scandal is no surprise

The current university admissions scandal should come as no surprise. From the president and his family to Silicon Valley CEOs and Hollywood elites, it's just rich people being rich people. Entitlement is for the rich; meritocracy is for others.

I heard former Sherwin-Williams CEO John Breen speak decades ago. He said he preferred entry-level executive hires who were graduates of state universities who had worked their way through school. He valued demonstrated ability then; that should be the standard now.

Jim Kroeger, Fairlawn