Flight 5191 tragic crash purely the result of pilot error
I was disappointed in the slant of the Aug. 28 editorial about Flight 5191. It was aimed at finding fault where there was none, and reluctantly made a single sentence comment that the accident was pilot error.
As a former flight instructor, I can tell you without hesitation what those pilots did wrong. In most accidents resulting from pilot error, three mistakes are made. In this case, the third mistake was fatal.
The No. 1 rule before advancing the throttle to takeoff power is to crosscheck the compass, the directional gyro and the runway heading. All three had to agree or you don't go. In the case of 5191, when the aircraft was taxied into position, the directional gyro and compass should have said 220 degrees not 260 degrees, which is the runway 26 they were on.
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Because it was dark, rainy and overcast, the pilots should have set their backup navigation radio to the active runway, which was 22. This would have given them an additional mind-set as to which runway they were to use. I always did this because, if an emergency occurred at takeoff, I was prepared to navigate back to the active runway.
With the runway under construction, this should have created more vigilance. And all they had to do was call the tower and make a request, which they didn't.
It is always good to have an extra pair of eyes, but when pilots start the engines, all decisions are ultimately their responsibilities — no one else's.
Bad UK PR
I read with dismay of the decision by DeWayne Peevy, University of Kentucky's associate athletics director of media relations, to "punish" the student newspaper's basketball writer by banishing him from interviews with the team on Tuesday.
It seems the student writer had the nerve to contact two students rumored to be walk-ons and ask them if that was indeed the case.
Imagine that. A reporter who was actually doing the job he is supposed to, seeking to disseminate the free flow of information. Seems, though, according to Peevy, the reporter violated a policy of having to go through UK's media relations department before interviewing student athletes.
As a veteran public-relations practitioner who has always believed that a big part of our job is to encourage the free flow of information, I am appalled and disheartened by Peevy's actions.
What next, Peevy? Are you going to compile an "enemies list" to keep the media you don't like at bay?
As always, I'm sure that this flagrant disregard for First Amendment rights will drop by the wayside, since in these parts UK basketball can pretty much get away with anything it pleases.
Every media outlet, including the Herald-Leader, should have boycotted the media event, leaving Peevy with an empty room.
Franklin J. Kourt
Amen on jobs lottery
What a brilliant and focused idea a letter writer proposed in the Aug. 14 paper: using the $122 million surplus to set up a job lottery to fund 3,300 jobs for a year in the state.
I agree with the argument that parking the money in the rainy-day fund will subject it to the whims and grabs of state politicians or employees.
Let's focus on the major problem in our economy: jobs. I challenge Kentucky's employers and unions to get behind this program. Perhaps this money could be shared 50-50 with for-profit concerns which could use it to expand their businesses.
The state probably has some high priority projects that it would like to fund but cannot.
This program's administration needs to be worked out quickly, within 60 days if possible, so we can focus on providing jobs to thousands of long-term unemployed as soon as possible, especially those whose benefits have run out.
Gregory W. Johnson
Let me get this straight.
The Museum of Science in Bowling Green, which is highly regarded by many of our schools, is closing due to a lack of funds.
The Ark Park, which will ignore science, will be receiving lucrative tax breaks.
Am I missing something here?
Police: Buckle up
It's ironic that a police officer could forget to fasten the seat belt when I'm sure there is a symbol for it on the cruiser's instrument panel as well as an audible bell to remind the driver to buckle up.
There's such a device in all my vehicles. Citizens' taxes shouldn't be used to pay for sick leave due to an officer's injuries caused by his own negligence and failure to abide by the law.
Buckle up. It's the law.
I enjoyed Tom Eblen's column on what to do with the Rupp Arena district. Wouldn't it be nice, though, to have back the hundreds of historic homes that were leveled to make the parking lot?
Regarding the Aug. 28 Cartoon To The Editor by John Barber, "Another Schmuck From Texas": You owe Texas Gov. Rick Perry an apology.
Publishing a cartoon, or any other comment, that refers to anyone as a "schmuck" is beneath you. Although the word may be construed to mean a contemptible person, the word actually means penis.
I'm sure you are aware of the brouhaha that resulted from journalist Mark Halperin referring to President Barack Obama by a similar vuglarity on the Morning Joe program June 29.
Halperin was forced to apologize and was briefly suspended.
Edward Carroll Hale
Debacle on Main St.
Is there any way that L-M Asphalt Partners Ltd, which has virtually completed the double crossover diamond exchange at the Harrodsburg-New Circle Road interchange in Lexington ahead of schedule and under budget, can come to Nicholasville and help the commissioned company complete the Main Street Project debacle?
The downtown businesses are dying on the vine due to the extremely slow rate at which the current commissioned contractor is attempting to complete the project, not to mention the wear and tear on our vehicles for those of us who travel Main Street on a daily basis.
Truth from the coalfields
First Herald-Leader columnist Tom Eblen says let's stop saying "war on coal." Then, in all sarcasm, says state officials want to "blow up more mountains."
Then on July 31, activist Erik Reece says "EPA is finally doing it's job." It really is overdoing it.
In a photo, Reece stands in front of a place where the grass is brown like it will never return. He looks plenty mad in the picture, like he did when author Wendell Berry severed ties with the University of Kentucky over coal money.
How come he's not mad about the pretty little coal pile UK has to keep warm with in the winter? Maybe he should get a wind machine up on one of these pretty reclaimed spots and let his hot air power it, 'cause there sure ain't enough wind to run a car battery.
What Reece doesn't get about standing up for people of the coalfields is that most of us work in them. Why would anyone feel relief over losing their jobs when you don't show proof that you have something better? Believe me, Reece doesn't have it.
As for Wyoming coal, which Reece says is replacing Kentucky coal, I haul it from dock to dock.
It's too wet and its BTUs are well below ours. It has to be mixed with ours so it can burn. Without a job we'd perish, too.
Ray E. Davis Jr.
Slick hypocrisy on coal
I was fascinated by state Rep. Rick Nelson's Aug. 21 commentary, "Proud to be a coal miner's defender." While most politicians nowadays resort to slick hypocrisy, he is head and shoulders above the rest. To him I say, "Shame on you," for duping the people he calls the "best of the best."
As hardworking miners, they deserve honest representation, not the sham praise he offered them and the coal industry.
Anyone (I hope the miners included) who has any sense at all can clearly see he really represents the coal companies. And he is entitled to do that.
But he should just be honest, as the good Christian he purports to be, and say so. We might not agree with him, but we might respect him for not being a hypocrite.
And, please, don't try to snow people with the term "clean coal." Coal has never been and will never be clean. He is entitled to his opinion, but not his own set of facts.
We know that coal is currently a necessary evil, but don't try to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. The Environmental Protection Agency and the other so-called "detractors" are not the enemy. He is.
Bell County football prayers
Williams mixing religion, politics
GOP gubernatorial candidate Sen. David Williams is engaging in the ugliest kind of theopoliticking and religion-baiting.
Our U.S. Constitution explicitly bars any religious test for public office. Yet it seems it's no-holds barred for dirty politicking in the land of Fox TV, Tea Party politics and the evangelical extreme right.
Our national organization, on behalf of a family in Bell County, complained to a local superintendent about the fact that his district was inviting clergy, almost exclusively Christian, to pray at over a PA system during football games.
It is settled and incontrovertible law that school officials may not direct students to pray — much less when to pray and who to pray to.
Fortunately, officials in Bell County recognized they were indeed breaking the law, and have agreed to stop.
Williams is not as educable, apparently.
He should know that decades of Supreme Court rulings protect the freedom of conscience of a captive audience of schoolchildren. The court has noted that when schools favor or promote religion and devotionals, it invariably turns some students into insiders and others into outsiders. The purpose of our public schools is to educate, not to proselytize. Religion in schools is divisive, and builds walls between children.
Williams' quarrel isn't with us. His quarrel appears to be with the secular nature of the very constitution which governors must take an oath to uphold. Williams' manipulation of this issue shows the necessity of keeping religion out of politics.
Annie Laurie Gaylor
Co-president, Freedom From Religion Foundation
Public prayer is coercive
I have read and heard many complaints about Bell County school officials ending prayer before high school football games under threat of a lawsuit. I am mystified by the consistency of the political and religious views of these malcontents.
They want small government. They want minimal government intervention in economics and education. They want competition and free markets. They espouse rugged individualism with maximal personal freedom, liberty, independence and self-reliance. They want all of that — except when it comes to faith and belief.
Then they want big, public and pervasive intermingling of government and religion. They want a god mentioned on our currency and license plates, in our pledges, oaths, courtrooms and classrooms and definitely at our football games and holiday celebrations.
They conveniently forget about individualism, competition and the evils of big government Their prayer must be loud, proud, overtly Christian and sanctioned by government.
They say if you object, you don't have to participate. Can you remain seated? Do you have to remove your hat or bow your head? Do you have to say "Amen"? Can you continue talking to your friend about your team's prospects for a win?
What if a believer is distracted or offended by your behavior? Whose personal freedom wins out? What if you are sitting near your religious boss? What if you are sitting near your churchgoing teacher who you asked for a recommendation for college admission?
Isn't coercive public prayer a wonderful American tradition?
Prayers didn't impose religion
The decision by Bell County school officials to dispense with the traditional offering of a prayer before a football game was supposedly based on the requirement of the First Amendment to the Constitution The officials were reminded in a letter from a Wisconsin outfit that they would be in line for an expensive lawsuit if the exercise was continued.
The prayers are usually offered on behalf of the players, who ironically are about to commit mayhem upon each other, and for other concerns such as safekeeping for military personnel and guidance for the nation's leaders.
There is no attempt to respect or disrespect or even to acknowledge an establishment of religion. There is only the addressing of God for a certain result, as well as the offering of thanks.
The prayer, therefore, cannot in any way injure those who believe God doesn't exist. They consider themselves outside the activity altogether, thus cannot possibly be harmed. They are not victims of evangelistic effort.
Indeed, prayers are offered before the daily activities in Congress, part of actual government operations performed in government facilities. That would seem far more condemnatory, if out of order. The inscriptions of God on coins and official documents and government buildings, in state constitutions and in certain oaths furnish proof that God does not represent an establishment of religion. God just is — or isn't — depending on individual preference.
Rule by the minority shouldn't happen as long as no one gets hurt, as in this case.