To the editor:
I have been watching with interest the airline service issue in Fort Dodge since Great Lakes Airlines suspended flights into Fort Dodge Feb. 1.
Growing up in Fort Dodge, I obtained most of my flying licenses at the municipal airport during the late '60s and early '70s. I retired in 2011 after a wonderful 34-year career at American Airlines.
My issues with Air Choice One Airlines' bid to serve my former town are these:
The Cessna Caravan Air Choice One plans to fly has only one engine.
The aircraft will be operated with only one pilot if carrying less than 10 passengers.
The latter doesn't bother me as much as the single engine issue. If the engine fails, the plane becomes a glider until it finally lands somewhere; not necessarily at an airport.
Great Lakes would use a twin-engine Beech. So, if one engine fails, the pilot flies to the nearest suitable airport with the remaining engine and safely lands. It also appears that Great Lakes will also operate with one pilot since they propose to carry only nine passengers.
There is a pilot shortage that is real; so maybe this is the best service that can be obtained in thin markets. But, I believe Fort Dodgers and those coming to Fort Dodge by air deserve more than a single-engine aircraft due to the lack of redundancy in case of an engine failure.