Regarding "3 emergency landings before plane fire" (Sept. 3, Page B-1): Most of us noncommercial pilots go our whole lives without having to make an emergency landing. That isn't by sheer luck, but by detailed flight planning, weather briefing, a thorough walk-around of the aircraft you intend to fly, and, most important -- good pilot judgment, which the pilot in question failed to have. I hope the Federal Aviation Administration takes a very close look at what led up to this potentially disastrous flight and review this pilot's ability to continue flying.
Of the more than 100 pilots I have the pleasure to know, most of whom fly into and out of Modesto airport, I can honestly say not one would even consider attempting to repair an exhaust problem, much less attempt a second takeoff, without a qualified aircraft mechanic repairing or certifying that the repair is correct and that approved parts were used.
Perhaps the saddest part of this accident is the passenger who now may never fly again in a small aircraft.
JIM McKAY, former president,
Modesto Pilots Association and Flying Samaritans