Tense Days at Tempelhof
The picture of Tempelhof Airport (Soundings, p. 11, Aug. 2011) fills me with nostalgia. I was stationed there from 1962 to 1964, analyzing air-to-air and air-to-ground communications for the U.S. Air Force Security Service’s 6912th Security Squadron.
You never knew what was going to happen from day to day in Berlin. One day a T-34 trainer strayed over East Germany and was promptly shot down. (Seeing the wreckage convinced me we were in Berlin for serious business.) Another day, a Polish air force captain defected with his wife and two children by flying a two-seat trainer into Tempelhof. And once a Canadian TV broadcaster flew his Cessna from West Germany to Berlin without permission from the Soviets. He was pounced on by MiGs. U.S. ground controllers managed to get him into Berlin without his being shot down, although the MiG pilots did use warning flares and dropped landing gear to try to force him down.
Newberry, South Carolina
Do Airplane Models Kill?
Replying to the article “PilotCam” (June/July 2011), Mark Smith says that “the aeromodeling community has a superior safety record that exceeds that of any other form of aviation” (Letters, Aug. 2011). What is the basis for comparing the safety of aeromodels to the safety of piloted aviation?
Lieut. Cdr. Rawson Mordhorst
U.S. Navy (ret.)
Oak Harbor, Washington
Editors’ reply: Mark Smith, president of the Academy of Model Aeronautics, says, “Over the span of more than 100 years, the number of deaths in the United States attributed to model aircraft can be counted on one hand.” Nevertheless, he acknowledges that comparing model aviation to full-sized, manned aviation “is a bit like comparing Go Kart racing to NASCAR.”