No cash to sponsor students While we would all love to bathe under a sunny gold sponsorship society for Joint Aviation Authorities commercial pilots' courses, it is now a reality that no company these days has the cashflow to tie money up in sponsored training. Doctors fund themselves, accountants fund themselves and the only programmes that go some way to sponsorships are the services and their degree programmes. Mr Cunningham (Flight International, 28 September-4 October) refers to the high cost of an integrated programme: surely the JAA licence, when issued, can be earned in two ways - integrated or the modular route. The successful candidates pass the same 14 groundschool examinations and the same two Civil Aviation Authority skills tests on the aircraft. The JAA modular route is just that - each module can be conducted to suit a student's financial and time requirements. Each module can be taken and, in one school's programme, can be paid on completion of the module; career development loans can be obtained and some high street banks will offer unsecured loans to selected candidates. A professionally run modular programme will produce just as good a commercial pilot as one from an integrated course and probably at half the cost, so becoming a JAA commercial pilot with good earnings on job achievement is probably not that bad a deal with, say, a six-year qualification period for a medical man. Colin Green European Pilot Training Academy, Bournemouth, Dorset, UK

Pilot integrity Following A Cunningham's letter about the cost of pilot training (Flight International, 28 September-4 October), I would like to confirm that although I have just borrowed around £65,000 ($115,000) to embark on an integrated air transport pilot licencing course, I would never think of helping or aiding international terrorism in reward for financial gain. While I and most of my fellow students have all had to borrow money from home remortgages, loans or our parents, most of us are too busy with studies to let the thought of financial burden take control. (I probably wouldn't sleep if I thought about it too much.) Surely if the amount of money offered was high enough, the risk of exploitation could affect anyone in the aviation industry who has security access to aircraft? One would hope that tight security and staff professionalism would stop such a threat. Name and address withheld

Rutan has a long way to go Does your correspondent Rob Wallace (Flight International, 12-18 October) really believe what he writes? With respect, Burt Rutan's team has built a small, simple suborbital craft to win a well-defined, relatively straightforward competition flight for a cash prize. The well-defined and straightforward target is something NASA might wish for. However, any comparison between SpaceShipOne and a Space Shuttle flight to resupply the International Space Station (ISS), with acceleration to 40,000km/h (25,000mph), deployment of a useful payload, before safely withstanding the friction of re-entry, is bogus. Were Rutan to produce a craft capable of the ISS support mission for only tens of millions of dollars then NASA might learn something. Peter Johnson Gloucester, UK

Rule clarified Much was made (Flight International, 14-20 September) on the possibility that current exemptions for visual flight rules and instrument flight rules flights performed by aircraft of less than 2,000kg (4,400lb) would be withdrawn under the rules for a common charges system being drawn up by Eurocontrol within the framework of the Single European Sky regulations for a common charging system. I would like to reassure your readers that this is far from being the case. Under the new rules, IFR flight performed by aircraft of less than 2,000kg continue to be exempted from charges. The decision on whether to exempt VFR flights would remain, as it is now, in the purview of individual states. Given the misunderstandings that have arisen in interpreting the text, and in the light of the comments we have received from pilots and aircraft owners, we will be revising the wording of the relevant Article 6 to ensure that it can be better understood by all concerned. Jean-Jacques Sauvage Eurocontrol, Brussels, Belgium

Do away with flightcrews John Chevedden suggests remote fuel dumping from hijacked aircraft to foil terrorists (Flight International, 5-11 October). Why not go a step further and have a remotely operated flight control override facility? Taken to the ultimate conclusion, use the developing unmanned combat air vehicle technology to build cockpit-less aircraft, thus saving the cost of training and employing pilots. I'm sure passengers will feel comfortable in the knowledge that potential hijackers have no means of commandeering the aircraft. Low-cost airlines could provide on-board vending machines for food and drink and do away with cabin crews. John Horspool Lydney, Gloucestershire, UK

Source: Flight International