Your feature on EADS (Flight International, 8-14 January) set me thinking.

The confidence of the new, almost pan-European conglomerate is impressive, but does immediately beg comparison with the UK's national aerospace company, or rather systems company. EADS is enthusiastic about aviation, takes a long-term view and appreciates that while risks are high, the reward is worth it. BAE Systems, however, has initiated nothing new off its own bat, as far as I can see, since the Hawk. While EADS looks around for partnership, BAE Systems begs and hopes.

I suppose we should be grateful to have any aviation industry at all since the aircraft crazy pioneers died, succeeding governments hacked about and businessmen jumped in. But how long can this continue? The companies that commission rather than beg are already finding suppliers more aviation-enthusiastic and with lower costs than we can match in the UK. What then for BAE Systems - fly-by-wire garage doors and carbon-fibre window boxes?

So what future is there for creative aviation-mad youngsters in the UK? At my local model flying club we run a programme to encourage designers of tomorrow to create their own aircraft, try them out, get excited at the prospects and steer them towards a thoroughly worthwhile career. Are we wasting our time?

David Stevens Woking, Surrey

Source: Flight International