To the Editor
As a 20-year veteran of Naval Air, I am naturally excited to see our town of Emporia, being considered by the Navy, as having an airfield, suitable for use, to train our new Naval Pilots, as well as keeping older pilots current, to land aboard our aircraft carriers at sea.
Field Carrier Landing Practice, or FCLP's are so important, as it sharpens the skills of our pilots to safely land upon the carriers in almost any sea condition, especially at night.
The word "Field" means that they start with a stable platform, not a rolling and pitching deck at sea. Having served aboard many aircraft carriers at sea, I know how important this training for the pilots is.
I have seen the many and various conditions, that these men are called upon, just to land on a flight deck.
Their skills and bravery should be revered, by all of us.
The E2A's or "Spin Tops" commonly called by our sailors, are so vital to our carriers, as with their radars, they protect the fleet, by scanning the air for enemy aircraft or missiles, that could cause harm well in advance, so that our fighter aircraft can intercept and destroy same, or at least in time, to have the various weapon systems aboard our ships, to be ready to fire.
The C-2 Greyhound also plays a no less important role to our carriers at sea. They fly aboard, bringing the parts and supplies necessary to keep everything working properly.
So Emporia has a real part of being a city that supports the greatest Navy in the world. I truly hope that we will welcome the opportunity, if chosen.
There is one point that seems to be omitted from any articles in the news. What about possible accidents?
Will the Navy have crash trucks on the field during these operations? Even during fairly safe operations as FCLP's are, accidents do sometimes occur, and it would seem to me, that with Emporia having only a volunteer fire department, that mostly fights structural fires, it seems inadequate to fight an aircraft fire, both time wise and in training. Perhaps the Navy would consider furnishing the crash trucks and hiring and training a civilian crew to man such trucks that would be equipped with fire fighting foam etc. They would only be available and on site during the periods that the FCLP's are being conducted only. These are Turbo-Prop aircraft, the props are driven by small jet engines, and they use JP-fuels. With the numbers of FCLP's projected to be done at our airfield, I feel this point needs attention and agreement.
It also may do well to have the Navy put on a demonstration of these aircraft performing FCLP's so that the citizens of Emporia can see first hand what takes place. It very well could calm the dubious, of these operations, disturbing our way of life in Emporia.
Richard W. Fraley