Happy July 4th!
To have complete sovereignty over our own country, we killed a lot of people, enslaved millions more for an extra generation (the British freed most slaves in their empire in 1833), and stole a ton of additional land from the Native Americans (west of the Proclamation Line, which the British had honored).
Let’s talk about the dividends from this sacrifice (mostly paid for by others!).
Readers: What do you think is great about the U.S. compared to other countries, especially the UK?
My personal vote is our aviation infrastructure. On a recent trip to Canada, we landed at CYHM (Hamilton, Ontario), which has a 10,000′ runway, no 100LL fuel, and, despite imposing a CAN$50 ramp fee, no chocks sized for a Cirrus. We then repositioned to CYSN (near Niagara Falls), where the FBO has only one person on staff to pump fuel and run credit cards. The woman who was working on the Friday when we arrived said that she had never added oil to an aircraft.
Compare to the U.S., where the 100LL truck may pull up to the airplane before you’ve gotten out and where the line personnel push to learn and do everything that they can. No plane? We have a higher density of flight schools and rental clubs than anywhere else in the world.
How about innovation? At a small airport here in Massachusetts, I stumbled on a hydrogen-powered hexcopter that seats five and is close to ready for tethered flight. The energy density of hydrogen is much higher than today’s best batteries (Toyota has placed huge contrarian bets on hydrogen fuel cells for cars, where weight is much less of an issue), so this aircraft can have vastly superior range and payload to a battery-powered plane or multicopter. Flight control is accomplished by varying the speeds of the six motors (not blade pitch, as in a conventional helicopter). If things go truly south, there is an airframe parachute, as with the Cirrus. The full-scale carbon fiber test vehicle is impressive and the company, Alaka’i Technologies, seems to have ample funding (big boost received in 2018) and a full slate of industry veterans.
Readers: What do you love about the U.S., especially things that are different from the U.K. or a result of our being an independent sovereign nation?