History research
I am carrying out research for a proposed book regarding pilots who lost their lives whilst serving with the Air Transport Auxiliary (ATA) in Britain during WWII.
The ATA ferried aircraft to the RAF during the war and a total of 1,500 men and woman served, sadly over 150 were killed, some of them from the USA.
One of those who lost his life was First Officer Willard Noel Estes of Santa Monica, California who was killed attempting to land a Spitfire at Biggin Hill airfield on 26th June 1941, he was 30 years old.
I know little of him other than he was the son of William A. Estes and Maude Ellen Estes of 11077 Defoe Street, Paconia, California.
I am trying to locate surviving relatives to obtain any information and photos of F/O Estes which I can use in my proposed book.
I very much hope you can help by publishing my request in your newspaper.
Jim Corbett
4 Redesmouth Road
United Kingdom
NE48 2EH

Cosponsor H.J.Res.119 To Overturn Citizens United Now
“Citizens United” is a lie beginning at the name. The proper title ought to be “Corporations United” which maintains the theory that money is the root of all evil and is the key to manipulation through fear and greed. Satisfaction is obtained by a minority as the majority suffers. Democracy in politics must represent the betterment for the masses not for the privileged few. Please fulfill your obligation as a representative for the people! Support overturning Citizens United.
Carla Finnerman
Santa Monica

Big blue bus stop
This letter is to provide some recognition of the community members that are advocates of the Big Blue Bus Stop Improvement Project and are voicing support for this design, which has been sorely lacking in the recent coverage of the Project.
It appears that many forming opinions are sorely uninformed on the actual process that transpired. Perhaps this would be altered if there were some acknowledgement in the press of the extensive community outreach conducted (riders, drivers, store owners, etc.), and that what previously existed, and would have been the alternative to the new stops, would be the traditional metal pole and sign, with no shade or seating at all.
Devan Long
Santa Monica

This $7 million dollar plus boondoggle shows how removed the city council is from the people they serve. What should have been done was to install full canopies around the existing bus benches and add real time displays so we can see when the next bus is coming. Think San Francisco, or Portland, Oregon.
Howard Meibach
Santa Monica

Facts not cats

Your July 15 reader’s letter, which attempted to create an analogy between operations at Santa Monica Airport (SMO) and domestic cat ownership, to support complaints about activity at the airport, is at odds with history, with current operations and with the safety record for business aircraft traffic at SMO and elsewhere.
The entrepreneurs and companies that rely on an airplane for business at SMO would prefer to focus on facts, not cats, when discussing matters related to the airport, and here are a few relevant facts about SMO.
Santa Monica Airport has always been a dynamic, commercial enterprise – military and airline aircraft manufactured at the airport by the former Douglas Aircraft began operating there in the 1930s, up through the famous production line of large, DC-7 aircraft. The first business jets manufactured by Learjet operated at SMO as early as 1963.
The airport has been home to traffic from those aircraft, and others, for several decades, because SMO’s runway was rebuilt by the federal government during World War II to handle large, four-engine transport aircraft, which were flown in support of the American war effort. Those heavy lifters, by the way, were propeller-driven – noisy by the standards of today’s turbine-engine airplanes – and were roughly three times the weight of a business airplane like the Gulfstream GIV.
Also overlooked in your reader’s letter is the fact that annual flight operations at the airport have declined from the 1966 peak year by about 74 percent. This reflects, in part, operations parameters set by the airport and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to limit noise and emissions. In fact, the noisier “Stage II” aircraft that have used SMO will soon be a thing of the past, replaced by quieter, more fuel-efficient Stage III airplanes.
Equally important, the record on the safety of operations for general aviation aircraft, like those at SMO, has been one of continual improvement. The incident cited in your reader’s letter aside, all available data on the two-pilot, corporate-flown business aviation flights like the ones at SMO indicate that those operations are as safe as those conducted by the commercial airlines.
It’s also worth noting that SMO is an important facility in the nation’s aviation transportation system, and the numbers illustrate its value not only to the nation, but to the region: the airport’s operations, based on an annual budget of $4.3 million, support 175 local businesses, 1,500 jobs, and generate an annual economic impact in the community of $250 million.
Here’s the bottom line: aircraft activity at SMO is lower, quieter, cleaner and more economically beneficial to the community than it’s ever been. It’s too bad that these facts were lost in an overly simplistic catfight.

Ed Bolen
President and CEO
National Business Aviation Association

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