Bravo to the U.S. Navy and McDonnell Douglas for a mutually beneficial solution to the pilot training problem ("With Trainers Scarce, Military Tries Civilians," Oct. 18). Balancing manpower constraints and budget considerations calls for new alternatives.
I recall the cost of $250,000 for each bullet fired against the enemy by Navy planes in World War II. The training of pilots has never been inexpensive in dollars or lives, but pilot training by civilian contractors who design, build and know the product makes sense. Technical representatives of contractors have been a vital part of squadrons for many years as the planes became more sophisticated.
However, the artist's conception you published of the T-45 landing on the carrier deck is cause for alarm. That pilot appears to be a sure candidate for a crash into the "spud locker."
ERNEST J. THABET JR.
Thabet is a retired U.S. Navy fighter pilot.