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Dear Mr. Behncke:

All the recent talk about DC-4 and DC-6 accidents further clinches an observation which I made in a meeting two year ago; i.e., modern airliners are getting too big. At the risk of being called old-fashioned, non-conforming, and backwoodsy, I'll reiterate my statement that the industry has about reached its ultimate in size of transport aircraft. Instead of all this silly planning of 100, 200, yes even 400 passengers ships, why don't we get so we can cut a 300-ft. celling, 1/4 mi. visibility with a DC-3 with perfect safety? Then, and only then, will the public really accept us here to stay. 

All the engineers are interested in is speed and payload, speed and payload, etc., etc. The past few months has proved me, if to nobody else, that we are already operating airplanes that are too fast on landing, too heavy in the air as well as on the ground, and above all TOO DAMNED COMPLICATED [underlined]. Even a novice who has never seen a modern airliner shudders when he looks up into the wheel nacelles and sees a veritable myriad of lines , pipes, wires, levers, gadgets, gadgets. It's impossible to keep thought from one's mind, "How in creation, even its the finest maintenance, can all those thousand and one things be expected to remain in perfect adjustment and working order throughout a long flight which is made in all kinds of extremes of heat and cold and humidity?" Maybe it does sound like Ed Wynn (who was going to stick to his horse, Graham), but even a violin can get of tune during the rendition of one number, causing a few flat notes toward the end, before the performer can adjust it again. I well remember a bad oil leak that I had in flight a couple of years ago which was remedied by the simple expedient of turning [one fitting one quarter of a turn[underline]]. We didn't discover it until after landing, when it literally poured out on the ground. 

A simple illustration of my point. We have gone hog-wild on big airplanes instead of concentrating on the medium sized ships of about 40 passengers, which would be relatively simple in design and which would be capable of 250-275 mph. An airplane of this size can be flapped and spoiled to land at not over 80 mph, bringing it down to the reasonable demand of today's outmode airports. 

Another thing which has cause me considerable concern during the past year is the less demand for pilots with these bigger ships which we are using. if the industry continues its present trend, we are going to have hundreds of pilots laid off. Look at what the DC-6 and the Connies have already done to several pilots systems seniority lists. We operate only DC-3's and DC-4's, but even on out little airline the DC-4 has taken a big toll. By consulting your own membership records right there in Headquarters to can easily see the handwriting on the wall. I was talking to an American capital of 5 years of first pilot time alone who is now back flying copilot. These big airplanes are not only dangerous but they are guilty of a great disservice to our profession. I feel sure this angle has not escaped you.  
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