In reference to:
The Plane Truth
Article by Margaret Litvin, published by ABCNEWS, August 12, 2000

To Whom It May Concern,

I stumbled upon Margaret Litvin's article, The Plane Truth, at the ABC News
web site.

The problem with the Plane Truth lies in the fact that it contains virtually
no truth and is not about planes, but is about ongoing efforts of
russophobic American officialdom and competition-averse private US operators
of derelict, museum-age firefighting aircraft to prevent Russian civilian
aerospace products from any possibility of competing in the US marketplace.

If the Il-76 aircraft is as bad as you claim it is, then why do  US
officials refuse to allow a trial firefighting mission in order to prove to
the American public and to the world, once and for all, that the Il-76
aircraft is inefficient, and is technically inferior to the flying antiques
operated by the US fire fighting services?

Well, I can tell you why. They refuse to try the this airplane, because
Il-76 is an outstanding, versatile aircraft with unique firefighting
capabilities. Any test that would involve comparison of this superior
machine with, excuse me, aerial junk operated by US fire fighting agencies,
would highlight the qualities of Il-76, thus, as I understand, such tests
are clearly not desirable.

Your article contains numerous "untruths" such as the statement that it
takes four hours to prepare Il-76 for a firefighting mission, without saying
that such a procedure has to be carried only once and the aircraft can then
be used repeatedly or your astonishing claim that the airplane cannot be
used effectively because it is a jet, whilst IL-76 is designed to fly at tur
boprop speeds and its original purpose was for airdropping equipment from
low attitudes and at very low speeds (nobody drops military hardware or
people from 10 000 km at transatlantic commercial jetliner speed), in fact
IL-76 can fly at speeds as low as 250 - 300 km per her or at a speed
comparable to 1930s piston aircraft.

I have absolutely no personal financial interest in the Russian aircraft
industry. However, continuous, stubborn rejection of aid in fighting fires
from Russia, a friendly democratic nation, whilst a good portion of the
United States is being consumed by hell-like flames is scandalous.

In addition to the scandal and absurdity of the situation when US refuses
help merely because help offered "might not be good enough" - without even
trying it,  whilst millions of dollars worth of property is destroyed,
wildlife wiped out and human lives endangered, the obstinate refusal of even
trial-basis use of Russian technology in America present a moral dilemma for
it is indeed a manifestation of US official hypocrisy:   United States
officials delight themselves in making speeches about need for Russian
economy to develop, they claim that in order to ensure stable future for
young Russian democracy, conditions must be created when democracy can
prosper.  Obviously, isolating Russian products and services from the US
market or intentionally slandering quality of outstanding technology of
Russian origin is neither friendly toward Russia nor promotes goals of
Russian democracy's economic development.

Best regards,

Eugen Kallenberg
Mainzer Straße 64-2
D - 65185, Wiesbaden