Summer 2002 Forward to a Friend

Your Turn Letters from our Readers


Who’s Up First?
Your author repeated a widely-held misconception that Orville Wright was “the first man to leave the ground in a powered, heavier-than-air flying machine” (Drive, spring 2002). That distinction should go to Gustave Whitehead, who on August 14, 1901, flew a “birdlike monoplane” for approximately 1/2 mile near Bridgeport, Conneticut, as reported by the Bridgeport Herald, the New York Herald, and the Boston Transcript. This event is not well known. However, the Smithsonian lists Whitehead on a plaque headed “others that contributed to flight.” Knowing the typical Subaru driver’s commitment to accuracy, I wanted to share this with you.


Fascination Of Falling

The article on flying (Drive, spring 2002) made me think that you might be interested in a somewhat related aviation story. During the week, I work as a chemical engineer. But on weekends I am a professional skydiver. I take people on tandem skydives and into freefall and teach students how to jump on their own. My 1998 Subaru Outback gets me to all of the drop zones near me in California. My Outback carries all of my gear, which includes two parachute systems (two parachutes per rig), a half dozen jumpsuits, assorted equipment, food and water for the day, and camping gear if I am staying the night. My Outback gets me there in style!

Randy Frazier
USPA Tandem Instuctor
USPA Accelerated Freefall (AFF) Instructor

Don't Let This One Sneak Up On You

I am writing to you from a small police department in eastern Washington state that serves a town of 2,800 people. The police chief, another officer, our city administrator and I own Subaru vehicles. Several years ago we started kicking around the idea of turning a Subaru into a fully functional patrol car. The city leaders were skeptical, but we persisted, and this year we outfitted an Outback Sedan with standard police equipment including lights, siren, radio and a comfortable back seat area for those “special folks” for whom we provide transportation. We think that this may be a one-of-a-kind vehicle in the U.S. It is sure to turn some heads as well as sneak up on some bad guys.

David J. Szambelan
Asst. Chief of Police
Colfax, Washington


Just The Right Pressure

I always try to keep my tire pressure at the level the manufacturers recommend. But when I get service check-ups or oil changes, the service people almost always add air to about 35 PSI. I find that that much air makes the car ride very hard, so that when I hit a small bump, I can feel the car drifting sideways slightly after the bump. My cars have good shock absorbers and the problem doesn’t exist if the pressure is correct. Why do some mechanics set the tire pressure to 35 PSI? Is it better to inflate tires above specification? I want security and long tire life, no compromise. Thanks for your help.

Yves Robinet
via e-mail

The tire pressure should be maintained at the manufacturer’s recommendation for the vehicle and load. One reason that you may find higher pressure when checking is that you may be checking when the tires are hot. The pressure should be checked and adjusted when the tires are cold. Another reason could be differences in tire pressure gauge calibration. Make sure that you are using a professional grade gauge. We do not recommend any pressure other than those listed on the label inside the driver’s side door. If you continue to find a discrepancy after your service provider has adjusted pressure, you should discuss this with them, and refer them to the label and the Owner’s Manual for your vehicle. The tire manufacturers or your local Subaru dealer are also a good source of accurate information.

Jim Sinclair
Vice President, Service
Subaru of America, Inc.

A GPS Adventurer

I was delighted to read about the implementation of Global Positioning System technology in some 2003 Subaru vehicles (Drive, spring 2002). An avid hiker, backpacker, and explorer, I play an exploration game using a computer to randomly generate geographical coordinates. Using our vehicles, GPS receivers and our wits, my friends and I try to find the location. These adventures get pretty crazy, especially in the mountains and canyons of Utah. In well over 300 such adventures, my 2000 Subaru Outback Wagon hasn’t let me down. It has taken everything I have dished out, and my friends with other vehicles have learned not to doubt its ability. I expect to have many more successful adventures before this one is retired. Thanks for such a great partner!

David Wallentine
Spanish Fork, Utah


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