Aviation Week & Space Technology’s year-end “Cheers and Jeers” editorial struck a chord with some of our readers, who were invited to share their own views of ‘hits’ and ‘misses’ for 2011. No surprise; there was plenty to applaud and criticize.
Here’s a sampling of what readers thought was worthy of cheers and jeers, starting with Robert Gates, arguably one of the best secretaries of defense in a long time. No matter; one reader vowed never to cheer him because he killed the F-22 without having a suitable replacement under development. This reader also believed Gates was too trusting of the progress reports he got on the F-35.
Another reader thought NASA deserved both a thumbs up and thumbs down for ending the Space Shuttle program, while Boeing got a “dull cheer” for delivering the final F model F/A-18 to the UK on schedule—but having no additional orders.
Members of Congress who mix pork barrel politics with weapons systems funding, thus impeding fellow lawmakers’ efforts to get the most capability out of a defense budget under growing pressure, were jeered. But the Navy and Electronic Attack Squadron 132 (VAQ-132) received well-deserved cheers for quickly deploying E/A-18G Growlers to Libya in support of coalition forces.
“Cheers and Jeers” was not only fun to put together, but also it also forced us to look critically at the full year in a way we may not otherwise have done. And so, towards the end of 2012, as a new year approaches, Aviation Week editors once again will look back at the people, news and events of 2012. The next time we do this, however, we will plan it so that readers have an opportunity to share their suggestions, which will appear at the same time as those of the editors.
In the meantime, Happy New Year, and may 2012 bring more events deserving of cheers than jeers.