Staying Out of Trouble

In “Absolute Discretion” (September 2015, page 24), James Albright raised the specter of getting busted for speeding while flying a SID that lies below Class B airspace. This issue is also a problem on approaches, especially at Orange County, California (where there are multiple overlying shelves of the LAX Class B).

I raised this issue with the FAA charting committee members several months ago and suggested that they create a new graphic that would show us any Class B overhangs along with the floors of each sector so that we would know when to slow down without having to reference another plate, but they rejected my idea out of hand.

Their position was that we should also have the associated terminal chart close at hand for use in determining our position relative to the overlying airspace. My position is that we are way too busy, and interpolating between two different plates in a busy terminal area is a good way to get killed.

I believed then and believe now that the solution to this issue is to present all overlying Class B data on every affected plate (approaches, SIDs and STARs). This will keep ATC happy and keep the rest of us out of trouble.

Bennett E. Taber

Manager, Bay Area Operations

Dreamline Aviation LLC

San Carlos, California

The Transition . . .  

Ross Detwiler presented me an article on FAR Part 25 takeoff performance back in 1999. It’s hard to believe the rules of thumb we used to use at FlightSafety International for climb gradients. Things have come a long way since then. My love of performance started shortly thereafter. In short, I’m a firm believer of Rogers Hemphill’s and Mark Thelen’s Aircraft Performance Group data, which we have in practice for everyday flight planning.

I enjoyed Ross’ “Twin Transition” (September 2015, page 42) in BCA, the only magazine I dare to read concerning aviation.

Good luck in retirement!

Rick DeMaria

Standards GIV


White Plains, New York

Author’s response: Thanks for the kind word. Retirement is great. I was even a contest judge at this year’s Reno Air Races.

. . . Hit Parade

“Twin Transition” by Ross Detwiler (September 2015) was an excellent refresher. His final comment on airspeed is right on. The old adage “Airspeed is life; altitude is life insurance” is something to keep in mind on each departure.

Craig Johnson

Caledonia, New York

Fuel Service Safety

Along with many of your other readers, I thoroughly enjoyed “Refueling Discipline” (June 2015, page 36). It was a great reminder and reinforcement to both pilots and fueling personnel of the critical nature of this stage of flight.

I was rather surprised, however, by the comment made by one of the readers (Reader’s Feedback, August 2015) concerning quality assurance and training conducted by FBOs. He stated: “Over my years, I have found little importance is placed on fuel safety and quality training at FBOs and how little most line service folks know about the products they are delivering.”

That may be his opinion, but I couldn’t disagree more with that statement!

I have had the privilege of working with several fine organizations including Signature Flight Support, Mercury Air Centers and Cutter Aviation. In each of these organizations safety, training and quality assurance are top priorities. Core training begins with the well-established NATA Safety First program and continues with hands-on training performed by either a dedicated trainer/safety person or the line supervisors. Additional training is conducted or overseen by various airlines and fuel suppliers.

Daily, monthly and annual quality control checks are performed on the fuel trucks and fuel products with documentation and required logs maintained. Also, airlines, fire departments, airport operations, outside agencies, fuel suppliers, etc., conduct announced and unannounced audits to verify that training is being performed and that quality control measures are being conducted properly and supporting documentation is maintained. We are a very highly regulated industry and failure to be in compliance with the multitude of rules and regulations, specifically in this case with fueling and fuel products, can put a company out of business.

It is terribly, terribly unfortunate that there have been tragic accidents and near accidents involving the fueling stage of aircraft flight, and we all feel the loss when these tragedies occur. But it is a disservice and an affront to characterize the entire FBO industry as one that does little to train its employees and places “little importance” on the safety and well being of its customers and staff.

Michael Brasier

General Manager

Cutter Aviation

El Paso, Texas

Fishing Yawn . . . .

Regarding “Fishing Yarns” (Viewpoint, September 2015, page 7), I, too, think fishing is a bore.

Myron Collier

Chief Pilot (Ret.)

Cyclops Corp.

McMurray, Pennsylvania

Complicated Subject

David Esler’s “Crossing Over: Border Issues Between the U.S. and Canada,” (July 2015, page 46) was quite well done. It is a complicated subject and during the several telephone conversations I had with David, I feared that he was attempting to drink from a fire hose. However, he assimilated well and delivered to your readers in a concise manner.

Bill Clark 

Attorney, Clark & Co.

Toronto, Ontario

History Clarification

Thanks for your coverage and comments about Jim Holahan in “Generational Salute” (Viewpoint, August 2015, page 7) — what a great person to have known and discussed aviation.

There is a small error in “his story,” however. Jim would not have flown P-38s with the U.S. Army Air Corps as that organization had ceased to exist on March 9, 1942. Thus, his flying would have been with the U.S. Army Air Forces.

John Davis

Wichita, Kansas

Comments From the BCA Website

Great article! (Twin Transition, BCA September 2015, page 42) I was a FSI B200 instructor for three and a half years and I observed this daily in the simulator. In your scenario, the gear has already come up before the left engine failure. I may also urge others to consider — what if you hadn’t put the gear up before it fails (worst case scenario)? In the B200 we had the advantage of autofeather (assuming it was armed), but I really appreciate your step-by-step approach to the mechanics of engine failure. Too often pilots would start grabbing for levers and pulling. I’ve seen pilots in a “V1 cut” scenario 150 ft. off the runway pull the condition lever of the good engine, not confirming, just pulling, which always ended in a red-screen. Your methodical approach is well warranted and appreciated.

Charles Harmon


Though the article (Spatial Disorien–tation — A Quick Killer, BCA, September 2015, page 48) doesn’t mention the availability of an autopilot, I suspect both aircraft had one. In my limited experience with flying my airplane in light IFR, I always turn on the autopilot so that I can focused on the instruments VSI, T&B, attitude indicator, and altimeter. It seems that the autopilot is often ignored when challenging flying conditions are encountered. John Kennedy’s accident and possibly both of these accidents may have been avoided by use of an autopilot.

Vern Schulze

Blue Sky Sun Visors


Using the autopilot in the situation involving the Twin Comanche (Spatial Disorientation — A Quick Killer, BCA, September 2015, page 48) might have been beneficial, assuming that in that old an airplane, it was fully functional. A low time, non-instrument rated pilot needs all the help he can get, when inadvertently flying into IMC. But the likelihood that the autopilot, if it had one, was operational and usable is pretty slim.

However, using an autopilot immediately upon rotation such as in the situation involving the Meridian would be extremely unwise and dangerous. A take off into nearly no visibility and extremely low ceilings requires absolute concentration on the instruments. The slightest distraction, such as attempting to activate the autopilot, would most likely cause loss of control. I submit that’s very probably what happened here.



I have over a 1,000 hr. in Metro III aircraft and several thousand more in other types using the same powerplants (Merlins, Jetstreams, King Air B100s). They are efficient at medium- to low-altitudes but are a handful to fly. Without quick reflexes and a complete understanding of the systems and what can go wrong, they have the potential to be deadly. (Negative Torque Sensing vs. Autofeather, August BCA, page 46)