Readback: March 2019


Which Way to Turn?

The answer to Question 5 in your December Quiz says, “Circling approaches require left-hand turns unless the approach procedure explicitly states otherwise.” Is this still a true statement when the runway you’re landing on is published right traffic? I’ve found that the AC and the regs don’t address this clearly. I believe that the intent is that the required direction of turns is in accordance with the published traffic pattern (absent requirements to the contrary on the approach procedure), but I’ve been unable to get a satisfactory answer.

Karl von Valtier
Lewis Center, OH

Upon rereading the question and answer to respond to you, we admit that the quiz could have been worded better.The point is that IFR traffic that’s not receiving vectors is still subject to normal traffic-pattern rules for the airport. So, if you’re going to circle to land, you should circle in the direction first as specified by ATC. If none, circle in the direction specified by restrictions on the approach. Lacking those, circle in the direction (normally left, unless marked otherwise) of the normal traffic pattern at the airport.Occasionally an approach limits circling in a specific direction from a runway, but on initial read that restriction conflicts with the normal traffic pattern. You then have to get creative about how you circle so you can both comply with the circling restriction and the normal traffic pattern.

Good Maintenance

Just read your Remarks, “Maintenance: Legal vs. Safe” in the December issue. I have always told my shop to fix or replace everything that needs it. I use the expression “don’t cheap out.” This year they found something wrong with my left elevator and removed and repaired it.

However I just had on November 3rd my first real emergency. The paper work is cumbersome but worth it. (Clogged injector on the way to the Bahamas!) Some things just happen no matter how well you maintain your aircraft.

Jim Deutsch
Punta Gorda, FL

You made a wise decision taking your plane to TAS Aviation (Remarks, December 2018). As I was concerned about the many nose gear collapses due to the bell cranks on Cessna Twins, after the first annual at my home field I decided to take my Twin Cessna to TAS and have them evaluate the gear.

The inspection lasted eight hours and the nose gear failed. Why would anyone who flies a plane not want the most particular, fastidious, meticulous, finicky, and demanding A & P to evaluate his or her plane. I’ve made my yearly trek to TAS thereafter, resulting in a sublime aviating experience.

Ed Grayden
Minneapolis, MN


Stay Away

Regarding Andrew Doorey’s letter in your November Readback, “Do you need to avoid all cells by 20-25 miles” I found your answer incomplete and I would like to add two points.

1) the FAA suggests 20 NM from severe thunderstorms (TS) as defined by either echo tops at least 35,000 feet or radar reflectivity of 50 dBZ or more per AC 00-24C. If the cell is not severe the FAA recommends 5 miles visual separation (FAA-P-8740-12).

2) The 20 NM comes from moderate or greater turbulence that has been measured experimentally at this distance using eddy dissipation rates (Lane et al. American J. Meteorology 2012).

Alas, the minority of GA pilots heed the recommended 20-mile distance from severe TS as I explain in a research study I published last year.

Douglas Boyd, Ph.D.
Sugar Land, TX

That’s good information. Thank you, Douglas.

Quick Weather Not Free

Sadly, the potentially awesome “quick weather” by text message (Readback, December 2018) misses one detail. Only the first 10 reports are provided before you need to register. I did not, so don’t know the implications of registering.

I’ll stick with the iTunes app, AeroWeather, which is about $5 per year for the pro version that calculates your headwind/tailwind components for the runways.

Jim McIrvin

Washington, DC

There was recently a Readback item that provided a phone number to text for TAFs and METARs. I just tried it, and I see now that it is not a free service—you have to subscribe at $3 per month to get these.

My feedback is that the reader, Ron Hays, who submitted this, should have disclosed in his submission that this is not a free service. For you, I suggest you check these things out before you print them. Otherwise, people can try to use Readback to promote commercial products.

Bill Colton
Houston, TX

A few of us did check it out. Note, also, that we never said it was free. (Although, like you, we thought it was free when we first looked at it.)We tried it and the response we got contained no indication that it was anything other than what was explained. There was certainly wasn’t even a hint that it might be a fee-based service. In fact, we just now tried it again and, like the first time, got the requested weather and nothing else. But, yours isn’t the only comment we got about this not being the free service it appeared to be, so we dug further.Apparently, the service has a website, It explains briefly that this is indeed a fee-based service at $3 per month for unlimited use. The confusion arises in that the first 10 uses are free and don’t carry any note of the upcoming fee, so we were (are) still within that trial period.


Archived Issues?

It is my firm belief that your public could be well served by creating DVDs of all your past issues and articles. Produced on perhaps a yearly basis, this DVD would allow very quick review of all the yearly articles. It seems you have a good start on such an endeavor with your annual index in December. Give it some serious thought. I’d be willing to buy the annual DVD because it allows one to keep good info without stuffing note books. Of course a good indexing system is a must.

Fred Hoogendijk
Spokane, WA

Better yet, we could archive past issues on our web site so you don’t have to store them yourself. All current subscribers would have free access. We’d even include a search engine so you can find previous articles by certain keywords in the article.Oh, wait. We already did that… See our web site

Mongolia is With It!

Tim Vasquez begins his great article, “The Day the Music Died” with “Unless you’re under age 30 or live in a remote village in Mongolia, you’ve likely heard the 1971 Don McLean song ‘American Pie’…”

Well I’m over 30 so I’ve got you covered there. But I also work with credit union examiners in extremely rural Mongolia. There’s not a lot of night life, but sometimes we go to karaoke at night in a small yurt. One of the songs we sing is “American Pie.”

Mongolia is with it!

Brian Gately
Brooklyn, NY

We read ’em all and try to answer most e-mail, but it can take a month or more. Please be sure to include your full name and location. Contact us at[email protected].


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