Readback: January 2018


BasicMed: No Safety Pilot

I agree with your November Remarks that we should not give up on a “driver’s license medical,” and you agree that for many of us, especially those with special issuances, BasicMed is a real improvement.

My biggest bellyache is the safety pilot issue. AOPA’s lobbyist, with whom I’ve discussed it, says that even the FAA realizes how silly it is to say you need a third class medical to be second in command, but not to be PIC. It’s possible the FAA will decide they can loosen that rule and still be within the law.

Given that there doubtless were people in Congress who were nervous about letting pilots fly without a formal medical (regardless of whether that made sense or not). If we manage to keep our noses clean and demonstrate good judgment on when to fly, when to sit it out, and when it’s time to hang up our spurs, perhaps someone in Congress can point that out and convince their colleagues that it’s time for a driver’s license medical across the board for private ops. If not that, maybe they’ll at least put fewer limits on BasicMed.

Mark Klebanoff
Worthington, OH

I’ll Help You Learn George

I agree that knowing as much about your airplane’s avionics as possible is a good thing, as you suggested in October Readback to the reader struggling with his autopilot. What is really important, however, is knowing how to use the avionics to fly safely. It might be better to refer the writer to a qualified flight instructor who is knowledgeable in the operation of his particular autopilot. We are out here.

James B. “Skip” Warren, CFII
Houston, TX

Well, I guess my engineer’s background is showing, eh? You’re right, of course, Skip. A good CFI familiar with your autopilot can best show you how to use it in flight. My thoughts went to understanding the various sources and interconnects that feed the autopilot and how it handles them in each mode. How ‘bout we compromise and agree that both are helpful in a full understanding of the autopilot? —FB

Multiple Navs

I found your October article, “Multiple Approaches” about multiple consecutive approaches, to be interesting. You overlooked one trick that I’ve found, though.

Assuming one has two navigators, another way to handle multiple approaches is to uncheck “crossfill” and have different approaches loaded in each navigator. Then it is a simple matter of switching to the navigator with the approach you want and activating that approach. However, in the G1000 even with two GPSes, we cannot load two approaches. In fact, I’ve not even found a way to use both GPSes simultaneously.

As an aside, I don’t like loading vectors to final (VTF). I prefer to load an IAF that is consistent with my current position and tell ATC: “able to fly direct to XXIAF.” Usually I get “direct to” the fix relieving ATC from providing vectors. Of course, this might not work as well in congested airspace where vectors are the norm.

Luca F. Bencini-Tibo
Weston, FL

Good points all, Luca. Thank you. We, too, prefer to load an appropriate IAF rather than VTF simply because VTF removes the intermediate waypoints (although Garmin is considering some mechanism to leave those, in case they’re needed). We’d not thought of offering/requesting the IAF, although one risk there is that you might be setting yourself up for a PT or HILPT rather than just an intercept of final.

When Do I Turn?

I departed Chicago Midway (KMDW) last night on an IFR flight plan. My clearance was to use the Midway Three departure and climb via the SID. I was given Runway 4L for takeoff.

The SID says aircraft departing those runways will be given headings of 360 to 80, climbing right turn to 2400 heading 100 before proceeding on course, thence…

My take-off clearance was to turn to a heading of 130. Question: Should I have climbed to 2400 before turning to 130 or could I have turned to 130 as soon as I was high enough off the ground to safely do so?

I ended up turning at about 1500 feet and no one complained. With the heading instruction without an altitude given to me before departure, I interpreted it as effectively a clearance to turn at my discretion—superseding what was written in the SID.

I probably should have asked for clarification, especially since there were parallel departures on 4R. However, the frequencies at Midway are pretty congested, so I try to limit my airtime.

Mark Sneider
St. Louis, MO

This is a very interesting departure procedure, Mark. So interesting, in fact, that it might just find it’s way into a future Clinic. For now, though, the simple answer to your question is that assigned turns are to begin at 400 feet above the airport, lacking other factors. If you’re given a turn as part of your initial clearance (“Cleared to xxx airport via right turn 130…”), part of your takeoff clearance (“Cleared for takeoff. Turn right, heading 130.”), or immediately after takeoff, you’re expected to begin the turn at 400 feet above the airport. The assigned SID doesn’t matter in light of the specific turn clearance, unless it says something about delaying initial turns until some specific altitude. (e.g. “No turns below 1000 feet AFE.”) AIM 5-2-8.b.1. covers this.

Cool Tower

I read your great write-up (“The Tower of Power” in November) about the new tower at Palm Beach. A good friend of mine is a controller there and he took me up to the cab shortly after it opened in 2015. What an amazing facility!

Mike Gordon
Boca Raton, FL

It’s Only a Year

The WxSmarts article, “All About Precipitation,” in your November issue mentions an Air Florida accident. The accident you’re referring to happened in 1982, not in 1981 as reported.

Barry McCollom
Kerrville, TX

High Praise

I absolutely love IFR. I instruct about 400 hours a year of “accelerated” training from PPL through CFII. I prefer IFR instructing of course, and publications such as yours always provide something my students and I can learn. Plus, it’s usually well beyond the exposure found in everyday flying. I’ve always thought that experience is far more than hours flown. I probably could log 100 hours of real life experience with every issue if the feds allowed.

John Templeton
Washington, UT

Thanks for the nice words, John. We really appreciate it. What you’ve said resonates with us because that’s exactly what we try to do, while keeping the tone light and fun, and, of course, a little cheeky and irreverent. If you could log 100 hours for each magazine, we have to wonder what we could get for writing and editing it… 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


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