A good pilot is always learning -- how many times have you
heard this old standard throughout your flying career? There is no
truer statement in all of flying (well, with the possible exception
of "there are no old, bold pilots.")
Aero-News has called upon the expertise of Thomas P. Turner,
master CFI and all-around-good-guy, to bring our readers -- and us
-- daily tips to improve our skills as aviators. Some of them, you
may have heard before... but for each of us, there will also be
something we might never have considered before, or something that
didn't "stick" the way it should have the first time we memorized
it for the practical test.
Look for our daily Aero-Tips segments, coming each day to
you through the Aero-News Network.
Tower cleared a light, four-seat airplane for takeoff. It
crashed, caught in wake turbulence... from a light piston twin.
Although we don't usually think
about wake turbulence avoidance behind anything less than large jet
aircraft, all pilots have responsibility to consider wake
turbulence when operating around any other aircraft. It's easy to
get complacent when receiving Air Traffic Control (ATC) services.
But there are specific ATC phrases, if you acknowledge
affirmatively, that move wake avoidance responsibility from
controllers to you.
The Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM)
Accepting ATC instructions in the following situations is
acknowledgment you will ensure safe takeoff and landing intervals
and accept responsibility for wake turbulence separation:
- Traffic information (e.g., traffic is a XX at YY o'clock and ZZ
- Instructions to follow another aircraft
- Acceptance of a visual approach clearance
He ain't heavy...
...But if "he" (the other airplane) is, and ATC warns you about
him (or her), you'll hear the word "Heavy" used with it's callsign
(e.g., "United 25 Heavy"). ATC will also call it (to standardize my
pronouns) heavy when it's pointed out as traffic. Remember it's
you're responsibility to give the "heavy" an even wider berth, and
follow it farther upwind and in trail.
Aero-tip of the day: Know when it's your
responsibility to avoid wake turbulence, even when under Air