Lining Up


I was just reading Luca F. Bencini-Tibos letter to the editor (Unicom, December 2010) and wanted to correct what I perceive to be some misunderstanding.

First, changing to ICAO weather abbreviations was and is for the purpose of international standardization, and not to benefit any one group.


Second, airspace can have more than one designation, even under ICAO: The TRSA around Oklahomas Altus AFB, exhibits Class D, Class E, and TRSA simultaneously.

Third, it was not luck, but study and much debate that caused ICAO in 1952 to streamline the then-internationally accepted French, Spanish and English into the current single language. The overall effort involved linguists and psychologists, not luck.

The FAA-standard phraseology found in the Aeronautical Information Manual is predicated on the psychological principle of words or phrases high in “referent codability,” which “line up and wait” simply does not have. Referent codability is a triggering factor in the brains phonological loop, which is the primary reason for the words and phrases found in the Pilot/Controller Glossary.

It is not adherence to the Luddite mindset that causes some dissonance at the change from the specialty language-based “position and hold” to the conversational pattern of “line up and wait.” Rather, it is the intuitive knowledge many cultures worldwide have displayed in their survival-oriented languages and the danger that miscommunication poses in any hostile environment.

Aviation is a hostile environment, as evidenced by the nearly overwhelming discipline and training required to become a rated pilot, and by the strong efforts of accident investigators and their associated agencies to whom we turn to reduce our servitude to accident potential.

In my instructing duties, I teach “line up and wait” only because it is official, not because it is superior.

David R. Wilkerson,
Glenpool, Okla.

Third-Class Medical?

Thank you so much for your editorial (“Do We Really Need The Third-Class Medical?” December 2010). I have signed the petition and urge others to do so ASAP.

But why have I read nothing about this petition in AOPA Pilot or Sport Aviation? I encourage readers to contact AOPA and EAA on this.

Key Dismukes,
Dahlonega, Ga.

Water Landings

An emergency landing in water (Unicom, November 2010) “never has wires or other dangers?” Where I live in western Canada (and everywhere in mountainous areas), there are numerous cables crossing over rivers and even across some lakes, usually transmission cables, occasionally logging-operation cables and gondolas. Some are as high as several hundred feet above the water. Just look at the sectionals to see all the cable crossings.

Morton Doran,
Fairmont, B.C.

The reader who wrote the letter we printed in November is from Hawaii.

Take A good Look Around

Tom Turners good article (“Non-Radar IFR,” November 2010) lists good suggestions for safely departing a “non-towered, out-of-the-way airport” on an IFR clearance, but omits what Ive always thought is the first one that should come to mind: When you are flying into that airport and again after you land and tie down, take a good look around. Make mental (or even written) notes of the surrounding terrain and potential obstacles.

True, this assumes your flight out was preceded by a flight in, but the only time that wouldnt be true would almost certainly be when you were flying a strange (to you) airplane from a strange (to you) airport, and if youre doing that in actual IFR conditions youre someone looking to become a statistic anyway.

R.P. Joe Smith,
Portland, Ore.


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