Trapped Into VFR


Tom Turner’s “Trapped Into VFR” article (May 2023) was excellent. 

Now many years ago, flying a Cessna 172 on an IFR flight plan in VMC over North Dakota, South Dakota and into Nebraska, with three family members as passengers, I saw that the far horizon was obscured in haze, not unusual for summertime in the Midwest. Out the side windows, I had excellent visibility!

Out through the windshield, however, I noticed that from our perch at 5000 feet agl, the closest ground I could see over the cowling of the aircraft was seven miles away!

That is “good VFR” but should give pause to our ability to fly safely in VMC with only three statute miles of visibility. Reported visibility, of course, is not necessarily what you see over the nose of the aircraft in flight. Could be none!

Bertil Aagesen – Via email

When To Switch Tanks

Greetings. Thank you for the quality publication. I find every issue to be enjoyable and enlightening.

I do have some feedback on Jeb Burnside’s June 2023 article, “The Top Three Ways Our Engines Fail.” Though I agree with the vast majority of Jeb’s insights and suggestions, I do differ on one point: his insistence of not switching fuel tanks on the ground.

My SOP in my Bonanza (which is my own checklist mod) is to start and taxi on one tank, and then switch tanks and complete the run-up on the opposite tank. This demonstrates that I’m getting good flow from both tanks before I ever leave the ground. If the tank levels are uneven, I start on the lower tank, and then switch to the fuller tank for run-up and takeoff. Then I don’t touch the fuel selector again until level-off.

Thanks again for the quality publication.

Brennan Johnson – San Luis Obispo, Calif.

We definitely appreciate the kind words! And we understand and respect the thinking behind ensuring both tanks feed the engine before takeoff. Our policy is based largely on the non-zero likelihood of the fuel selector failing or becoming mispositioned when switching tanks right before taking off, leaving enough fuel to get off the runway but little more.

We prefer to select the takeoff tank before engine start and only switching to another at altitude. If the selector has a BOTH position, leave it there unless you’re on fire.


Just read the Editor’s Log in your May issue, on reducing the number of pages.

I know some of your readers will not agree, but your magazine is very original in that it provides us with multiple and excellent safety info and tips, and without the economic advantage of advertising.

I totally understand your escalating costs, so if we have to pay slightly more for our annual subscription so you don’t have to skimp on important data, please go ahead and increase your rates. I can guarantee flying 15 minutes less a year to compensate for the increase is definitely worth it. Keep up the good work and high standards.

Jose Iturbide – Via email

Ch-Ch-Changes II

I can kind of understand cutting the print edition by one third. But should not the online version be 32 pages? If not, are you reducing the cost of renewals by one third? This is like Kellogg’s raising the price of a box of cornflakes, using the same-size box, and reducing the number of cornflakes in the box by one-third.

Herbert Rosenthal – Via email

The Big Red Knob

Mike Banner’s July 2022 mixture article was superb. I’ve been flying LOP for decades, and even went to one of the Ada, Okla., demo courses long ago. So I don’t need to be convinced. But this was one of the clearest, most logical descriptions of the process that I’ve ever seen. Well done!

Andrew Doorey – Via email


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