LETTER TO THE EDITOR
As an “old guy,” who has been an active pilot for 56 years, I applaud Deb McFarland’s March 20 column, “The Land of Perfect.”
Having been fortunate to learn to fly in J-3s/Cessna 120s/140s, I judge your article to be a breath of fresh air. My instructor insisted we always fly a traffic pattern that would allow reaching the runway should the engine fail. He would have graded a strung-out pattern dangerous and unacceptable. NORDO: In those days everyone was NORDO! We had no comm or nav equipment and were better trained in the basics because of it. Spins were required before being allowed to solo. Forward slips: Yes, a wonderful and useful maneuver.
Strung-out traffic patterns are many times a disgrace and dangerous. Some planes are so far from the runway you question if they are in the pattern or just passing through on a cross-country. Radio discipline at uncontrolled airports is many times unacceptable. Chatter and comments unrelated to the pattern often cover transmissions and become a distraction.
Thank you for your “The Land of Perfect” column. It should be required reading.
ROBERT JONES, Federal Way, Wash.