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Stupid takeoff tricks.

The column "Tricks o' the Trade" ("Zero-Zero Departures," June 2006 IFR) might more aptly be renamed "Trick or Treat."

The author says, "A simple zero-zero takeoff and the rest of the day will be on schedule." That's one example of the "it will never happen to me" attitude. No such departure is truly simple. Many GA accidents occur during takeoff in good weather; so many unfortunate variables lurk in the shadows, waiting for a moment of inattention. Zero-zero conditions multiply these threats and eliminate most safety options.

What could possibly be so important in your life as to risk your life--and worse to some, a career--with such foolhardy abandon? Where would one start to defend him- or herself in a court of law after related accident? "I didn't want to lose my job?" I've had those jobs ... they're not worth it."

The pilot is the key element." True. A conscientious pilot would not do that. "This is a graduate-level task ..." Perhaps we can agree on that statement. After a zero-zero takeoff in a single or light twin, it's time to graduate to a safer mode of transportation.

Perhaps a more important subject is a zero-zero landing for those extremely rare, but possible, emergency situations (such as fuel leaks and un-forecast extremely widespread fog) when you absolutely must land regardless of weather conditions. Having the skills to safely survive a life-threatening condition is far more favorable than having the "skills" to place yourself in a life-threatening situation.

Perhaps IFR should continue its focus on subjects that promote safe flying skills rather than risky techniques.

R. Sanders

Wilmington, N.C.

IFR's mission has been, and always will be, to speak the truth of instrument flying as it really exists. We're committed to that even when the picture isn't pretty or, sometimes, even legal. The fact is that zero-zero takeoffs are legal (for Part 91 anyway) and some pilots will do them. Whether you choose to do them is up to you. We supply information and opinion. You supply the judgment.

We do agree that zero-zero landings are a key emergency tool for the IFR pilot. See "CAT II for the CAT I Pilot" in December 2005 IFR.

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Author:Sanders, R.
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Sep 1, 2006
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