Question: What airplanes did you fly?
— Nate, NYC
In my airline career:
First Officer – Nihon YS11A.
First Officer – Boeing 737-200.
Captain/Instructor – Fokker F-28.
Captain –Boeing 737- 200, 300, 400.
Captain – Airbus A319, 320, 321.
I flew as a corporate pilot prior to working for airlines and flew various corporate turbo-props and jets.
Q: From a General Aviation pilot to another pilot, although you don’t fly for a career anymore, do you ever do any GA flying in your off time?
— Kris A., Branford, Connecticut
A: I get to fly GA aircraft occasionally. It is a treat and something I look forward to.
Q: With all of the talk of pilots spotting drones, birds, etc., from the cockpit, I’m curious if you ever spotted something unusual while flying in your career ?
— Lexi, Canfield, Ohio
I have seen many birds, some unusual weather balloons, the northern lights and satellites streaking across the sky. A few unusual ultra light aircraft, some unexpected fireworks and a couple of military airplanes I couldn’t identify. Some of these were unusual but nothing that concerned me.
Q: On October 28, answering a question about the SR-71 exceeding 250 knots below 10,000 feet you wrote “There could be a very rare or extreme case where a tower operator might issue a very special clearance.” Many USAF airplanes, the SR-71 being one, and virtually all fighter type aircraft being others are not subject to the FAA speed limit below 10,000 feet. They can and do exceed that speed daily. An SR-71 would not need to ask for permission to speed because speed limits don’t apply.
— Rick, South Carolina
A: Airplanes with high-speed climb requirements have to coordinate with air traffic control prior to departure. Airplanes such as the SR-71 normally climb above 300 knots, this is known when they share airspace with civilian traffic. While military airplanes may not have the FAA speed restriction, the coordination is mandatory.
Q: Enjoy reading your answers and comments for the questions your readers submit. Spent twenty-three years in Naval Aviation as a maintenance type, F-14As mostly. Retired SCPO. Read with interest your comments on yaw strings in the 11/26 edition of USA TODAY. For what it is worth, there is no cockpit indication of yaw in an F-14A. Guess what we used?
— Bryan Carrubba, Louisville, Mississippi
A: Thank you. Glad you enjoy the column; it is fun to answer the questions.
I did not realize the F-14 used a yaw string, thanks for clarifying that.
John Cox is a retired airline captain with US Airways and runs his own aviation safety consulting company, Safety Operating Systems.
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