Just in case any of you missed it, commercial air service has begun at Paine Field.  We took our Bonanza out during the good weather we had recently and I did not notice the increase in jet traffic.  With only 48 operations per day added to the 600+ that we typically see on a busy day at Paine we will probably not notice increase in jet traffic very much.

Richard Jones

Richard Jones

President - Paine Field WPA Chapter

We heard from one of our FAA Air Traffic Controllers (Aaron Williams) at our last membership meeting in March.  One of the things he told us is that we can decline the 3 minute wait for wake turbulence that ATC normally assigns us as long as the jet is not a “Heavy”.  All of the jets currently in use for commercial air service at Paine Field are classified as “Medium”.  As a general rule commercial jets of Boeing 737 and smaller are classified as “Medium” weight.  All of the wide body jets are classified as “Heavy”.

While declining the 3 minute weight for departure behind a “Medium” jet might speed things up it would be wise to review the following FAA Advisory Circular on wake turbulence:  https://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Advisory_Circular/AC_90-23G.pdf.  There certainly are situations where it would be safe to depart behind a “Medium” jet but for those who are not well versed on the wake turbulence subject it would be wise to just wait the 3 minutes.

Some of you may know that I have a twin brother who flies a Cessna Citation Excel for NETJETS.  While NETJETS aircraft provide service at many airports not served by commercial service they also frequent very large airports where they may have to fly and ILS behind a heavy jet in front of them.  My brothers rule is that in this situation he always flies the ILS by hand (rather than the autopilot) so that he can keep his jet 1 ½ dots high on the glide slope during the approach.  This keeps his aircraft above the heavy jet in front of him and out of any possible wake turbulence.   Professional pilots have a lot of respect for wake turbulence and we should too.