Remembering Archie Trammell

Aviation safety suffered a devastating setback in early February when Radar legend Archie Trammell passed away. Without exception, Archie was the world’s foremost authority on the employment of airborne weather radar. A relentless safety advocate, he continued to publish safety-related information and to educate pilots to within weeks of his passing. Quantifying the number of lives he saved over the 50+ years would be virtually impossible, but “a lot” would be a conservative estimate. The momentum of his life’s work will continue to pay safety dividends for decades to come.

Commonly, pilots walked into his seminar wondering how a course on weather radar could consume an entire day. By the time they walked out, they realized an additional day or two would be ideal to thoroughly cover the topic. Resolution of their recently discovered knowledge-gap came through repeat attendance of his seminars and detailed study of everything he published. Those pilots also became his biggest advocates.

Archie’s legacy will be his unwavering, life-long passion for aviation safety. Armed with extensive experience, a deep knowledge of radar theory and a detailed understanding of convective weather, he was when necessary, aviation-safety’s junk-yard dog. He refused to allow politics, radar “whistles and bells/me-too gadgets” and feel-good solutions cloud the real solutions and information pilots needed.

Archie was selfless, consistently giving credit to other pioneers who mentored him throughout the years. Significantly, he was the last direct conduit to the knowledge given to us by some of the most respected and ingenious minds that ever existed among radar engineers and convective weather scientists — incredible people who have also passed.

It is rare for a person to single-handily shape an entire profession where the results are life-saving; but that is precisely what Archie did. Now, the responsibility of keeping that momentum going falls to the next generation of professional pilots.

Erik Eliel


Radar Training International

Feedback on Miller’s “Routine Departure” I enjoy Twin & Turbine and the articles each month. We operate out of ADS frequently, and I know exactly what you’re talking about on the turn east and level at 2,000 feet. We operate several Gulfstreams and with a two-pilot crew it makes life much easier. I own and operate a 58P Baron, and I can confirm single-pilot operations are very difficult and high stress at times!

One SOP we use in our company operation that I’ve applied to using while operating my Baron is the use of the autopilot. Our company policy is when the autopilot is engaged it is confirmed “on” by both pilots, I had a similar experience when operating my Baron as you had, I thought it was on but was not. I was at altitude and was not a big deal. I decided after that anytime I would engage my autopilot, I would verbally confirm it: Autopilot “ON,” heading mode/nav mode.

I’ve come to use many of our SOP from the company operations manual with my Baron operation single-pilot, although I get many strange looks from my wife riding along side of me thinking I’m talking to myself, it seems to work.

Look forward to your next article.

John Larson

Issaquah, WA


Always enjoy David Miller’s articles in Twin & Turbine. Just read the latest one in the January issue.

Most of the trips I do are single-pilot in a King Air 90 with Pro Line II equipment. Like everyone, I am constantly maintaining vigilance for any kind of bust. I try to, as much as possible, repeat the same processes over and over.

With regard to altitude I make it a practice to input my initial assigned and all subsequent assigned altitudes into the alerter/preselect. Doing this I get the chime and alert whether I am hand-flying or the autopilot is engaged. I make call outs – “one to go” and “capturing” – the same every time even when I am by myself up front.

My observation is that I hand-fly more than most pilots, and I purposely vary the points at which I engage and disengage the autopilot while maintaining an appropriate configuration with respect to the flight director so as to ease the engage and disengage process. In other words, I prioritize the maintenance of the appropriate presentation on the EFIS.

Keep the good articles coming.

Bruce Chappell

Wilmington, NC


It’s always a tough decision on who I read first: David Miller or Kevin Dingman. At the end of Miller’s January article “Just A Routine Departure,” he asks for suggestions. I have one. Put V1 before Vr and then rotate.

David W. Naumann

ATP, BE40, HS25

Editor Dianne White responds:

David, you get the award for first person to catch that typo, and I take full responsibility. Thanks for reading!


Flying with Purpose

I just wanted to drop you a note to let you know how much I enjoyed reading your “Editor’s Briefing” in the latest issue of Twin & Turbine (February 2018). I too have always wanted to fly an Angel Flight or something similar. And, I too have always come up with excuses. You have motivated me to try a bit harder this year to fly one of those missions!

Ronnie M.

La Jolla, CA

Editor Dianne White responds:

Thanks Ronnie. For those interested in learning more about charitable flying, check out these resources:

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