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The Dangers of Key Lime Air

Picture this: You’re the single pilot of a Fairchild Swearingen Metroliner (Metroliner), a complex twin-engine turboprop flying over the turbulent Rocky Mountains of Colorado without an autopilot. It’s pitch dark outside, you’re in low visibility, and you’re relying solely on the instruments of the out of date airplane, which isn’t equipped with GPS. It need not be repeated the inherent risks of such a proposition and the extreme underlying hazards associated with it. Yet, Key Lime Air, which is… ( More...

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tlfys1 8
For crying out loud guys stop bad mouthing the San Antonio sewer pipe and single pilot freight operations. As a guy that started his career flying this aircraft (and with over 1k single pilot IFR with NO autopilot time), I can tell you it's more than capable of doing this type of job. And yes that includes over the Rocks winter ops which I did flying out of the old Stapleton airport over to SLC and back 5 days a week. As far as the, OMG! single pilot, IFR, night freight ops you speak so harshly of, I will tell you this... show me a guy or girl that has a lot of this type of flight time and I will show you some of the BEST pilots out there. Especially the ones with no autopilot aircraft. If I was in charge of hiring pilots for any airline this would be the first talent pool I would pick from.
Carey Campbell 2

N56GP - Kathryn's Report

Not Key Lime, but a Metrolinre 6 months ago Single Pilot freight flight. 23 year old
These were designed and used for passenger ops in an era that required two pilots and no autopilot.

There is a possibility that the overall design and/or inclusion of autopilot at least would have been included in the intent then had been a single-pilot operation.

In today's society, we shouldn't have these types of employers in a First World country maximizing profits at the expense of pilot safety while taking advantage of their desire to build time regardless of equipment. They should be flying with either autopilot or a second pilot at a minimum. Either or is a reasonable requirement in today's society.

reading the extensive comments on this report offers enlightening insight into the issue in Luke's article.
ffrcobra1 2
Every twin engine propeller driven plane requires immediate and correct action to avoid a Vmc roll if there is an engine failure on takeoff. It’s hardly unique to the Merlin.
Luke Zinn 1
Agreed and I should’ve made that more clear thanks for your reply.
ToddBaldwin3 1
Was this a report or an op-ed piece? Either way, it was pretty shallow without a lot of detail.
Paul Wisgerhof 1
So does the author want to buy Key Lime at a reduced cost or what? This aircraft was designed and flown in late 1969 with then current instruments. No GPS in 1969. For commercial operations a type certificate is required for the pilot(s) as is recurrent training. Single pilot operation for freight hauling is approved. The aircraft is designed and approved for operations in IMC with the original instrument set. Any pilot operating the aircraft is supposed to be trained to fly it as is.
linbb 0
So lets see, what about single pilot in a King Air? Done all the time yes the aircraft you speak about is a handful but its been done that way for years. You dont hire a low time pilot or one without a very good history to fly them just like high performance single engine planes. Sounds like from your take you know little about high performance aircraft.
Luke Zinn 0
Hi linbb, while I do agree that not all single pilot operations are dangerous, they do present a higher risk than having two pilots in the cockpit. While single pilot operations are done successfully everyday, it requires good SRM and ADM skills. Also, not all single pilot ops are done by highly experienced pilots, as many operations are done by lower time pilots looking to build time for a regional carrier. This article is my opinion, and that’s an important thing to note. I also do believe I should’ve edited my title to focus more on the dangers of single pilot instead of Key Lime Air. Thanks for your feedback.
o 艹 -4
I believe it's very dangerous. Maybe it will hit the mountain.


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