Are Rules Meant To Be Broken?

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I hate it when someone peers into my eyes and, within a nanosecond to two, sees all the character flaws within. "You're a rule breaker, aren't you?" The query was from our team coach, Sally, and on the strength of one minor little transgression, she had nailed me with unnerving accuracy. When we go to the local wind tunnel for practice; they require one of those little paper wristbands to prove that you've paid and signed the waiver. But nobody ever checks it and being a corrupting influence on what would otherwise be the good scouts of the world, I'll slide by without it if I can get away with it. Where's the harm?

It's not so much that I break or ignore rules so much as I chafe at the silly ones and occasionally rage at the profoundly stupid, the illogical and the inane. And in aviation, we keep getting more of those. I've previously commented on what all of us agree is security theater at small airports, yet all of us dutifully stop and wait for the gate to close, just like the faceless bureaucrats demand that we do. The understandable urge is to just drive off for other than offending someone's sense of an orderly world, there’s no moral issue here. No wrong is being done.

Without reverting to metaphors related to steep terrain and lack of traction, there's an obvious risk here. Would someone who sneaks in without a paper bracelet similarly, say, fly an airplane beyond its official gross weight or carry a passenger with only two of the required three landings? I offer neither advice nor counsel.

I sometimes think that regulations aren't really intended to encourage safety so much as they are to test our ability to tolerate the absurd. Maybe there's a diabolical genius at work here that I'm too dense to appreciate. If you're patient enough to allow regulatory indignities to slough off without blowing a gasket—and I may fall short of that qualification—perhaps you're the prime flight specimen we all know ourselves to be because you have aptly demonstrated the ability to focus on what’s important while tuning out what isn’t. Think of silly regulation as the equivalent of Ross’ matches.

So now the newly announced BasicMed gives us two new rules to ponder, both equally absurd and both just as likely to be ignored. The first is the fine-point provision that if you want your friend to serve as a safety pilot and he's a lowly BasicMed holder, it's not legal to do so. He has to be Third-Class qualified to be PIC of the airplane you're flying. How, or more to the point, why, this twist of logic made it into the final rule defies rational explanation. If you break it down even a little, how could you possibly take it seriously?

Remember that medical certification never had anything to do with enhancing safety, but was rather a means to thin the herd of would-be pilots so regulatory bureaucrats could keep up with ... well, whatever the hell they thought they had to keep up with. This is a constant truth against which any critical thinking about medical certification must be measured.

In the real world, if a safety pilot has a pulse and can fog a mirror, he or she is fit to the task if not regulatorily qualified. Good eyesight is a plus, of course, but if the FAA says BasicMed or light sport allows you to fly on the strength of a driver's license, what possible reason could there be to not be qualified to serve as a lookout? That's a rhetorical question, but if you have an answer, the comment field awaits. I’m always willing to be educated.

The second logical cutout in BasicMed is the altitude restriction. The lowly self-certified BasicMed pilot, lacking the gold-standard imprimatur of a genuine Third-Class medical, may hear “climb and maintain flight level two zero zero,” but is officially constrained from going there. Never mind that he or she has been flying there for years and that there is absolutely no medical or accident data to support such an exclusion.

How did this get into the rule? Probably tossed as a bone to ALPA, who bristled at the thought of mere Cirrus pilots defiling the purity of airspace above 18,000 feet. If safety systems are based on sound statistical bedrock—and they should be—I’d love to see the data on that one. Let’s see, what’s 0.00 divided by 0? I should write my own Senator Bill Nelson, who insisted he couldn’t support a driver’s license medical, and ask. Somehow, I think the answer would be optics divided by political expediency, the quotient multiplied by gutlessness.  

We will be watching how this provision is handled by the great enforcer of regulations: the insurance companies. Will they force pilots of flight level capable airplanes to have medicals? My guess is no. The current insurance market is so competitive that pilots will be able to insure just about anything, turbocharged or not. 

So never mind whatever trials await on your next flight review or IPC, the looming test is accepting, with a straight face, the supposed elimination of some regulation besmirched by rules that are even sillier. If you can do that without bursting into gales of laughter, you are highly qualified to confront the challenges of the contemporary aeronautical environment. Meanwhile, I’m writing on the whiteboard 100 times: I will obtain and display my paper wristband.

Comments (41)

You already don't need a 3rd class medical to fly a Cub.
I'm not sure why your apposed to taking a few pickets out of the requirements fence so others can slip through it too.

Posted by: Mark Fraser | March 5, 2017 9:07 AM    Report this comment

"I think the answer would be optics divided by political expediency, the quotient multiplied by gutlessness".

OK, Paul, I'm definitely gonna find uses for that line...

Posted by: Steve Cornelius | March 5, 2017 9:32 AM    Report this comment

Without stupid and useless rules, enforcement bureaucrats will not be able to bust someone for an act of criminal stupidity. The courts and press love to see all kinds of charges like failure to comply with 14CFR91.xxx (1) (c) IV. Which is probably as inane as spitting into the wind. The lawyers salivate when a client comes in the door with a dozen or so more violations resulting from one little brain fart. They can hear the ca-ching ca-ching of the cash register going off in their heads.

On the other hand, I have personally had to remove the worldly remains of pilots (and motorists and motorcyclist and kayakers etc) who just kept on ignoring safety rules and finally ignored the laws of physics with rather messy results. I personally believe that inane and out right stupid rules like requiring the safety pilot to possess a 3rd class medical encourage people to gradually ignore the rules and laws written in blood and broken bodies.

Perhaps we should have a stupid rule of the month feature where readers can vote the worst candidate out of the atmosphere. Then our stalwart alphabet organizations can lobby to have them expunged from 14CFR. Guess that I am becoming delusional here.

Posted by: Leo LeBoeuf | March 5, 2017 10:29 AM    Report this comment

I hate the stupid rules as much as anyone. Medical and security rules certainly chafe. For me, as a younger, relatively healthy person, the medical doesn't even really affect me much, but it still certainly irritates seeing how much time and effort is being wasted on something with no known benefits.

However, I think there's an extent to which the rules themselves actually don't matter. It's just important to have a set of comprehensive rules. Just like religious dietary laws, the strictness and vastness of the ruleset doesn't necessarily enforce good behavior, but it forces you to be introspective and be hyper-conscious of your everyday behavior.

By having rules that govern every action we take in an airplane, it makes us *be aware of every action we take in an airplane*, and hopefully that guides more sound decision making.

Posted by: Joshua Levinson | March 5, 2017 10:52 AM    Report this comment

It gets slightly zanier. If I have no current medical certificate, I can't be your safety pilot. Unless... Unless my Flight Instructor certificate includes those magic words "Instrument, Airplane." In which case, I don't even need Basic Med, as long as YOU have a regular medical OR Basic Med coverage. And of course, if I have either type of coverage, YOU don't need ANY medical certification.

Was that a rabbit I just saw?

Posted by: Tom Yarsley | March 5, 2017 11:06 AM    Report this comment

Yars Dr. Tim Leary would be proud of the FARs.

Posted by: Leo LeBoeuf | March 5, 2017 11:40 AM    Report this comment

Good rules or bad rules, it don't matter. The older I get the more rule compliant I've become. I focus on the positive. My left and right brain hemispheres have merged. My reasoning and problem solving skills have peaked. Yes, I don't need no stinkin' badges!

Posted by: Rafael Sierra | March 5, 2017 11:41 AM    Report this comment

I hate it when someone peers into my eyes and, within a nanosecond to two, sees all the character flaws within. "

Relax, spices are some of the best ingredients to a well-balanced, healthy meal. Beware of the intent of those seeking to call them flaws - unless, you believe they are. ;-)

But I will agree with Raf and say for me, deciding to follow the letter of the laws in most cases allows me the greatest personal freedom from the law - just a personal choice. Sometimes I prefer freedom over fighting the inane.

Posted by: Dave Miller | March 5, 2017 2:18 PM    Report this comment

The tragedy of stupid rules such as those Yars points out is that they lead to the very logical rationalization that all the rules are written by the dimwits who wrote the stupid rules, therefore all the rules are open to question and personal interpretation of their validity. So now we have that great aeronautical expert, Senator Schumer, demanding an investigation of why small airplanes are falling all over New York.

Posted by: Richard Montague | March 6, 2017 7:31 AM    Report this comment

"Think of silly regulation as the equivalent of Ross' matches."

There's a quote I wouldn't have gotten just a few months ago. I'm surprised it took me so long to read Fate is the Hunter.


"The first is the fine-point provision that if you want your friend to serve as a safety pilot and he's a lowly BasicMed holder, it's not legal to do so."

I read that particular point as saying you can't be a safety pilot only if you aren't also PIC. But you can be a BasicMed safety pilot (for someone using a view-limiting device) if you are acting as PIC, and as I understand the regs, if you arrange with the left-seat PIC ahead of time, you as right-seat safety pilot can act as PIC while the left-seater is under the hood.

"Q: Can I use BasicMed to act as a safety pilot, rather than holding a medical?
A: Only if you're acting as PIC while performing the duties of safety pilot. The statutory
language prescribing BasicMed said it only applies to people acting as PIC. BasicMed cannot be
exercised by safety pilots who are not acting as PIC but are required crewmembers."

Either way, that particular FAQ "answer" only seems to raise more questions than it answers (and doesn't actually answer the question).

Posted by: Gary Baluha | March 6, 2017 8:21 AM    Report this comment

Give a moron enough rope, and almost always he'll hang himself.

Posted by: Tom Yarsley | March 6, 2017 8:44 AM    Report this comment

My favourite are those little plastic ID badges on tapes or top pocket clips. Just saying: "No thanks, I can still remember my name," is great fun and guaranteed to get you first place in the memorable faces contest where that is important.
They are useless for security -- the fact you are reading this means you have the tools to make one yourself at your finger tips, and five minute's research will tell you what tape colour to use. Saved my-self hours of queuing for badges once I twigged that.

Posted by: John Patson | March 6, 2017 9:20 AM    Report this comment

"The Code is more what you call guidelines than actual rules. Welcome aboard!"

Posted by: Ken Keen | March 6, 2017 9:21 AM    Report this comment

By this logic, we really only need three rules.

1. Don't hit anything.
2. Don't scare reasonable people.
3. Don't make the news. (Other than AvWeb, of course.)

Actually, that might not be such a bad idea. :-)

Posted by: Robert Montgomery | March 6, 2017 10:39 AM    Report this comment

Robert, don't forget the most important rule: Don't be stupid

Posted by: Gary Baluha | March 6, 2017 10:48 AM    Report this comment

"Ross's Matches". "Was that a rabbit I just saw?". "Dr. Timothy Leary would be proud". "Without reverting to metaphors related to steep terrain and lack of traction".

Obscure, apt, and thought-provoking references--but not so obscure that most readers missed it. That's great writing!

"I sometimes think that regulations aren't really intended to encourage safety so much as they are to test our ability to tolerate the absurd. Maybe there's a diabolical genius at work here that I'm too dense to appreciate. If you're patient enough to allow regulatory indignities to slough off without blowing a gasket--and I may fall short of that qualification--perhaps you're the prime flight specimen we all know ourselves to be because you have aptly demonstrated the ability to focus on what's important while tuning out what isn't."

Pointing out the acceptance of the absurd is reminiscent of Joseph Heller's "Catch 22" (the book, not the movie). Observation, Analysis, and Soliloquy.

That's great writing--by Paul AND commentators! It's why this column is my first-read in AvWeb!

Posted by: jim hanson | March 6, 2017 11:29 AM    Report this comment

Something tugged at the back of my mind as I was reading Paul's opinions on following silly rules. Sure enough, I pulled up the FAA's Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge and found this old chestnut from my Written Test days:

"Hazardous Attitudes and Antidotes
Being fit to fly depends on more than just a pilot's physical condition and recent experience. For example, attitude affects the quality of decisions. Attitude is a motivational predisposition to respond to people, situations, or events in a given manner. Studies have identified five hazardous attitudes that can interfere with the ability to make sound decisions and exercise authority properly: anti-authority, impulsivity, invulnerability, macho, and resignation. "

Expanding:

"Anti-authority: 'Don't tell me.'
This attitude is found in people who do not like anyone telling them what to do. In a sense, they are saying, 'No one can tell me what to do.' They may be resentful of having someone tell them what to do or may regard rules, regulations, and procedures as silly or unnecessary. However, it is always your prerogative to question authority if you feel it is in error.

Antidote: Follow the rules. They are usually right."

(FAA-H-8083-25B Chap 2 Aeronautical Decision Making)

Of course, we can get into a he-said/she-said Catch-22 situation here. An experienced pilot may contend that all this Hazardous Attitudes stuff is just a bunch of government rigmarole, and that they know better how to make their own decisions. The bureaucrat then just smiles and says "anti-authority".

As others have pointed out, making up and following your own rules is a lot of work, as is constantly thinking about what rules you're going to chafe at. A pilot's prime task is to fly (safely). Grumbling about rules is a distraction, unless you're going to do something about getting them changed.

Posted by: Rollin Olson | March 6, 2017 11:29 AM    Report this comment

LEO--"Perhaps we should have a stupid rule of the month feature where readers can vote the worst candidate out of the atmosphere. Then our stalwart alphabet organizations can lobby to have them expunged from 14CFR."

I've long advocated the same thing--and I'd love to see it get featured by the denizens of this snarkpit-- I'm sure we could give worthless FARs the treatment they justly deserve! The new Administration is advocating "one in, two out" for new regulations--for every new regulation--take two out.

My nomination for "Most Worthless (and ignored) FARs"--the compass correction card. Recall that a few years ago, some bureaucrat at the Puzzle Palace on the Potomac at 1600 Independence Avenue found that pilots were ignoring the required compass correction card--and that would be an easy violation to be found at ramp checks. The ramp check practice became so prevalent that many FBOs started giving away new correction cards.

When was the last time you actually consulted the compass correction card?

Posted by: jim hanson | March 6, 2017 11:42 AM    Report this comment

Rollin--"Something tugged at the back of my mind as I was reading Paul's opinions on following silly rules. "

Are you actually advocating FOLLOWING rules that you acknowledge as silly--just because they are "rules"? Do you know of any rules that no longer serve a purpose?

Why not take Leo's position and expose silly rules for what they are--SILLY or OUTDATED?

Most of us fly because we like the freedom of flight--the ability to take command of our own fate. The proliferation of admittedly silly rules has taken that away from us. Some would argue that the overabundance of rules and regulations has caused many to give up flying--or to not even start.

Here's my next nomination for outdated rules--VOR checks. Why do we do them every 30 days (my experience as an instrument instructor doing IPC checks is that most instrument pilots do not comply). We don't check the ADF, or the DME--and we don't do comparative checks between GPS systems--why are we still doing VOR checks?

So many times, we continue to accept regulation "because somebody put it in print." When I started flying in 1962, pilots that wore glasses had to carry a spare pair "in case the glasses were blown off in the slipstream." Someone must have forgotten to tell the FAA that cockpits were enclosed now (especially in the new jets) before the FAA finally rescinded the foolish regulation.

Recognize that the majority of FAA rule-writers are not pilots, and have little practical knowledge of the FARs.

There is nothing like pointing out the absurd to effect change--the reason I like Leo's proposal to single out the most absurd FARs for change.

Posted by: jim hanson | March 6, 2017 11:59 AM    Report this comment

"Trump's executive order to eliminate two regulations for every new rule could result in zero net regulatory costs this fiscal year"...

Let's continue the idea with the FAA except make it 5 to 1.

Of course, you asked the question: are rules meant to be broken?

You know this will be :)

Posted by: Klaus Marx | March 6, 2017 12:28 PM    Report this comment

Jim -
Two ponts:

1) I don't presume to be an expert on whether some random rule is silly. Over the decades I've been in many situations and environments where I didn't know what was going on. Sometimes I realized it, sometimes I didn't. More than once I've been stung by going my own way, only to find there were good reasons for those rules I didn't understand. Over the years I've also met many know-it-alls who had no idea how ignorant they were; when things would go wrong for them, they'd always find a way to blame somebody else. And then there are the experienced experts who come to grief when they do something stupid that no novice would dare (buzzing comes to mind)..

Re VOR checks. I'm not an IFR pilot nor a VOR equipment expert, so I don't presume to be able to know better than the FAR regs. A quick check of 14CFR91.171(a) seems to yield the following rule: "If you are flying IFR using VOR, you must check your VOR equipment for accuracy every 30 days, using approved facilities". Call me a sissy VFR guy, but if I were flying in IMC using my VOR to navigate, I'd want to know that it's accurate. If I haven't checked my VOR in six months or a year, I'm just guessing whether I can trust it. Every 30 days? I dunno. Somebody who knows more than I do (like the FAA) can make that call. Would I be tempted to wing it and say "yeah, it looks about right"? Possibly. That's where the VOT check rose come in. And this isn't a dead issue - with the way the GA community badmouths GPS and objects to phasing out VOR, VOR is still alive and kicking. But ADF & DME ARE dead issues; don't complain about common sense where you find it. And GPS checks? Well ...

2) Pointing out the absurdity of something does nothing by itself to effect change; it's only the first step. I know people who have railed against The System for years, yet done nothing to change it. Step Two is to put meaningful pressure on the relevant authorities to make the changes you want. That's what the Washington lobbyists do, often with great success. In today's world it's not simple or easy to effect change; AOPA/EAA's foray into 3rd Class Medical Reform yielded half a loaf after major (for GA) effort. NBAA finally got a rewrite of Part 23 for aircraft certification after many years. People who want change have to find out what works and do it, often against major opposition from other interests like ALPA. Not easy, but the alternative is no change. That's the real world.

Posted by: Rollin Olson | March 6, 2017 1:51 PM    Report this comment

Ah, my refuse from political bulshit. Now, what's the topic again?

Posted by: Rafael Sierra | March 6, 2017 2:58 PM    Report this comment

Refuge

Posted by: Rafael Sierra | March 6, 2017 3:00 PM    Report this comment

Rollin, your first point is spot on. "The more I know the more I realize how much I don't know". Of course this doesn't apply to the folks who've always known it all. ;)

Posted by: Ken Keen | March 6, 2017 5:34 PM    Report this comment

Everyone so amped on worthless FAA rules, how about those worthless TSA regs that apply to GA? Ever hear of anyone being arrested for trying to board any pt 135 ( or pt 121 for that matter) airplane when listed on those unconstitutional no fly lists? Doesn't matter that GA had nothing to do with 9/11, or that those flight schools that were warned the FBI who hid behind legalities. And on and on...

Posted by: matthew wagner | March 6, 2017 8:11 PM    Report this comment

Illegitimis non carborundum !!

Posted by: Larry Stencel | March 6, 2017 8:45 PM    Report this comment

Veritas Non Sequitur !!

Posted by: Rafael Sierra | March 6, 2017 10:20 PM    Report this comment

Be careful what you say. Do not think you are not being watched.

Posted by: Thomas Cooke | March 7, 2017 5:35 AM    Report this comment

"Give a moron enough rope, and almost always he'll hang himself."

Give a bureaucrat an infinite amount of rope and he will hang an infinite number of people.

Posted by: Richard Montague | March 7, 2017 7:12 AM    Report this comment

Oh, Paul. What have you done here? Here's a rabbit hole and it can go on for days.

But here's the premise: In General people and society as a whole, love rules. Especially and more poignantly, those rules that they can impose on others.

-Many will espouse the virtues of Freedom and Liberty. So long as it is they who get to decide to whom and what measure those Freedom and Liberties apply. -

Proof? You'll be hard pressed to find a day's activity that does not involve some sort of Government rulemaking. So, you got of bead this morning (tag on the mattress still intact: Check!) and turned on the lights (hey, that's not an incandescent bulb is it?) Walked over and used the toilet (it is a low flow model right?) Got dressed (your clothes are shipped/sold via trade agreements) Ate a bowl of cereal (hum, nice government labeling) Walked out the door and down the steps (that handrail is surely at the permitted height) and into your government approved-safe-on-the road-non/less-polluting automobile.

Are rules good? Are rules bad? You can argue the merits of each rule, but what is most disconcerting, is that every facet of our lives is encumbered by decree, edicts, and rules. Truly? A land of the free? Really?

The naive does not worry himself about the number of rules. That is until of course, he or she is directly faced with the full power of the multiple volumes of the CFR, State law, county and local ordinances. Despite the "if you don't do anything wrong, you've got nothing to worry about" mantra the serfs tell themselves , "they" do not realize that "they" are not the ones who get to decide if "they" are doing something wrong. We can find some rule, somewhere to lock 'em up for a considerable period of time. And if we can't make the charges stick? No worries, over 90% of criminal cases are plea-bargained anyway. You will pay your pound of flesh.

The less-than-one-percent of the flying public? Sorry, no chance. Just don't have the numbers to stand against the horde.

Posted by: Robert Ore | March 7, 2017 10:58 AM    Report this comment

Quod grave est merde!

Posted by: Rafael Sierra | March 7, 2017 2:52 PM    Report this comment

Does anyone have any idea of the actual number of Federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations affect the average person on a daily basis?

Posted by: Richard Montague | March 7, 2017 4:52 PM    Report this comment

We've come to the point where people actually believe that rules make us safe. "The more rules, the safer we will be." It reminds me of a quote from Thomas Block, FLYING magazine columnist from the 1960s. Speaking of over-regulation of aviation by the British--"The CAA considers it unsafe every time an airplane takes off--the only way to have a perfect safety record is to not let airplanes fly!"

Given a chance to reflect, nearly every sentient person in aviation can come up with a list of rules that are unnecessary and outdated--if not downright silly. Some are big rules, some are small--but every rule should be examined to see if it is indeed effective. Rules by themselves don't make us safe--peer pressure makes us safe. Consider all of the government anti-smoking harangues--they were ineffective. Only when people started chiding others because smoking was "no longer cool" did people change. The same is true in aviation--FARs won't help us--but most pilots I know don't want to engage in any practice that would be looked down upon by other pilots.

Failure to get rid of silly rules has hamstrung the populace, businesses , and the government itself. Ronald Reagan observed "the closest thing we will ever have to eternal life is a government bureau." Reagan took it a step further, eliminating the Tea Tasting Board--an anachronism dating back to 1897 to insure that Americans have good-tasting tea. Though he abolished the civil service board, Congress reinstated it--and it wasn't until 1996 that the $200,000 anachronism was finally abolished. It took 99 years to kill a bad government idea.

I believe that EVERY law passed by a deliberative body, and every rule promulgated by regulatory agencies should come with a "sunset" time--perhaps every 10 years. At that time, the rule is re-examined and either dropped, extended, or modified.

LOOK at the FARs--almost every aviation publication has a monthly column on "what the FARs REALLY mean." Rules should be written clearly enough that they don't need interpretation--even if you do "read, write, speak, and understand the English language."

Posted by: jim hanson | March 7, 2017 4:54 PM    Report this comment

Robert -

That's the way civilization is - it's always set the ground rules, going back thousands of years.

Sitting on top of those ground rules today is a mind-boggling array of choices, limited mainly by what private businesses choose to offer you. Check out your radio/tv/internet, supermarket, mall restaurants, online shopping, etc. You're free to choose where you live and work, who you associate with, who you marry or don't, what you think and believe, where you go, what you eat, what you wear, how you entertain yourself, so long as it doesn't hurt someone else. (If you're not a white Christian, rules may vary.)

Meanwhile, read the mattress tag (obviously you haven't in decades), flush the toilet all you want, ignore the food labels, buy a stash of incandescent light bulbs online, and take a breath of relatively fresh air outdoors as you're steadying yourself with that handrail. Take a spin in that car that gets twice the gas mileage as my Dad's cars, and probably won't kill you if it crashes like cars in those days did.

You *won't* need to worry whether: the wiring in your house was installed safely, your tap water is polluted (unless you live in a Republican state), your new toaster might catch fire, the money in your pocket is good, your contracts will be honored, the banks might abscond with your savings, the food you buy is tainted, cars will run red lights and smash into you, your avgas is contaminated, or your airplane was built with faulty design or materials.

If you have FAA inspectors prowling around your airport, I'm sorry. If they've caught you breaking rules, I'm doubly sorry. Just be patient. If all goes according to plan, the Federal Government won't be able to enforce any regulations before long.

And you might ask some of the "horde" of non-pilots what they think of our little airplanes. It'll probably be a lesson in majority-rule democracy in action.

Posted by: Rollin Olson | March 7, 2017 4:55 PM    Report this comment

Wow - what country does Rollin live in??? For the moment, I'm still in the People's Republic of Massachusetts, one of the three remaining one-party states on the planet (the other two are Cuba and North Korea).

Posted by: Tom Yarsley | March 7, 2017 5:47 PM    Report this comment

Wow - what country does Rollin live in???"

Sticking with the third person narrative, and the total absence of anyone offering a better argument to his posts, I'd bet it's overpopulated with crickets. Well done, Rollin.

Posted by: Dave Miller | March 7, 2017 7:36 PM    Report this comment

Tom -

Massachusetts is a classy state. Cradle of American Democracy, rich in history, home to one of the intellectual and cultural capitals of the world. One of the wealthiest states in the Union. Free and fair elections. Beautiful trees in the fall. Sports teams that occasionally rise to greatness. I can't think of much that it has in common with North Korea. Cold winters, maybe?

Posted by: Rollin Olson | March 7, 2017 8:39 PM    Report this comment

Interesting articles and great comments. Surprisingly, the two I want to comment on both from Jim Hanson.
Jim: First, I was flying after this rule, "pilots that wore glasses had to carry a spare pair 'in case the glasses were blown off in the slipstream'." It was at night, and I was in a C-172 equipped with a "Skycaster" nighttime aerial advertising electronic moving message sign. This configuration was typically flown about 3 kts above stall speed 1,000 AGL. It was a beautiful warm summer evening and I had the window open and my arm on the sill Then a saw it! A backyard swimming pool with what appeared at first glance to be a young lady relaxing in a laid-back chair, in the nude! Being young, foolish and not thinking with my brain, I leaned out to get a better view as I circled. WHOOSH. Glasses gone. My eyesight without glasses was right at the lower limit for a Second Class medical. Seeing just lots of pinpoints of lights out the windshield I finished by hour and requested vectors to land. "Follow that 737 right off your nose" was the reply. That got me close and i mumbled another request which got a reply and a "Cleared to land." I made it OK but actually the ride home on my motorcycle was harder than flying, without glasses....
Second, your "I believe that EVERY law passed by a deliberative body, and every rule promulgated by regulatory agencies should come with a "sunset" time--perhaps every 10 years. At that time, the rule is re-examined and either dropped, extended, or modified" is a great idea. I'm sure it has happened in some rare cases but the only one I can think of (because it directly affected me) was the 1994 "Assault Weapons ban." This expired in 2004 with much hand-wringing and predictions of doom but fortunately the "sunset clause was in it" and people could once again buy "scary-looking" guns and standard capacity magazines. It had zero affect on crime but bureaucrats still try to re-institute it. there are countless other laws (including CFRs) that would go the way of the Do-Do bird if they were re-examined today

Posted by: Bob Maroldy | March 8, 2017 12:52 PM    Report this comment

Bob--great story! You not only lost your glasses, but lost the "focus"t of your "turns about a point!" (laugh)

You are proof that pilots can overcome the most far-fetched possible scenarios that the regulators can dream up!

Rollin--"I can't think of much that it (Mass.) has in common with North Korea. Cold winters, maybe?" I believe Yars was talking the political climate, not about the weather.

Posted by: jim hanson | March 8, 2017 4:33 PM    Report this comment

Wait a second ... you're saying that I can fly my plane with Basic-Med, and my friend can fly it with Basic-Med, and I recall a recent FAA clarification that my CFII can sign me off on a BFR or IPC even if he is also on Basic-Med, ... but my friend with his basic med can't be my safety pilot?! Good grief, Charlie Brown!

Posted by: RICK TAVAN | March 8, 2017 11:32 PM    Report this comment

Jim -

"Rollin--"I can't think of much that it (Mass.) has in common with North Korea. Cold winters, maybe?" I believe Yars was talking the political climate, not about the weather."

I was just trying to cheer Yars up, given his apparent discomfiture at living in a liberal state. Maybe, instead, I should have suggested that he read up on the political climate in North Korea, and do some thinking about it.

Posted by: Rollin Olson | March 10, 2017 3:20 AM    Report this comment

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