AVmail: Jun. 12 2006
Reader mail this week about the Dakota breakup, SBs and ADs, fewer new pilots more.
Dakota Breakup near ACY
I fly this area regularly. So the interest in this accident is high.
To correct your report (NewsWire, Jun. 5): Weather at the time of the accident was far from benign. Looks like this poor fellow got upset in hard IMC.
The sky at the time of the accident was 700 overcast. Here is the METAR:
KACY 311454 09008KT 10SM OVC 007 21/17 A 3020
The preliminary accident report is available here.
Aircraft Registration Rules
The article today indicated that the requirement is eight seats plus engines of 550 hp or greater (NewsWire, Jun. 5). Actually, it is "or." My 414A that I bought in mid-March was subject to this registration, which is a royal pain in the %$#@! The registration process is complex and costly. The irony is that most of the countries involved are Third World; only a few major countries [participate], of which USA is one. What a train wreck.
NTSB vs FAA on ADs and SBs
Interesting to see an AVwebFlash article on May 30 about the FAA putting out an NPRM to make Lycoming's mandatory crankshaft SB into an AD, but extending Lycoming's required compliance time by years.
Then in the Jun. 7 AVwebBiz, an article states the NTSB now finds the same manufacturer's SBs as mandatory as ADs. I guess that makes sense somehow if you work for the government.
The conclusions contained in your write up in the matter of "Administrator vs. Law" I believe are misleading. Though the opinion does turn in some part on service bulletins and service procedures, it hardly warrants your conclusion that SBs are now (or were in this matter) given the same status as ADs.
In reading the actual case cited, it appears this article is rather alarmist and without basis in the cited case. The case focuses on the use of uncertified personnel to perform repairs on critical aircraft components and the failure to use any approved data or approved procedures in the testing and return to service of an engine describe as "overhauled." The FAA's requirement to use approved data and follow the manufacturer's instructions for testing of any component described as "overhauled" is contained in the plainest reading of FAR 43.2. To say that this case creates a new requirement for all aircraft to be maintained in compliance with all Service Bulletins (note that it was a Service Instruction, not a Service Bulletin involved) seems rather a stretch, since the FAA's position in this case appears to be based entirely on the issue of whether the engine was "overhauled" as defined in FAR 43.2(a), and that nowhere in the FAA's charges is there any contention that compliance with the SBs is mandatory for all maintenance as long as approved data are used and manufacturer's testing instructions are followed for any item which the repairman certifies is "overhauled."
Lack Of New Pilots
All these stories, surveys, pronouncements etc, regarding the drop in new pilot starts (NewsWire, Jun. 8), has a very simple explanation: If anyone were to bother to crank into their thinking, the fact that acquiring, flying, maintaining, insuring and fueling light aircraft is just too darn expensive, you would have your reason.
All these surveys fail to recognize that the average "new pilot" wannabe is not a kaziollionaire. Hence, the move toward Light Sport aircraft. Not as much enjoyment as owning a Cessna 182, but at least attainable for the average pilot.
You wanna know why there are fewer and fewer pilots in the U.S.? Here're a few reasons:
- Want to tinker with your airplane in your hangar? "The [airport] Sponsor may prohibit that, if it chooses," the FAA says.
- Want to build an aircraft hangar, but it will revert to Sponsor ownership in 25-40 years? "That's reasonable," says the FAA.
- Want to build a single T-hangar? "It's gotta meet the Airport's Minimum Standards," says the FAA, "even if the minimum standard is 6400 sq. ft."
- Got a little airplane and want to risk flying without liability insurance? The FAA says, "Not at a federally-assisted airport, where the Sponsor can demand that you carry $1,000,000 liability."
- Want to share a hangar with a buddy? "An airport does not have to allow this," says the FAA.
- Want to just go to an airport and look at an airplane? "The Sponsor does not have to allow persons to come in the airport," the FAA says.
- And my top reason (tah dah!): Want to complain about a federally assisted airport? The FAA has held that complainers can be refused a lease because they constitute a "financial burden on the Sponsor."
Pics of Kids
I loved seeing the pictures of kids (Picture of the Week, Jun. 8). Reminds me of the time when I was flying the B747 across the pond with my wife and kids in business class. She thought it would be a good picture to have the little one sit on my lap [in the cockpit], while flying. (This was pre-9/11 days.) Kids being kids, while I was looking back, smiling at the camera, he reached for the control column and pushed the red autopilot-disconnect button. With a wail the autopilot disconnected, and I frantically tried to pass my son back to my wife, so that I would have a free hand to grab the wheel. If only all those other passengers knew ...
Glad you enjoyed 'em, Dik! And since you did, how about one more? It seemed a shame to let this one from semi-regular "POTW" contributor Don Parsons slip through the cracks — so here it is for your enjoyment. In the photo, Don's son Skyler logs some multi-engine hours on his private simulator. "Now if only they made a tailwheel one," writes Don.
I got an email from a student that is conducting a research project for school -- a master's degree. Specifically, "Should flight schools give preference to airplanes equipped with a parachute system?"
This has been a complex project. This particular survey is documenting the marketing analysis of people's expectation and opinions of a parachute system. If you could take a minute to do the survey for her I would appreciate it.
John M. Gilmore