Top Letters And Comments, February 17, 2023


Long-Range Defense

Great article! I agree with most of it but would even go beyond. First time I did a REAL cross country on my own I was awakened to all the stuff you don’t learn in PRACTICE cross countries. My instructor told me nothing about tie down fees for overnights, courtesy cars, finding food, ramp fees (don’t park over there with the Learjets and Kingairs), bring a can of oil with you etc. etc. Like other aspects of life, this shouldn’t be learned “in the locker room”[…]

Don C.

[…]My primary training was at a school that had line service and rented “wet”. You called a number if the plane needed fuel and that was rare because the CFI on the last lesson tended to do it. First time solo in my own plane and I pulled up to a self-serve. Now I KNEW you needed to ground the plane. But then I got my first lesson in the many and varied types of self-serve each with their own peculiarities. I even discovered that sometimes – if you really did want to ground the plane – you needed to get your toolkit out to repair the snarl the last user of the pump left in the ground reel. (or was it many users ago?)

There is also a real need to give students “relief” by letting them go fly with others at the airport – to a breakfast flyout or whatever. To see the side of GA they never see in the training pattern or practice area. Or even to just let them sit in the passenger seat with a sectional (or EFIS these days) and look outside and let them figure out what they are looking at compared to the depiction on the sectional. A skill that is very hard to acquire while also flying the plane with low hours.

Graeme S.

Great…just great. In my student days, early 90s, I went thru three CFIs, no… The first two hit a number of hours and returned to Scandinavia to mainline flying but they all urged me to use all these aids in my cross country flying. Here in SoCal at the fringe of LA, plenty of traffic… And at my age of 59, they knew I was not going to “the bids,” but wanted me ready for flying the Southwest (I had locations in AZ, NM, and CO to visit) and they said…you need these tools to safely fly your wife…and get home safely.

Just want to salute the CFIs everywhere.

Howard B.

LODA Relief Implemented For Most Experimental Owners

This was not a good solution: it addresses a very narrow aspect of the problem created by that court ruling, but not the broader implications for flight instruction. Worse yet, it doesn’t even address the problem.

The “solution” says FAA may not require a LODA. It does NOT say that FAA must allow the practice at all. FAA would be entirely within its authority to simply ban flight instruction in Experimental aircraft; or to impose requirements other than a LODA. Just saying.

Moving on to the broader implications, the court ruled that giving flight instruction in an Experimental, and being paid for the flight instruction but not for the use of the aircraft, constituted “carrying passengers or property for compensation or hire.” In other words, it was not “giving flight instruction – and only flight instruction – for compensation or hire”.

That “and only flight instruction” interpretation is crucial to our whole system of flight instruction, and as of this morning the court’s ruling, rejecting it, still stands.

That’s a problem because our system of flight instruction relies on the idea that giving flight instruction for pay does not constitute “operating an aircraft for compensation or hire”. The thing is that “operating an aircraft” has a much broader definition than merely “carrying passengers or property”. It includes “use, cause to use or authorize to use aircraft, for the purpose of air navigation including the piloting of aircraft, with or without the right of legal control”. With the “the pay is only for the flight instruction” interpretation having been rejected, some judge – perhaps ignorant of the background but perhaps nudged by FAA lawyers or perhaps by lawyers in a civil lawsuit – is surely going to rule that flight instruction includes “using” or “piloting” or at least “authorizing the piloting” of aircraft. In other words, it is “operating an aircraft for compensation or hire”.

Once that happens, flight instruction will require a commercial certificate and a Class 2 Medical.

The original proposal to address the LODA problem said that flight instruction would not be deemed to be “carrying passengers or property for hire” and this proposal was rejected. Why? I fear there may be a lobby within the FAA with a broader agenda related to flight instruction and commercial/Class 2. If so, we’re not going to like it.

Thomas B.

Poll: Is The Government Being Forthright Enough About The Aircraft It’s Shooting Down?

  • Sheesh. Everyone expects federal agencies to know everything about the downed objects and deliver it all to the public before the urns have been recovered and/or examined by appropriate experts. There are national security and global politics involved here. Let’s give the people doing the investigations room to do their work.
  • “We will not definitively characterize them until we can recover the debris” – waiting for more data seems reasonable to me… but it isn’t surprising the crowd here doesn’t have the patience for that.
  • Sadly, the folks who exploit foreign material aren’t about to tell us (the public) what sensors they find, what uplinks were used, etc. We the public will never know the details of that well powered payload.
  • I don’t think they know.
  • Political grandstanding by all involved.
  • We haven’t seen photos of the three objects yet. Perhaps our ability to take photos through an aircraft canopy must remain classified.
  • They should admit their ignorance.
  • Do we “need to know”? NO!
  • They do shady stuff without publishing it all the time. If they’re talking about what they’re shooting down I find it hard to believe it’s not to draw attention away from other matters that are most likely of more direct impact to everyday folk.
  • I think decisions about information release are being driven by embarrassment.
  • A diversion to cover something worse?
  • Not enough information to form an opinion.
  • Is the government forthright about anything?
  • They are telling us it’s space aliens without telling us it’s spaces aliens.

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  1. Do we really want the Chinese to know what with did….and did not…find out about their balloon?
    If it WAS a spy balloon…do we want them to know we know? And what exactly do we want them to know? Do we want them to know we did not discover all its’ capabilities ? What if we didn’t? Should we expose ourselves to that oversight?
    Or what if is was NOT a spy balloon? Does claiming it to be a spy balloon inform them what a bunch of idiots and incompetents we are?
    Allowing that balloon to drift over the entire continent…despite the fact we had been tracking it since it was first launched…. has now taught the Chinese Gov’t that we have that capability…whereas previously they may have not known that.