Top Letters And Comments, September 11, 2020


Bad Rules Undermine Credibility Of Regulators

Good article, Russ, but I must take issue with your title: “Bad Rules Undermine Credibility of Regulators”. The insinuation is that BasicMed is a bad rule, when most contend it is the opposite. Yes, it has its issues, but those are mainly due to the haphazard way in which it came into being. The FAA is rife with Not Invented Here syndrome and it was clear to Sen. Inhofe and others that the Agency had no intention of ever making changes to medical certification, so they did an end run to get something accomplished. Any time the Agency gets something jammed down their throats, it becomes a red-headed stepchild that receives minimal, if any, support. The FAA should have taken the basic framework and tweaked it to eliminate the inconsistencies and streamline its processes. But, no one wants to take on the burden of working with something they didn’t want in the first place. Add to that, that the OIG’s raison d’etre is to find problems. No one gets an attaboy for saying everything is okay, so they turn over rocks until they find a “problem” and then they pounce. Where better to find problems than in a standard no one wanted. My question to the OIG is, where were they with the mess that was revealed in the 737 MAX debacle? The FAA is pretty well up to its a$$ in alligators with those problems, so we can hope they just leave BasicMed alone and concentrate on fixing what is really broken.

John M.

I did Basic Med in lieu of the 3rd class medical this last March as it fits the type of flying I do at this time. I’m 63 and in good health overall. I’d like to do instruction in 2 years as a part time retirement gig. I’ll need go back to the 3rd class if that pans out as that would be under a commercial certificate.

All the forms filled out for Basic Med cover the exact same questions as the 3rd class medical. My physician gave me a more thorough physical than any AME did over decades of 3rd class medicals. He meticulously went over each item requested on the FAA Basic Med checkout form. As I have health insurance through my employer the exam cost me the $25.00 copay instead of $130 to $150 for the AME. So if the rules are followed it works.

A couple things I’d like to see considered that I don’t think would dumb down the process would be to allow the nurse practitioners and physician assistants to do the physicals. They can always counsel with the physician if they run into something unusual. I do see a nurse practitioner from time to time who is a DNP so Doctor does apply there, however they could not by law do the Basic Med exam.

The goal was initially if you can drive a car you are probably OK to fly a plane. Hence the driver’s license requirement. I’m glad there’s an exam needed as well. My aunt was 92 before she quit driving but no way would I fly with her in command :). There also needs to be some waiver or alternate approval of a driver’s license. In Iowa where I live your driver’s license can be suspended if you fall behind on child support which would have nothing to do with your ability to pilot an aircraft. Although if you can’t pay child support maybe you can’t afford to fly either but who am I to ground someone for that.

All the Best and tailwinds.

Bill B.

The problem with Basic Med is that it assumes that obtaining a Class 3 Medical, at some point in one’s life, is necessary to fly a plane as a private pilot. It has been proven, time and time again, that medical incapacitation so rarely causes accidents (and is not predicted by even 1st Class Medical), that it is not worth the burden to require all private pilots to obtain a 3rd Class Medical in the first place. A burden which prevents older people, those most capable of affording GA and keeping it alive, from becoming pilots in the first place. The Sports Pilot license has proven that a 3rd Class Medical is not necessary to fly safely.

I do support that a basic course & test covering current standards of safe flight (medical, airspace, ground operations, etc.) be part of every performance based biannual flight check.

Barry G.

Resurgence Of The RG

Cirrus, so far, has been the only GA manufacturing company to get serious about marketing. One of the things that I found surprising is they went after people who were not pilots. I was reading about one gentleman who learned how to fly in his gen 3 Cirrus, upgraded to the gen 4 and gen 5 the first year they were available and now flies a Cirrus jet. That is an example of a marketing program that works.

For licensed pilots, they have a very aggressive training and mentoring program. The problem with all the other manufacturers, including Diamond, is their approach to getting private pilots to buy their airplane is “build it and they will come buy it”. The only reason Diamond and Piper are still around is the big buys from airline puppy mills.

Until the manufacturers “commodify the experience” like Harley Davidson did for motorcycles or NAUI did for scuba diving, GA is in a slow, inevitable death spiral.

I predict that the Panthera will be a commercial failure with only a handful made and sold, not because it isn’t a great airplane, but because it won’t be marketed and supported in a way that makes it a “must have” for well off men.

David G.

Poll: Are You Ready to Attend an Outdoor Aviation Show?

  • I have been ready for a long time. However, I will have to decide if it is prudent. And that prudence will be determined by location, the local cooperation of safe COVID-19 interaction, whether the location is a COVID hotspot, and the attitude of the locals regarding a mass influx of outsiders. When I can assess those dynamics accurately, I can make an informed decision.
  • Yes. I have done so already.
  • Ready? You bet. Willing? Not sure yet.
  • I tried last month but gave up and left when it became apparent that attendees weren’t following C-19 safety protocols, minimal as they were.
  • Just went this past Saturday, lots of space between people outdoors at Red Stewart Airfield in Waynesville, OH.
  • No, not until participants actually mask up and socially distance.
  • Ready. However, it depends on where, how it is configured, COVID protection plan, and the promoter’s ability to enforce compliance.
  • No, I will wait until the virus is controlled.
  • Ready? Yes. Going? Not until COVID-19 is a non-issue.
  • I’d love to but COVID is getting worse, not better.
  • Yes, already had COVID.
  • Attended Antique Airplane Assoc Invitational Fly-in this past weekend in Blakesburg (Iowa).
  • Need assurance of safe practices. Would not use port-a-potties.
  • YES – Flying to food at an airport outdoor restaurant. My favorite “Event”!
  • Nope, there’s a group of likely event attendees who will obstinately ignore any published requirements, including masks and social distancing. So I’m waiting for a vaccine to protect me from such malcontents.
  • I’m ready but reluctant.
  • These shows only present expensive items I’d like to own but can’t.
  • Absolutely yes!
  • No plans whatsoever to attend any events in the foreseeable future.
  • If the public at large would be mindful, as there are places in America that folks are more mindful than others, I’d say yes as we shop in supermarkets and Home Depot etc. It’s about the folks not the event.
  • Yes, but not anywhere in USA for the foreseeable future.
  • No, boring.

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