Pilots who received certificates from a certain designated pilot examiner (DPE) in Nevada may need to be reexamined. The FAA released Notice 8900.194 on July 13 to provide guidance to administration inspectors who may need to reexamine pilots whose certificates were approved by Edward Lane of Las Vegas. The notice evolved from an investigation that found “reason to believe that the competency of the airmen examined by DPE Lane from the period of September 2009 to October 2011… is in doubt.” The notice also said, because of evidence gathered during the investigation, the FAA has determined that these airmen will require reexamination of their competency (pursuant with 49 U.S.C. paragraph 44709) to ensure safety in air commerce. The FAA said any affected airmen refusing to surrender their current certificates for cancellation or downgrading after receiving a “44709 notification letter” will find themselves the recipients of enforcement actions. The agency did not release details in the seven-page notice as to what specifically led to the decision about DPE Lane. This FAA action is the second in three months in which a DPE’s check rides have been questioned.
Please.....Please do not put you Social Security Number on the 8710-1 or on the IACRA application! On the paper 8710-1 type in "Do Not Use". On the IACRA application check the box next to "Do Not Use".
There has been some problems with SSN on application vs. the ones on file. If there is a problem it is a real pain to get fixed. Since there isn't a requirement to give the FAA your SSN, Don't.
In the last 6 to 8 months I've seen a big issue with traffic patterns at both controlled and uncontrolled airports. I offer two suggestions. One, Listen to ATC and Two, follow the regulations.
If the controllers instructions don't make sense, ask for clairifaction. ATC will generally have you enter the pattern via the shortest route, if they don't they usually will offer an explanation ("for ILS traffic enter the mid-field left downwind"). If something doesn't make sense, either you or ATC doesn't have the complete picture. Make sure both of you are on the same page!
Standard traffic patterns are essential for your and everyone elses safety, please use them. All traffic patterns are to the left unless otherwise depicted! At uncontrolled fields remember to make position reports but don't expect others to do the same. Some aircraft may not have radios.
Lastly, traffic pattern altitudes can be found in the AFD. FYI, for small aircraft, most patterns are flown at 1000 ft AGL (but not all airports are that way).
The FAA is making “significant changes,” effective August 15, that will affect pilots flying instrument departures and arrivals, according to NBAA. Pilots unfamiliar with the new “climb via” changes could be faced with separation losses, pilot deviations and potentially tense moments in the cockpit, NBAA warns. The new “climb via” instruction for standard instrument departures (SIDs) mirrors the similar “descend via” instruction already being issued for standard terminal arrival route (STAR) procedures. Under the new clearances, pilots need to pay close attention to intermediate-altitude and speed restrictions, notes NBAA Access Committee member Rich Boll. “Many SID procedures also have published, intermediate-altitude restrictions, including ‘at,’ ‘at or below’ or ‘at or above’ restrictions, which must be followed for ATC separation purposes,” he said. “When issued a ‘climb via’ clearance, pilots will be expected to abide by all restrictions listed on the procedure when vertically navigating the SID and climbing to the initial ‘maintain altitude’ published on the SID.” Failure to comply with the charted SID procedure could result in a pilot deviation. Along with charted altitude restrictions, pilots will also be required to comply with published speed restrictions on instrument flight procedures, though controllers can still issue speed adjustments. But once the adjustment is no longer required, ATC may advise aircraft to “resume published speed,” with no additional guidance
As an examiner I get asked lots of questions. Here are some of the most frequent ones in no particular order.
1. What additional documentation is required for a foreign student?
An applicant applying for a certificate or rating based on a foreign pilot certificate must have the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) that issued those certificates verify the validity and currency of the foreign license and medical certificate or endorsement before you apply for an FAA certificate or authorization from the aviation authority of the country issuing the foreign certificate. The verification is valid for 6 calendar months. See http://www.faa.gov/licenses_certificates/airmen_certification/foreign_license_verification/ for more info.
2. What about the TSA requirements?
See http://www.aopa.org/tsa_rule/#citizens for specific requirements for resident and alien students.
3. Does foreign flight time count towards an FAA certificate?
Yes. If the time was obtained in an ICAO country and properly logged and endorsed.
4. What is the most frequent endorsement error that you encounter on flight tests?
Probably the most frequently missed endorsement is the 61.39 endorsement.
5. Do I have to bring the aircraft maintenance records?
Yes. The examiner must be able to determine airworthiness prior to flight. Also, the PTS for most tests require that the applicant be tested on their knowledge of the records.
6. Can we do the flight portion first?
No. The regulations require successful completion of the oral before the flight portion can commence.
7. Are we allowed to do the instrument flight test in IMC?
I require VFR conditions for all flight tests. IMC during the instrument test would require the examiner to act as PIC. The FAA discourages examiners from acting as PIC during a flight test. Also, it would probably not be a good idea to do partial panel and unusual attitudes in actual (makes ATC nervious).
8. I took my written test today and it does not show up in IACRA. What’s wrong?
It can take several days for FAA to upload the test results. In such a case, you will have to bring a paper 8710-1 to take the flight test.
9. I made a mistake on my IACRA application. Can I fix it?
If the recommending instructor has signed the record it can no longer be edited. You have to start over with a new application.
10. How long do I have to wait to retest after a failure?
No specific waiting period is specified in the regs. The retest can take place whenever the applicant and instructor feel it is appropriate. If the time allows, I've done a retest on the same day.
11. Does the entire Commercial flight test have to be done in a complex aircraft?
No. You must show proficiency in a complex. You may opt to do a portion in a complex and the rest in another aircraft.
12. On my last annual my mechanic wrote “All AD’s complied with” in the aircraft log. Is that enough to prove ad compliance?
No. FAR 91.417 (a)(2)(v) says that the aircraft records must contain “The current status of applicable airworthiness directives (AD) including, for each, the method of compliance, the AD number, and revision date. If the AD involves recurring action, the time and date when the next action is required.”
13. How long does the flight test last?
It depends on which test you are taking. Usually the oral takes between 1.3 and 2 hours and the flight 1 to 1.5 hours. Some add-on tests are considerably shorter. It just depends on the PTS requirements.
14. Do you accept credit cards?
I now accept credit cards through PayPal. You do not need a Paypal account to use this payment method. however, due to PayPal fees a $15 fee applies.
15. Is the instructor required to accompany me to the test?
Although I highly recommend it, it is not necessary and is totally up to you and your instructor.
16. If I fail, do I have to retake the entire test?
You are required to repeat only unsuccessful areas of operation and those not tested. You get credit for all successfully completed areas. Note: You only get 2 canedar months to complete the entire test. After that you have to start all over.
17. If I exceed my altitude by 101 feet, does that mean I fail?
Absolutely not. The PTS says consistently exceeding standards is grounds for failure. If you deviate from the standards, but apply prompt corrective action, you will be ok in most situations.
18. Can I use my books to look things up during the oral.
Yes, within reason. No one, especially not me, can remember everything. I believe that being able to utilize all available resources is an important skill for a pilot. However, there are things that you need to know. You won’t have time to look up spin recovery techniques while you are spinning!
19. What is your advice on preparing for a checkride?
Several things come to mind. First, be familiar with the applicable PTS. Everything on your test comes straight from there. It always amazes me when someone tells me they have never seen the PTS. It may be one of the most valuable resources for preparing for the test. Talk to others who have taken the test. Ask them about their experience. Insist on seeing the maintenance records for the plane prior to test day. You need to be familiar with them. Same goes for the POH. The POH contains necessary information about the plane. Also, get everything organized the day before the test. You will be stressed enough without having to run around getting it all together on test day. Get plenty of rest the night before, and last but not least, relax!
Computer Flight Planning
I was recently asked if I accept a computerized flight plan for a Private Pilot crosscountry. The short answer is...Yes. My reason is two fold. One computer flight plans CAN be more accurate, and two, I want the applicant to be honest with me (I have seen where applicant have completed a computerized flight plan and then hand written it on a regular flight plan form).
One big problem with computerized flight planning is the "Garbage in..Garbage out" problem. If the wrong performance data is entered into the computer, the flight plan will be incorrect. I check for this!! I will ask how they know this computer flight plan is accurate. This will lead the appliant back to the performance section of the POH to prove the accuracy of the flight plan. I may also ask if the computer computed a correct ground speed, flight time and/or fuel burn. It's basic common sense.....trust but verify!
I have had a couple of applicant show up with a computer flight plan based on airplanes that where not what we were flying on the flight test. One Commercial applicant used performance numbers from the Piper Chiefton to calculate data for a Beech Duchess. An Instrument applicant used C-172 numbers for his C-182. That's not going to go over very well on a checkride.
FYI, Not all examiners accept computer flight planning. Check with your before showing up!
What Does Roger Really Mean?
For most of us, we learned to use the word "Roger" early in our aviation career. We learned that it simply means that we heard and understand what the other person said. We were clearly taught that it connotes no permission or authorizations. For whatever reason, we then go through our career or hobby of flying and hardly ever use that word. And we seldom hear it spoken by ATC!
So what happens when we have a problem on the airfield and we tell ATC that we need to do something and they say "Roger?" What does that mean? Let me give you a recent example.
A C-210 received ATC clearance to taxi via Taxiway Juliette and to cross Runway 1/19. En-route, the C-210 pilot advised ATC that the aircraft just blew a tire. The pilot requested to exit the aircraft to inspect the wheel. The Tower authorized the pilot's request and asked the pilot to advise if he needed help.
At this time, a C-172 reported inbound with a request for full stop landings or touch and go's on Runway 1. The tower cleared the C172 as requested. (Can you see the Runway Incursion scenario developing?)
The C-210 pilot came back on the frequency stating he had a wheel come apart. The Tower asked his intentions, and the C210 pilot said if he moved the aircraft it would do damage and requested to go to an FBO. (Getting to the FBO from the damaged C-210 would require a runway crossing.) The Tower responded "roger." The pilot responded, “Thank you very much.”
The Tower then observed two men on foot walking towards the runway. The tower called the C-210 several times with no response. The Tower, after observing the men crossing the actual runway told the inbound C-172 to go around and enter right traffic for Runway 1, later changing clearance to land on Runway 5.
It appears to me that with the additional stress caused by the blown tire, when the pilot made his request to go to the FBO, he expected the Tower to give him a "Yes" or a "No", and when the Tower replied with a simple, "Roger," he forgot his early training that "Roger" is not an authorization -- and started hiking!
Fortunately, the pilot of the C-172 executed a proper go-around and landed safely on another runway.
The Aeronautical Information Manual is the authoritative source for proper aviation communications. You might want to take an opportunity to review communication procedures in the AIM: http://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/atpubs/aim/. But most of all, remember your early training - "Roger" only means that someone heard what was said; it does not give authority to do something.
Remember that crossing any runway, whether in an airplane, a vehicle, or on foot, always requires a specific authorization from ATC.