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FSDO's and their varying intepretations...



 
 
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  #1  
Old July 10th 03, 09:12 AM
Justin Maas
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Default FSDO's and their varying intepretations...

Hey all,

I was wondering why the FAA hasn't cracked down on some of the ambiguity
and differences in interpretation exercised by FSDOs. Since we all have a
Federal certificate, shouldn't interpretations be standardized? Is there a
good flow of communication from FSDO to FSDO?

Here's some background on why I'm up and wondering about this...

I took an unusual attitudes course in Phoenix about a year ago. The
FSDO down there allowed the course to substitute a BFR, even though the
instructors weren't CFIs. Up here in NY, however, I was told that wouldn't
"fly." Since I fly 3-4 times a week anyways, I picked up the usual hour
air/ground BFR in a day. However, it kind of irked me that if I weren't
such a frequent flyer and took FCI (the school in AZ) up on their BFR offer,
I could possibly get violated here. Another example is the Orlando FSDO.
In a good move, they told flight schools that having two MEIs fly an x-c and
sign each other off is wrong and no way to log time. This was more of an
advisory, but it would be nice if the whole country could hear MCO's
comments. Does anyone agree, or am I going off on an rant here?

Justin


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  #2  
Old July 10th 03, 01:23 PM
Sydney Hoeltzli
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Justin Maas wrote:
I was wondering why the FAA hasn't cracked down on some of the ambiguity
and differences in interpretation exercised by FSDOs.


Good question

Since we all have a
Federal certificate, shouldn't interpretations be standardized?


It would be nice, provided it didn't develop into an "every question
must be referred to Big Brother and we're still waiting for his
response" situation

Is there a
good flow of communication from FSDO to FSDO?


Apparently not

Justin, lack of FSDO standardization has been an issue for years now,
especially wrt airplane maintenance (one FSDO will sign off on a 337
for something another asserts is unairworthy)

In a good move, they told flight schools that having two MEIs fly an x-c and
sign each other off is wrong and no way to log time.


What's wrong with this? It sounds like this FSDO is making up rules.
If I fly with an MEI, he can log the time; why can't I log the time
simply because I also am an MEI? Is the idea that instructors have
nothing further to learn from other instructors? I say "bunk", and
nothing in the regulations that I'm aware of prohibits this.

But yes, it's another example of lack of standardization, and I
agree, it's a problem

Cheers,
Sydney

  #3  
Old July 10th 03, 03:25 PM
Justin Maas
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Bob - sorry, let me try to clear it up. Some schools were advertising part
91 operations where someone/something would be flown in a multi-engine
aircraft not requiring two crew members. To have the right seat pilot log
multi "dual given" time, they had him sign off the other pilot. Make any
sense? Basically, they were trying to act as if these part 91 flights were
instructional in nature when in fact, they weren't.


  #4  
Old July 10th 03, 03:45 PM
C J Campbell
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A certain student came and asked, "Master, what is the greatest of all the
laws of flying?" The Master replied, "Do not Crash. And the second is like
unto it: Do not cause another to Crash. On these hang all the law and all
the regulations." The student said, "But, Master, what does it mean to
crash?" The Master replied, "A certain pilot went up from Kansas to Oshkosh
to attend the pilgrimage there. Along the way his engine began to run rough
and the pilot, suspecting fuel contamination, landed at a nearby airport. He
checked his fuel and saw that it was good. He asked a local mechanic with IA
what could the problem be, but the mechanic was busy conducting an annual,
but he looked it over and could not find anything obviously wrong. He said
he could not get to a more thorough check until next week. The pilot asked
an FAA inspector who was passing through, but the inspector was late for a
meeting and hurried on his way. Lastly, the pilot asked a flight instructor
who suggested they take a short flight and see if they could determine what
the problem was. The pilot agreed and they took off. The engine quit and the
airplane fell from the sky and great was the fall of it, for the pilots had
filed no flight plan."

The Master asked, "Now, which of these people was responsible for the
crash?" The student replied, "Master, it is difficult to determine this from
just using the FARs." The Master said, "Thou hast gained wisdom, child. For
no matter how clearly the law is given, there will always be different
interpretations and unforseen circumstances. Go, and do the best you can,
knowing that even your best will not always be good enough."


  #5  
Old July 10th 03, 05:04 PM
Ron Natalie
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"Justin Maas" wrote in message ...
Hey all,

I was wondering why the FAA hasn't cracked down on some of the ambiguity
and differences in interpretation exercised by FSDOs.


The FAA doesn't view it as broken.

Since we all have a Federal certificate, shouldn't interpretations be standardized?


It's a double edged sword. Some amount of local flexibility is often to the pilot's/owner's
advantage.

I took an unusual attitudes course in Phoenix about a year ago. The
FSDO down there allowed the course to substitute a BFR, even though the
instructors weren't CFIs.


What were they? What credentials did they use to sign off your log book?

. Another example is the Orlando FSDO.
In a good move, they told flight schools that having two MEIs fly an x-c and
sign each other off is wrong and no way to log time.


This oine has some regulatory precedent. The MEI's can't just sign each other
off. Instruction has to be given and you must meet the requirements for giving
that instruction. I don't know exactly how you posed the question to the FSDO,
but there's good reason why they'd be skeptical of such logging.



  #6  
Old July 10th 03, 05:06 PM
Ron Natalie
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"Sydney Hoeltzli" wrote in message ...


What's wrong with this? It sounds like this FSDO is making up rules.
If I fly with an MEI, he can log the time; why can't I log the time
simply because I also am an MEI? Is the idea that instructors have
nothing further to learn from other instructors? I say "bunk", and
nothing in the regulations that I'm aware of prohibits this.

The case I am familiar with involved to MEI's who co-owned an aircraft
and both always logged PIC when flying together. After some incident
this logging practice came to the attention of the FAA. Their argument
was that they were giving each other instruction (instructors log PIC while
instructing), but it was clear it was a sham as they never complied with
the other requirements of giving instruction (making the instructional entries
in the others logbook, etc...).


  #7  
Old July 10th 03, 07:07 PM
Robert M. Gary
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"Justin Maas" wrote in message .. .
Bob - sorry, let me try to clear it up. Some schools were advertising part
91 operations where someone/something would be flown in a multi-engine
aircraft not requiring two crew members. To have the right seat pilot log
multi "dual given" time, they had him sign off the other pilot. Make any
sense? Basically, they were trying to act as if these part 91 flights were
instructional in nature when in fact, they weren't.


Well, if one of the MEIs is really giving instruction to the other ME
rated pilot, they should both log PIC. However, it sounds like
instruction was not happening. I think the FARs are pretty clear
here...

"(3) An authorized instructor may log as pilot-in-command time all
flight^M
time while acting as an authorized instructor."

I never log time as instruction given unless I'm actually giving
instruction. If I'm riding with a friend, I'm not going to call (or
log) that as instruction.

-Robert
  #8  
Old July 10th 03, 07:11 PM
Bob Gardner
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Couple of things come to mind: One FSDO allows the use of ATF-50 spray to
deter corrosion, another FSDO says its use makes the airplane unairworthy.
One FSDO says that chrome spinners are just fine, another grounds the
airplane until they are replaced.

We've been fighting this for forty years that I know of, with no solution in
sight.

Bob Gardner

"Justin Maas" wrote in message
...
Hey all,

I was wondering why the FAA hasn't cracked down on some of the

ambiguity
and differences in interpretation exercised by FSDOs. Since we all have a
Federal certificate, shouldn't interpretations be standardized? Is there

a
good flow of communication from FSDO to FSDO?

Here's some background on why I'm up and wondering about this...

I took an unusual attitudes course in Phoenix about a year ago. The
FSDO down there allowed the course to substitute a BFR, even though the
instructors weren't CFIs. Up here in NY, however, I was told that

wouldn't
"fly." Since I fly 3-4 times a week anyways, I picked up the usual hour
air/ground BFR in a day. However, it kind of irked me that if I weren't
such a frequent flyer and took FCI (the school in AZ) up on their BFR

offer,
I could possibly get violated here. Another example is the Orlando FSDO.
In a good move, they told flight schools that having two MEIs fly an x-c

and
sign each other off is wrong and no way to log time. This was more of an
advisory, but it would be nice if the whole country could hear MCO's
comments. Does anyone agree, or am I going off on an rant here?

Justin




  #9  
Old July 10th 03, 07:20 PM
Michael
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"Justin Maas" wrote
Bob - sorry, let me try to clear it up. Some schools were advertising part
91 operations where someone/something would be flown in a multi-engine
aircraft not requiring two crew members. To have the right seat pilot log
multi "dual given" time, they had him sign off the other pilot. Make any
sense? Basically, they were trying to act as if these part 91 flights were
instructional in nature when in fact, they weren't.


And therein lies the problem. There is no FSDO that I know of that
claims that one MEI can't take dual from another MEI, with one logging
PIC and dual given and the other logging PIC and dual received. If
some FSDO came up with this, how would MEI's like me ever be able to
log any recurrent or transition training? Can you imagine how badly
this would screw up my insurance? On the other hand, when two MEI's
take a 1-hour XC flight somewhere and each one comes back with a BFR
endorsement from the other, that's bull****, and we all know it. If
it's a two hour XC flight, I suppose you could claim that the first
hour was the BFR for MEI #1 and the second hour the BFR for MEI #2,
but really it's still bull**** - but not technically against the regs.

So what we've got is a FSDO that says "Hey, this is bull****, you guys
aren't really training, therefore we're not going to accept this as a
BFR." Do they have the legal authority to do this? No, but we can
all understand what they're trying to do. The scope of the BFR is
intentionally left very much open, so that the instructor has the
flexibility to tailor the recurrent training to the needs and
capabilities of the pilot. It might be private level maneuvers for a
pilot who is low time and/or doesn't fly much, but it will almost
certainly be advanced training for a pilot who is current and
proficient. The MEI's who just go somewhere for lunch and sign each
other off are loopholing the regs.

While the FAA really is an evil organization, that doesn't mean that
it's all one-sided. There are plenty of people out there who try to
abuse the system and inspectors who try to curtail the abuse -
generally in a manner that is ineffective, illegal, and incompetent.
That's what you're seeing here, and in a broader sense that underlies
a lot of the reason for the inconsistencies between FSDO's. Someone
comes up with a way to game the system, and some fed takes exception
to it - sometimes properly, as in this case, other times because he's
a worthless bloody loonie. He then comes up with a policy - an
interpretation of the rules - which is often illegal and generally
fails to fix the problem, but will make life difficult for others.
This will not be the same policy as in another FSDO - not better or
worse, but different.

Example - there's a local avionics shop that would do an entire panel
rebuild on a logbook entry (no Form 337). I mean a whole new radio
stack, recutting the instrument panel, the works. Clearly that's
bull**** - it's a major alteration - but they got tired of having
337's bounced back for punctuation errors (no **** - really happens,
happened to me) and decided that anything that was not absolutely
spelled out as a major alteration (autopilot install, for example)
they would consider minor. The result is that the FSDO got ****ed,
and decided that anything you couldn't do with just a screwdriver
would be considered major. It's contrary to official policy, it's
stupid, and it doesn't solve any problems - but that's just the way it
is.

Michael
  #10  
Old July 10th 03, 07:32 PM
Todd Pattist
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(Robert M. Gary) wrote:

I think the FARs are pretty clear
here...

"(3) An authorized instructor may log as pilot-in-command time all
flight^M
time while acting as an authorized instructor."



That seems less than clear to me. If an instructor is in
the aircraft, and can reach the controls, there is a
substantial risk that he will be charged with responsibility
for that flight. As such, a cautious instructor will
maintain an extra measure of vigilance when "riding with a
friend" that is at least as alert and aware as when he's
letting a student practice straight and level.

Given that he may well be charged with responsibility when
"riding" with a mere PPL, and may be acting with greater
care than a simple passenger, I'd consider him to be "acting
as an authorized instructor" even if he was not "asked to
act as an authorized instructor." That difference is the
ambiguity I see in the FAR wording.

I never log time as instruction given unless I'm actually giving
instruction.


A reasonable response also. Note that if you log it as
instruction, you are required to sign the other pilot's
logbook, but since he owns his logbook, he does not have to
let you sign it.

If I'm riding with a friend, I'm not going to call (or
log) that as instruction.


When I flew with a friend, I'd ask if he wanted to consider
it instruction. He could log PIC for sole manipulator *and*
dual received (which makes insurance companies happy) and I
would log instruction given and feel justified in the extra
level of vigilance I felt was required regardless.

Todd Pattist
(Remove DONTSPAMME from address to email reply.)
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