May 2018; “Read More”

Read more…(Complex)

“We had heard hints of this change at Sun ‘n Fun last month when we interviewed the FAA’s Brad Palmer of AFS 800,” explained David St. George, SAFE Chair. “His team at the FAA was very concerned about the safety of our fleet of aging complex airplanes.” St. George said he thought the wing support failure on a Piper Arrow at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Institute in Florida a few weeks ago was a precipitating factor in the quick FAA decision. In its National Policy Notice announcing the change, the FAA noted there are now far fewer single-engine complex airplanes available to meet the ACS testing requirement, and that those airplanes that are available are expensive to maintain. Many Part 141 flight schools are already operating under waivers eliminating the requirement for complex airplanes on the checkride since such aircraft are increasing hard to find.

Read more…(Weather)

“There have been quantum improvements in weather forecasting and the way that information is presented to pilots since the days when weather information was limited by a 100 word-per-minute teletype printing on long scrolls of yellow paper,” said SAFE Chair David. St. George. “Nonetheless, the fact that GA pilots overall could not accurately interpret 58 percent has to be a concern for CFIs.” Dr. Elizabeth Blickensderfer of ERAU’s Department of Human Factors and Behavioral Neurobiology, who conducted the survey, said the findings should not be seen solely as a symptom of poor pilot training. “I don’t want to blame the pilots for deficiencies in understanding weather information,” she said. “We have got to improve how weather information is displayed so pilots can easily and quickly interpret it.” Since the advent of the Internet, pilots have complained that abbreviations and cryptic symbols used in weather reports and forecasts are unnecessary, since transmission of the information is no longer limited Among other changes recently, nearly all aviation weather sources now offer plain English interpretation of abbreviated weather information. Blickensderfer said the findings, published in the April 2018 edition of the International Journal of Aerospace Psychology, are worrisome because GA pilots flying smaller aircraft at lower altitudes, usually with minimal ground-based support, have higher weather-related accident and fatality rates. Four categories of GA pilots who completed the 95-question exam scored as follows: * instrument-rated commercial pilots achieved the highest scores, with a 65% accuracy level; * instrument-rated private pilots ranked second, with 62% correct responses; * private pilots flying without an instrument rating scored 57% and * students correctly answered only 48% of the questions. Overall, the mean score across all 204 pilots was 57.89%, based on assessments conducted on the university’s Daytona Beach, Fla., campus and at an air show in the midwestern United States The research was supported by $491,000 in funding from the FAA. A follow-up study involving a larger sample of about 1,000 GA pilots across the United States is now underway.

Read more…(CFI Shortage)

Many college programs are also struggling to keep up with the demand. In a letter last month, Western Michigan University College of Aviation said the college is losing flight instructors at an unprecedented rate. “Last year we lost 39 out of 55 instructors,” wrote Russ Kavalhuna, executive director of flight operations at WMU. The school is even offering to pay for CFIs to obtain certification to teach the multiengine curriculum. The college continues to search for two full-time multiengine instructors, he said, but noted that “it has been a struggle to find qualified, experienced multiengine instructors who have not already opted for the financial gains of the airlines, or who have been turned down by airlines for reasons that also stop us from hiring them as your instructors.”

Read more…(Career cost)

Markoff said the new program would allow new career-minded pilots to complete a four-year program “including all ratings” for under $75,000, which is approximately half the cost of a degree from an established Part 141 academic school. He added that the academy will offer dormitory housing and a 12,000-square-foot maintenance facility. Tecnam Director of Sales Shannon Yeager expressed confidence that the new high-wing, two-place Tecnam P2008 would hold up in a training program, easily handling 100 hours per month usage. The composite light sport aircraft with a Rotax 912 100 HP engine flies on about four gallons per hour gas. “Tecnam is very behind this initiative,” said Yeager. “We believe, truly, that these aircraft will hold up” in the demanding training environment. “Which would you rather have, an older 10,000-hour Cessna or a brand new aircraft?” CFIs: Crime Doesn’t Pay Onerous FAA requirements for becoming a certificated flight instructor, operating charter flights or running a flight school apparently didn’t concern the owner of Boca Raton, Florida-based Beach Aviation, who pleaded guilty last month in US District Court to operating an aircraft without an airman’s certificate, wire fraud, and falsification of records. Robert Charles Jones Brady, who had suffered revocation of all his FAA certificates in 2016, fraudulently endorsed student logbooks and directed his employees to do the same, even though he and many of his ‘flight instructors’ were not CFIs. Those students have had their training hours disallowed by the FAA. “Crime doesn’t pay,” observed David St. George, SAFE Chair. “At least not for very long, and it’s the students who are paying the price for this operator’s criminality,” The FAA has disallowed all the hours accumulated by students of the school, forcing them to either quit flight training or start over. The investigation by the US Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General also revealed that Brady had made more than 700 paid charter flights to and from South Florida, the Bahamas and other locations, using a fleet of aircraft, including business jets, to defraud the government, airmen and the flying public. A sentencing hearing is set for the middle of this month.

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