Pilot Counsel

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Pilot Counsel:

Pilot Magazine | Apr 01, 2011

In a letter of February 4, 2011, the FAA chief counsel has advised pilots and other members of the aviation community that the FAA is suspending its policy of erasing old, stale violation histories from its records. At first blush this may not seem significant to pilots who have never been in trouble with the FAA.

Pilot Counsel:

Pilot Magazine | Mar 01, 2011

The glass cockpit has raised this frequently asked legal question: Do I need to carry paper aeronautical charts on a typical general aviation flight (noncommercial, under FAR Part 91) if I have the same information on electronic cockpit displays? IFR or VFR? The short answer is, no. You may substitute an electronic display of the information in the place of paper navigation charts during all phases of flight operations.

Pilot Counsel:

Article | Feb 01, 2011

Legal questions from the FAR Refresher at AOPA Aviation Summit provide insight into what members would like covered here. Several questions suggested a review of FAR 91.211, which sets out the regulatory requirements for supplemental oxygen in private, noncommercial operations.

Topics Events

Pilot Counsel:

Pilot Magazine | Jan 01, 2011

From my seminars at AOPA Aviation Summit in November it’s clear that many owners and pilots continue to be concerned about their rights and obligations in an FAA ramp check. The last time I addressed the subject in this column was more than three years ago, in July 2007.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Dec 01, 2010

Even with careful preflight planning and in-flight monitoring, you could find yourself unexpectedly short on fuel, adding to your calculations for a safe landing, and maybe a concern about eating into your IFR fuel reserve. A relatively recent FAA chief counsel interpretation answered whether a pilot may “legally” use some of the required 45-minute minimum IFR fuel reserve without declaring an emergency.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Nov 01, 2010

Last month’s column on flight instructor liability stirred a more general question about the effectiveness of so-called “liability release forms” (sometimes called “covenants not to sue” and “exculpatory agreements”) that purport to protect against the liability that could result from the operation of a general aviation aircraft (“Pilot Counsel: Instructor Liability Still a Concern,” October 2010 AOPA Pilot). We have tried to track the “effectiveness” cases and report them to you as they develop.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Oct 01, 2010

The legal liability of flight instructors is a legitimate concern that is continually raised. The question comes up because flight instructors are generally aware that they could be sued, not only for something that happens during the flight instruction period, but also for something that happens afterward—something that somebody could say was caused by faulty flight instruction given earlier.

Pilot Counsel

Pilot Magazine | Sep 01, 2010

Here is a new wide-ranging FAA rule that will significantly affect all United States “N”-registered civil aircraft—essentially all of general aviation in this country. It becomes effective next month, on October 1, 2010.

Pilot Counsel

Pilot Magazine | Aug 01, 2010

General aviation pilots can easily be confused about the concept of “night” as it relates to the rules requiring recent piloting experience, and as it relates to the flight rules governing VFR weather minimums. I must confess that sometimes I have been, and that I sometimes need a reminder.

Pilot Counsel

Pilot Magazine | Jul 01, 2010

Conflicts between pilots and controllers in what should be routine air traffic situations tell us that this is a legal concern that pilots might appreciate reviewing. In several places in the flight rules of FAR Part 91, in several forms, there is the requirement to “establish two-way radio communications with ATC.” This requirement frequently applies prior to entering certain airspace, and makes these situations time-critical.

Pilot Counsel

Pilot Magazine | Jun 01, 2010

Here is a recent federal court decision describing an accident that has real-life lessons for instrument-rated pilots. A Gulfstream III crashed during bad weather while attempting an ILS approach to William P.

Pilot Counsel:

Pilot Magazine | May 01, 2010

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, writing in 1928, gave us this farsighted warning: “Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficent.

Pilot Counsel:

Pilot Magazine | Apr 01, 2010

The National Transportation Safety Board has just amended its rules to expand the number of aviation “incidents” that require notification to the NTSB. For the first time, the rules address the burgeoning “glass cockpit” displays and their offshoots.

Pilot Counsel:

Pilot Magazine | Mar 01, 2010

There is a subtle but important legal distinction between logging pilot-in-command time and acting as pilot in command. We now have an interpretation by the FAA Chief Counsel that seeks to explain this distinction in a fairly typical situation in which many of us could find ourselves.

Pilot Counsel:

Pilot Magazine | Feb 01, 2010

The title of FAR 61.113 is “Private Pilot Privileges and Limitations: Pilot in Command.” The title of the rule belies its scope and complexity. Many, many pilots safely conduct operations under this rule, operations that but for the rule would otherwise be considered commercial, with all the complexities that entails.

Pilot Counsel:

Pilot Magazine | Jan 01, 2010

There is a relatively little known federal law called the Equal Access To Justice Act (EAJA) that benefits, and should continue to benefit, aircraft owners and pilots. It was enacted in 1980 to help persons who fight the government to recover attorneys’ fees and other costs if the government was not justified in taking action against them in the first place.

Pilot Counsel:

Article | Dec 08, 2009

From time to time, we need to focus on the less frequently cited regulations that could sneak up on us unexpectedly, and could be troublesome when they do. The credentials and aircraft documents that a pilot must have at hand before a typical private, noncommercial flight fall into this category.

Pilot Counsel:

Article | Nov 02, 2009

Imagine that as you are flying along, you hear a loud bang from the tail section of your aircraft. The aircraft goes into an uncontrollable nosedive.

Pilot Counsel: Watch that altitude!

Pilot Magazine | Oct 01, 2009

A 160-day suspension of a pilot’s certificate for being 500 to 600 feet off his ATC- assigned altitude? Pretty serious stuff. Yet that is exactly what happened in a case that prompts me to remind pilots of the possible consequences of an altitude deviation.

Pilot Counsel:

Pilot Magazine | Sep 01, 2009

Here is a case that again stresses the importance of not being too casual, but rather being extremely precise, in completing an application for an FAA medical certificate. Otherwise, the result could end your flying.

Pilot Counsel:

Article | Aug 03, 2009

Under the Federal Aviation Act, the National Transportation Safety Board functions as a court of appeals for pilots when the FAA has suspended or revoked a pilot or medical certificate. In our increasingly complex airspace system and the more intensive regulation of our flying activities, no pilot is immune.

Pilot Counsel:

Pilot Magazine | Jul 01, 2009

Aviation attorney John S. Yodice flies a Cessna 310.

Pilot Counsel:

Pilot Magazine | Jun 01, 2009

John S. Yodice is an active pilot who flies a Cessna 310 based in Maryland.

Pilot Counsel:

Pilot Magazine | May 01, 2009

John S. Yodice has served as legal counsel to AOPA since 1963.

Pilot Counsel:

Pilot Magazine | Apr 01, 2009

John S. Yodice has served as legal counselor to AOPA since 1963.