Pilot Counsel

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Pilot Counsel

Article | May 01, 1997

In October 1995, when I wrote about FAR 91.213, regarding inoperative equipment, I called it "a foolish and impractical regulation." I added: "Nevertheless, it is a regulation we are charged with knowing, and we should try our best to comply with it to the extent practical." We have been fortunate that most FAA inspectors understand the folly of a literal reading of the regulation and apply it reasonably. Only the good-faith efforts of the general aviation community and the reasonableness of most inspectors have forestalled a problem — until now.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Apr 01, 1997

It has been two-and-a-half years since the general aviation community helped to pass a federal statute of repose. This statute carries the ambitious title of The General Aviation Revitalization Act of 1994.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Mar 01, 1997

Here is the story of a pilot who crashlanded his aircraft after it ran out of fuel. The FAA investigated the accident and took legal action against the pilot.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Feb 01, 1997

Many pilots will be interested in knowing about a new law that will require the sharing of their pilot records if they apply for an airline job. On October 9, 1996, President Clinton signed into law what is officially called the "Pilot Records Improvement Act of 1996." This act will require that any airline, before hiring a pilot, must obtain and check all sorts of records of the pilot applicant.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Jan 01, 1997

I doubt that any of us missed the widely publicized news accounts of the two U.S.-registered Cessna 337 Skymasters shot down by Cuban MiGs over the Straits of Florida last February. A third Skymaster escaped.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Dec 01, 1996

A month or two ago, I moderated a seminar on aircraft insurance at AOPA Expo in San Jose, California. The seminar was a unique opportunity to learn what questions AOPA members have about their aircraft insurance.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Nov 01, 1996

Suppose that you need your pilot certificate to earn your livelihood. Many of us do — flight instructors, professional pilots, even pilots on business.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Oct 01, 1996

Do you know whether you have insurance protection when you rent an aircraft? This is a question that continues to plague pilots. We first posed it in this column as long ago as January 1965, then again in November 1974, and in May 1980.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Sep 01, 1996

The Federal Aviation Administration and its boss, the U.S. Department of Transportation, have just issued a policy statement on airport rates and charges.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Aug 01, 1996

A recent decision by FAA Administrator David R. Hinson has dramatically changed our understanding of an important principle of aviation law.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Jul 01, 1996

Unless you are in the business of buying and selling aircraft, you are probably only vaguely familiar with AOPA's title and escrow services. These are services that could prove to be very helpful to you.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Jun 01, 1996

How much should a pilot be able to rely on someone else to help with preflighting an aircraft, and even help with flying the aircraft? After all, it is not unusual for one pilot to help another with such flying activities as calling for the weather; filing a flight plan; checking the fuel and oil levels; untying the aircraft; pulling chocks; or even helping with the radios, navigation, and the like. If the "someone else" makes a mistake, should the pilot in command be held responsible? This becomes an important question if the mistake leads to an infraction of the Federal Aviation Regulations.

Pilot Counsel

Article | May 01, 1996

A recent legal decision of the National Transportation Safety Board provides a look at an actual FAA ramp check. The case shows us how a few technical violations, coupled with some prior antagonism, can escalate into a serious problem for the pilot of the flight being checked — in this case, a 90-day suspension of the pilot's ATP certificate.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Apr 01, 1996

It is that time again when election campaigning brings up the usual questions about the law governing the use of private aircraft in federal elections. Many candidates and political committees have discovered that the speed and flexibility of private aircraft are especially suited to campaigning in most parts of the country.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Mar 01, 1996

An FAA legal interpretation that is circulating may cause unnecessary concern among pilots and aircraft owners who contribute their services for charitable or humanitarian flights. These flights include good works such as transporting poor, sick, or injured people to medical treatment facilities and transporting blood or human organs and the like.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Feb 01, 1996

It was a fairly typical traffic situation on a balmy fall afternoon. A light twin-engine airplane was departing a small general aviation airport.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Jan 01, 1996

The aviation world was elated when the FAA gave back to Bob Hoover his medical certificate (See "Pilot Briefing," November Pilot). He had been denied his FAA medical certificate for almost 2 1/2 years, and — sadly, as it turns out — there was no good reason why he should have been grounded.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Dec 01, 1995

A straight-in approach to an uncontrolled airport is legal under the Federal Aviation Regulations. It may not always be wise, but it is definitely legal.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Nov 01, 1995

"Who is pilot in command of an aircraft when there is more than one qualified pilot at the controls?" That's an often debated legal question. We can't find the answer to this question in the Federal Aviation Regulations.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Oct 01, 1995

Many pilots are unaware of the very stringent requirements of FAR 91.213. It is not at all unusual to find this regulation inadvertently violated, typically without any serious compromise of safety.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Sep 01, 1995

It's a sad story. It's a story of three tragedies.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Aug 01, 1995

Many of you are already members of the AOPA Legal Services Plan. The plan is available exclusively to AOPA members, and it has been very successful in terms of member participation and satisfaction.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Jul 01, 1995

Technically, a standard instrument approach procedure (SLAP) is the way to let down and land an IFR flight at the destination airport. However, when the weather is good, it is a waste of time to shoot the full approach procedure — unless you need the practice or the recent experience.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Jun 01, 1995

Last month we reviewed the requirement that a pilot must land his or her aircraft at the first suitable airport when something happens in flight which makes the aircraft "unairworthy." This is just one of many regulatory requirements that deal with airworthiness. One of the most important of these requirements is Federal Aviation Regulation 91.7(a).

Pilot Counsel

Article | May 01, 1995

As pilots we should know that the regulations require us to discontinue any flight in which certain mechanical, electrical, or structural conditions occur to our aircraft. That's the requirement.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Apr 01, 1995

How often do you fly with other pilots, never intending to be pilot in command? Most of us do this fairly frequently. It is common for us to help with the flying — certainly helping to look out for other traffic, sometimes handling the radios, sometimes working the controls, even making takeoffs and landings — but never assuming the status of pilot in command.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Mar 01, 1995

Carrying passengers on a flight where the passengers pay for the flight, or even give anything of value in exchange for the flight, can be legally troublesome for the pilot. The law on this point is tricky.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Feb 01, 1995

We have spent a good deal of space in this column explaining the privileges and limitations of a private pilot certificate as set out in the Federal Aviation Regulations. Essentially, these come down to commanding an aircraft without the supervision of a flight instructor and, most importantly, the legal ability to carry passengers.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Dec 01, 1994

It is a rare pilot who can recite from memory the specific weather minimums required to operate an aircraft under VFR (visual flight rules). And for good reason.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Nov 01, 1994

The FAA and the NTSB have once again teamed up to temporarily rid our skies of a particularly dangerous pilot, albeit at the cost of untold thousands of our taxpayer dollars. This particularly brave deed by these twin bureaucracies should be chronicled to the aviation world.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Oct 01, 1994

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, to the extent that the facts of an actual case can paint a picture, "seeing" the flight rules applied in an enforcement case can help us to better understand the rules, or at least how the Federal Aviation Administration is enforcing them and how the National Transportation Safety Board is handling the appeals.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Sep 01, 1994

As we go to press, the General Aviation Revitalization Act of 1993 has passed both Houses of Congress and is on the President's desk for signature. The Act is essentially a statute of repose.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Aug 01, 1994

The regulations regarding safety belts and shoulder harnesses are very important for pilots, and are worth reviewing. These rules are contained in FARs 91.105 and 91.107, and I have found that they are much easier to understand if we parse them out into three separate areas: briefing, notification, and use.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Jul 01, 1994

The FAA's "kinder and gentler" approach to enforcement may be on the wane, as evidenced by the increasing number of questionable cases being brought against our members. My last two columns gave current examples of how heavy-handed the FAA can be.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Jun 01, 1994

A pilot has been found in violation of FAR 61.15 for failing to report to the FAA a motor vehicle conviction, even though he did report it to the FAA. Sounds like double-talk, doesn't it? Well, it is.

Pilot Counsel

Article | May 01, 1994

AOPA Counsel John S. Yodice also maintains an independent aviation law practice.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Apr 01, 1994

The regulations regarding the logging of flight time are buried deep in the volumes of the FARs, seemingly to be deciphered only by flight instructors and a few ultra-studious pilots. Most pilots with a general understanding of these regulations simply log all of their time and put entries in the various columns as best as they have been taught.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Mar 01, 1994

How does an airport compute the fees it charges to the airlines and general aviation for the use of the airport? In January of this year, the U.S. Supreme Court, which usually deals with more exotic issues, turned its attention to airport fees.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Jan 01, 1994

It was a bizarre accident. A parachutist in freefall struck the tail of a Piper Warrior, knocking it out of control, which caused it to crash.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Dec 01, 1993

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear a landmark aviation product liability case reported on in this column in December 1992 ("Product Liability: A Case Study").

Pilot Counsel

Article | Nov 01, 1993

Bad news: The law allows an aircraft to be taken from its owner — permanently, and without compensation — for what could be a relatively minor infraction of the Federal Aviation Regulations. This is a law that was pushed through by a few well-meaning but poorly informed senators and representatives who were reacting to the frustration of drug enforcement officials.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Oct 01, 1993

While air traffic control rules have stayed generally the same under the new airspace reclassification program, there have been changes that we need to know. One of the purposes of the redesignation was "simplification." The new alphabet designations may well be simpler for someone learning the system for the first time, but for those of us who dutifully learned the old system, it's not so simple.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Sep 01, 1993

A TWA captain had his pilot certificate suspended for seven days because he didn't have it, and his medical certificate, in his personal possession on one of his flights. This violation case is a dramatic reminder of the regulatory requirements related to pilot and medical certificates.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Aug 01, 1993

There is an old-time saying among pilots about gear-up landings: "There are those who have and those who will." I hope it's not literally true. Yet despite warning lights and horns, check lists, and the like, they still occur — providing continuing evidence of another old-time saying: "To err is human." Another truism about gear-up landings is that they don't typically hurt anybody.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Jul 01, 1993

This past winter's storms caused quite a bit of damage to aircraft parked on airports and provoked a number of questions about the responsibility of the fixed-base operator for wind damage to parked aircraft. These questions are not always easy to answer and often lead to lawsuits.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Jun 01, 1993

In last month's "Pilot Counsel," we reported on two product liability cases with seemingly similar factual situations but very different results. Both cases involved an instrument approach down to IFR weather minimums, resulting in a fatal crash.

Pilot Counsel

Article | May 01, 1993

In the December 1992 AOPA Pilot, we reported on a product liability case which has caused quite a stir ("Pilot Counsel: Product Liability: A Case Study"). A New Mexico jury returned a $2.5-million verdict against Piper Aircraft Corporation and others, in favor of an injured pilot whose Super Cub collided with a van intentionally parked on the runway to prevent his takeoff.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Apr 01, 1993

Terrain and obstruction clearance during an IFR departure is the responsibility of the pilot. That's a remarkably simple sounding statement, but in reality, it is not simple.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Mar 01, 1993

Expunction is a high-sounding word that means no more than "to erase, to rub out." The FAA is adopting an expunction program to purge its files of records more than five years old that show that a pilot or other individual has been suspended or fined for a violation of the Federal Aviation Regulations. This has not been as easy a task as first anticipated.

Pilot Counsel

Article | Feb 01, 1993

Many aircraft owners write off, for federal income tax purposes, the cost of flying their aircraft in connection with their jobs. Many more would like to learn more about it.