Pilot Counsel

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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.