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The People
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The Examiner; ...The Instructor; ...The Applicant; ...Order of PTS flight Problems; ...Why Applicants Fail; ...Are You Ready?; ...Calming Anxiety; ...Written Specifics; …FAA Ramp Check; ...An FAA Ramp Inspection Checklist; …Having a Current Chart; …The Passengers; … Decision-Making and Gender; ...The Incompetent Pilot;... Showing 
; ...

The Examiner
The FAA Designated Examiner is selected by need, experience, ability, recommendations and written test results. He must give every oral and flight test based on acceptable standards for the objectives for every task in the Practical Test Standards (PTS). The examiner does not choose the areas required for testing. He is told what to do (everything) and the accepted standards of performance.

The examiner is required to ask questions to determine applicants knowledge and understanding. The examiner is to observe the applicant in the performance of routine, non-routine and emergency procedures. Oral questioning may be used at any time. Questions will be practical and based on sources shown in the front of PTS text. Examiners are advised to avoid using other sources as references. Testing will include all safety factors related to each operation. References for each task are listed in each part of the PTS. The examiner is a referee.

The tasks and the performance required are national standards. This is objective as to required tasks and levels of performance. The examiner is an impartial observer of how you can be expected to perform as a pilot. He evaluates performance of routine, non-routine and emergency tasks. He asks questions and assigns tasks as part of the process. The purpose of the test is to objectively determine via standardized performance criteria the ability of a person to perform certain flight related tasks to a satisfactory level.

The examiner's responsibility is that he must cover everything in the PTS. He is somewhat limited to the references listed in the PTS in his oral testing of knowledge skills. He is expected to determine the applicants knowledge of the aircraft, its limitations, systems, and malfunctions. An applicant who does not have knowledge to pass the oral will not even get to the airplane.

The flight planning should be 'practical'. That is, the way you would do it. You are expected to know how to call up DUAT weather and interpret the printout. The oral will include interpreting charts from AC 0045. You will be expected to explain any aspects of the flight planning, aircraft operation, and maneuvers. Oral questions may be used at any time during the test. They can be used as distractions since distraction is considered part of the test.

The examiner's method of emergency simulation should be discussed prior to the flight. The discussion would cover inoperative equipment, maximum performance takeoff and landing knowledge and judgment. The successful conclusion of an in-flight emergency is always the primary objective. Cross country flight planning is a test of judgment as well as knowledge. Fuel consumption, requirements and reserves are computed. Weather, alternate plans and aircraft range enter into the planning.

During the test the examiner may place you into a situation where you are uncertain as to just what the expectations may be. Ask for a ‘time out’ to discuss your concerns with the examiner. Ask not to continue until your concerns are satisfied. Often the examiner will apologize for not having properly or clearly conveyed his intent.

At any time during the test where a pilot does not meet the practical test standards, the examiner must terminate the test. A re-test of the deficient area causing the halt and all other areas not completed is required. The worst nightmare of any examiner is incomplete paperwork. The back of the PTS has a checklist to cover this problem. Organize your paperwork in a folder and put post-it tabs to indicate location of important endorsements in the aircraft, engine, and your logbook.

I have had a number of 'failures' in twenty years. I have salvaged a number of 'failures' from other instructors. I have never known an examiner to be arbitrary or unfair. I have never known one not to give a student a second chance to improve on a failed performance. I have seen where a 'failure' was instrumental in saving more than one pilot's life.

--Thought that DE's were only padding on the passenger seat.
--The DE's say that they are only along for the ride
--They do not control the flight except to tell me what procedures they want to see..
--The DEs have to be specifically asked to do something.

Designated Pilot Examiner Requirements
---FSDO must have need for examiners
---Gives at least 10 practical test a year
---Timely renewal of designation
---Attends required training sessions

The Instructor
I have had many students fail their flight tests. Never have I had a student say that the test or the examiner was unfair, never gave him a chance, etc. In many instances the student had knowingly flown off course, deviated from an altitude or neglected some procedure. They had done so knowingly, but thinking that under the test circumstances the deviations were O.K.; they weren't. More often the students have failed on the oral. They failed because the examiner found a weakness in their knowledge. Like water working a weakness the examiner kept probing until the area constituted a PTS failure.

Areas of knowledge not related to the actual flying can be errors of commission, such as a wild guess at some unknown answer, or omission, leaving out an essential word or term. The instructor has not done the job of seeking and finding these weaknesses. The instructor doesn't know what you don't know but should find out. The instructor is responsible for teaching to proficiency the required flying skills. He is also expected to determine that the student has the required 'ground school' knowledge to pass the oral part of the PTS.

The endorsement gives the instructor power over behavior unequaled in any area. No person can legally solo until a single instructor certifies that he has given the required instruction and tests to the person. The person is certified to have met the required performance standards and will be safe. The pilot may not do anything contrary to the endorsement limitations of the instructor. The signing of the application form means that the applicant is certified as ready and qualified to pass the practical flight test.

The Applicant
A mistake will not end the checkride unless it indicates a safety problem related to procedure or judgment. Every flight with your instructor will include instruction in using the proper procedure and judgment. On your own, make a tape recording of normal and emergency cockpit procedures. Explain on the tape, to yourself how the systems and instruments work, show failure, and how related problems would be solved. If you can't explain it to yourself, see your instructor.

Stress is an important factor in the Practical Test. The best possible stress reducer is to know what you are supposed to know. The PTS publications delineate responsibility. The applicant is responsible for knowing and preparing certain aspects. Likewise, you might not know what you don't know. More likely, you are aware of the weakness and are unable to ask for the required help. Some students are under "pressure" to get the test over and hope that the weakness will slip through. It won't. What's more, any undetected weakness can kill you.

The habits and judgments we have developed cannot be concealed or changed just for the checkride. Any bad habits or judgmental problems will show up in the checkride. If you have any doubts as to your flying habits or ability to make the proper decisions, get them resolved during instruction. You won't be able to fake your way through a checkride.

The basic requirements for the test are that the applicant must be master of the aircraft. He must be able to put it where he wants it when he wants it there. Flight must be both smooth and precise while showing good judgment and application of the appropriate FARs. Procedures and maneuvers, including emergency simulations must always be performed within the operating limitations of the aircraft POH.

An applicant who fails his flight test and is issued a failure slip. The only item he must demonstrate is a short field landing. This demonstration must take place within 60 days and within the 24-month period allowed after passing the written. If not the written must be retaken and the complete PTS test must be retaken.

Once a student has been recommended and instructor has signed FAA 8710, the student is assigned departure and destination as well as time to meet for the test. Student should get examiner weight and intended baggage. The student is to get a full weather briefing on weather. A student analysis of this briefing may be required by the examiner. Being on time is vital. Being late puts DE under pressure to complete process. Application must be correct. The aircraft logbooks must be available and tagged for location of basic information. Weight and balance and performance charts must be removed from the aircraft and brought to the meeting with the examiner.

Order of PTS Flight Problems
1. The most common reason for failure of flying skills in the PTS is making crosswind landings. Most examiners will allow an applicant a second try at a crosswind landing. It won't really change anything because if you can't make the first one it is unlikely that the procedure for the second will be any better. Don’t wait for the examiner to tell you to go around. Don’t delay the go-around.

2. The second worst thing you can do is to try to salvage a poor flare. The worst thing to salvage is a poor touchdown. When your approach does not ‘feel right’ make go-arounds. You are far less likely to fail a checkride, making a good go-around than you are by trying to salvage a poor approach.

3. Student unable to slip due to instruction failure.

4. Incorrect pattern entry. Applicant should know to overfly airport for orientation instead of winging it. Should be taught.

5. Oral on weather, aircraft performance, weight and balance failed due to inadequate preparation. (Instructor specific)

6. ATC light signals. Suggest use of multi-colored flashlight to practice.

7. Steep turns soft/short field and emergency landings. Teach stabilized approach/constant glide angle. Various landings should be practiced at many different airports. Emergencies should be in all phases of flight at all airports.

Why Applicants Fail
Taxiing across a runway without a clearance.
"Paperwork failures" are not to be allowed as of 1997.
Improper endorsements
Improper aircraft logbooks
Incorrect/no weight and balance data
Incorrect aircraft handbook
Out of date charts
Unable to interpret AD and inspection data
Reading weather
Reading charts
Emergency operation of equipment
Insufficient hours logged of a given type.
Location of extra fuses
Pitot Heat
Open door
Ground fire while starting
Forced Landings
On takeoff
At altitude use of radio
Getting help
Cross-country emergency
Turn in right direction first
Then use Checklist
Instrument flying
Maintaining standard rate turns
Avoiding airspeed excursions
Cross-country planning
ETA figures
Legal requirements
Manual limitations
Cross-country flying
Getting to first checkpoint
Use of checkpoint checklist
ETA figures
Heading corrections for winds
Normal takeoffs and landings
Holding airspeed during turns
Trim for stabilized approach
Flight at minimum controllable airspeed.
Avoiding stall
Using power to hold altitude during turns

Are You Ready?
The purpose of the checkride is to determine, within the confines of the PTS, whether the applicant is a safe, competent pilot. The examiner has considerable freedom as to just how 'everything in the PTS will be evaluated. Past applicants have found that there are few 'two-time Tommys'. The better you have done on the written, the smoother your answers during the oral, the better. In the flight-test a display of aircraft knowledge, confidence, judgment and safety oriented maneuvers will get you through. Failing to keep a watchful eye out for other traffic is not the way to go.

In the real world of life some things are done too soon. Getting married, having children, picking fruit, and going into your own business are typical examples. Applied to flight instruction, we often find that students are pushed into solo or into the flight test before they are ready. "Picked too green", is the saying. I have picked several students for solo when they were ‘too green’. Usually, I know and the student known when the right time for solo happens. For the PTS flight test there are so many imponderables that knowing just when to go for it is a crap shoot.

As possibly only one of many instructors in several types of aircraft and many hours of instruction, the one who signs the Application Form cannot do more than review and check for proficiency. The examiner is in much the same position, taking only a series of snap-shots that show the performance skills and judgment skills required of a pilot.

The student pilot who is ‘picked too green’ has been exposed and perhaps even learned the required skills for the moment. The retention and carry through of these skills are degraded through lack of practice so that the ability to stay out of trouble is also degraded. The student, often ashamed to admit this lack of skill will find reasons not to fly and reasons not to get instructor help. It does not take very long for even an experienced pilot to revert to ignorance, out of currency, and less than proficient. An accident looking for a place to happen.

Allow yourself time to grow up as a pilot. Feeling uncomfortable about something is enough reason not to fly. Being scared of any or all aspects of the flight real or imagined is a valid basis for cancellation.

The actual flying is retained, it is the finer points of taxiing, communications, configuration changes, emergency procedures, situational awareness, and checklist use that fail first. In a way, we will all turn rotten to one degree or another when we do not fly often enough. An instructor cannot teach the new pilot everything needed, the examiner cannot test everything, and there is no way you can live and fly long enough to know all that needs to be known.

Initiating safety inspired go-around, sooner rather than later is the thing to do. You are more likely to be failed for not making the go-around than for the way you make it. It is your judgment the examiner is evaluating as much or more than your flying. By telling the examiner what you are doing and why you are doing it in a certain way you are giving him an opportunity to ask for something different.

Get your paperwork in order. Confirm that you meet the PTS flight time requirements Eat breakfast. Get the aircraft papers in order. Know the required inspections. Don't answer with more than is asked. Go over the 'game plan' with the examiner before the flight to make sure you both understand the ground rules.

Some pilots get a license and treat that as the end of their learning experience. It may be as a direct result of improper instruction. Instruction that instills an attitude requiring continued learning should be a goal of every instructor. Proper instruction makes the license as an intermediate step in the total flying lifetime.

Pilots should realize that every flight, is a "training flight". It's an attitude thing really. Some pilots, who have it, and set goals of performance each time they fly, will have a chance of surviving if an emergency occurs.

In an emergency, you do what you have to do. Normal approaches should be flown within the POH descent rates and airspeeds. Experienced pilots will slip after full flap deployment as required.

Calming Anxiety
Anxiety is generalized fear. Your body prepares you to run, fight or act to protect yourself. Your heart and blood pressure rise, blood sugar increases and blood flow is reduced to the head, stomach, skin, hands and feet. You sweat and your muscles tense up. This response is individual to your physiology, background, and inherited instincts.

Emotional stress is just as valid a concern as is physical distress. Being frightened and recognizing the fear is the first step in overcoming fear as a problem. Fear will keep you from doing stupid things. Fear is a protective mechanism that is a very valuable adjunct to your flying repertoire.

We can also fear abstract situations. We worry about the future, the flight to come, life, health, love, status and acceptance. These concerns can trigger the same instinctive responses, as could a lion to our ancestors. However, when we react to these ‘lions’ of psychological threat our behavior is deemed inappropriate. Your very real ‘fears’ and your reaction to them become a part of the ‘fear’ problem.

If you are anxious about a particular flying problem you are just being normal. The physiological effect of a solo flight exceeds the similar effects occurring in a parachute jumps or first combat. It is very difficult to express in mere words your concerns because they usually defy description. However, you can help yourself.

Just as your fears are related to imagination so is the overcoming of these fears possible through imagination. For starters, take a worst case scenario and work through the sequence of events as you have been trained to manage them. Ask yourself out loud if any of this is really unbearable. Remind yourself that some degree of discomfort may occur, but you’ll survive. Every time a new worry enters your imagination, write it down and drop it into your open worry jar. Everyone should have an open worry jar. Once you have put a worry into the jar, get occupied with something else. A worry jar is a place to keep your worries until you get a chance to work with them.

In the beginning, it will be difficult to put anxious thoughts out of your mind. Trying to suppress a concern may end up with even more thinking. Arrange to do something that will not allow you to dwell on the problem until you are ready. Try not to think about a coming flight. Don’t let the thought of the flight enter your mind. You’ll probably find it nearly impossible not to think about the flight.

Worrisome thoughts fuel anxiety. Ignored worries have a way of poking back into your mind. Set aside a time to dip into your worry jar. At your selected worry time, sit down with your jar of big and little worries.
What is the worry?
What is the probability of this worry happening?
What is the best thing that could happen?
What is the probability of this best thing happening?
What are the solution options to your worry?
What plan of action will give me the best options?

During your worry time do nothing by worry. Brainstorm through solutions. Scheduling a worry time cuts the amount of time spent worrying. Save all your old worries into an enclosed can. Save these old worries because you will soon learn that the majority of them either never happen or turn out much better than you expected.

I am asking you to look at your worries at arms-length and ask yourself if your feared ‘lion’ is being exaggerated by your imagination. Question the probability of what you imagine, has of happening. Of the sequence of events which are events that have circumstances you can control. Talk to someone about the events beyond your control. You must accept that there are some things over which you have little control.

Written Specifics:
Opinion on Written
How to study for the written.. The guiding principle is to focus on the correct answer and ignore the incorrect answer. Go through all the questions and circle/highlight the correct answers. When reviewing, only study the correct answer. Don't even read the other choices. You're not learning the theory behind the questions. Focus exclusively on the correct answer, so you will recognize the right one regardless if the number order is different. Greg H.

FAA Ramp Check
From Order 8700.1 -
An operations inspector conducts ramp inspections on airmen and aircraft operating under various FAR. This chapter deals with FAR Part 91 operators, which are by far the most numerous. Ramp inspections involving other FAR parts are found in the appropriate related task.

A. Definitions.
(1) For the purposes of this chapter, an operator may be a pilot, an executive/corporate operator, an air agency, etc.
(2) A ramp inspection is defined as surveillance of an airman, operator, or air agency during actual operations at an airport or heliport.

B. Inspector Conduct. The inspector shall always have identification available, since an airman or operator may or may not know an inspector.
(1) For special considerations concerning surveillance at fly-ins, airshows, and other gatherings of general aviation aircraft and airmen, see Chapter 50, Surveillance of an Aviation Event, Section 1, paragraph 5A (1)-(4).
(2) An inspector must not board any aircraft without the knowledge of the crew or operator. Some operators may prefer to have a company representative present to answer questions.
(3) If the surveillance will delay a flight, the inspector should use prudent judgment whether or not to continue.
(4) The inspector should also bear in mind that he or she may not be able to complete all items on every ramp inspection.

C. Common Reasons for a Ramp Inspection. Ramp inspections may result when the inspector:
(1) Observes an unsafe operation in the traffic pattern or in the ramp
(2) Is notified by ATC of an unsafe operation
(3) Conducts normal surveillance

Section B. Inspector Conduct,
They must identify themselves. 30 years of experience, and a number of NTSB hearings say that in the two instances you mentioned, they did no wrong in allowing the subjects to talk themselves into a "situation", and information gained in this manner and used to prosecute these individuals would not be thrown out at trial. Notice that out of three common reasons for a ramp inspection, one is considered "normal surveillance". You're only required to show an Inspector your certificate and medical. With a 66% chance that the FAA is talking to you because of an "unsafe operation" or "ATC notification", I'd be extra careful of how I talked to any Inspector. Treat them like you would treat a cop who just wants to ask you a few questions.

An FAA Ramp Inspection Checklist
The Pilot
(9 items)
FAR 61.3 & 61.5
1. Pilot certificate
2. Medical certificate class and date
3. Type of ratings by category
4. Airplane class rating
5. Rotorcraft class rating
6. Type of rating
7. Lighter-than-air rating
8. Instrument rating
a. Airplane
b. Helicopter
FAR 61.25 Change of name or address
Aircraft Inspection (14 items)
1. Placarding
2. Obvious defects
3. Airworthiness Certificate
4. Registration
5. N marking correct
6. Annual inspection
7. Transponder date
8. Compass card
9. Minimum equipment list
10. Flight manual
11. AD current
12. ELT date
13. Data plates
14. Weight and Balance
Airworthy (Definition)
1) The aircraft must conform to its type certificate
a. When aircraft configuration and the components installed are consistent with …all information that is part of the type certificate.
2) The aircraft must be in condition for safe operation.
a. Aircraft relative to wear and deterioration (examples of damage)
Records (16 items)
1. Registration is current and in aircraft. CFR 91.9
2. Airworthiness certificate in aircraft CFR 91.203(a)
3. Verify A&PI certificate number CFR 63.91
4. Current weight and balance 23.1581, 91.9
5. All AD's current in maintenance records CFR 23.23, 23.1519
6. Last annual completed: CFR 43.11 & 91.417
a. Date
b. CFR 65.91 Name and certificate number.
c. 145 repair station sign off date and station number
7. Annual Inspection 43.11 & 91.417
a. Total time
b. Description of work done
c. Date complete
d. IA signature and certification number
8. Last 100-hour inspection
a. 145 Repair station signoff date and station number CFR 43.3/51/57
b. A & P date and certification number CFR 43.15, 65.85, 91.409
9. A&P/IA signature CFR 43.11 & 91.409
10. Approved flight manual up-to-date before 03-1-1979 CFR 21.5/23.1591, 91.9
11. Equipment list current and in aircraft CFR 23.29 & 91.9
12, Flight manual of POH current after 03-1-1979 w/revision number and date CFR 21.5/23.1581, 91.9
13. Alterations IAW approved STC/TSO/PMA/field approval of other FAA data/337s CFR 21.97/101/113
14.Maintenance records for engine, airframe and propeller CFR 91.417
15. FAA-accepted instructions for continued airworthiness (ICAW for form 337s) and FAA -accepted maintenance manuals. Per FAR 21.31, 21.50, 21.1529,
16. Annual/100 hour inspection checklist owner gets copy CFR 43.15 (c)
In my conversation with the FAA source of this checklist, I was told that getting through the foregoing meant that the remaining six pages were unlikely to be a problem. It doesn't look that way to me.

Cockpit Inspection (39 items)
1. Instruments and placards are correctly located per POH or T/C CFR 23.1541-1567, 91.9

2. INOP placards
a. INOP instruments removed
b. Equipment list up-dated
c. Maintenance record entry.

3. Instrument range markings: CFR 91.205/405(d) & CFR 23.1322, CFR 23.1541
a. Altimeter
b. Fuel pressure
c. Fuel quantity
d. Oil pressure
e. Oil temperature
f. Ammeter
g. Heading indicator
h. Vertical speed indicator
i. Turn and bank
j. Gear indicator
4. Compass card is there and legible CFR 23.1547 & 25.1547
5. Additional instruments not on equipment list or 337
6. Type of clock installed original analog or digital working AC 20-94
7. Nav radio P/N 1 and P/N 2
8. Conforms to type certificate (TC) per POH (see 5 & 6 above)
9. Check seat belts for stitching, cuts or worn CFR 91.107 & 23.785
10. Seat belts proper storage and marking TSO-22 7 23.785
11. Seat belts plastic locking ring missing front and back seats TSO-22, CFR 45.14
12. TSO-22 marking on seatbelts CFR 45l.15, CFR 91.205(b)(13,14)
13. Shoulder harness required after July 18, 1978 CFR 23.785(g)(1)
14. Seat rail holes elongated requires AD check CFR39
15. Worn seat material CFR 25.853 for a CAR-3.388 aircraft Part 91 & 23.853, AC 43.13-1B Para 9-61
16. New Interior material certificates CAR-3.388 & CFR 23.853/25.853
17. Interior worn and if new has certification sheets (Has interior been altered or changed?) CFR 21.303/43.11
18. Cockpit fuel smell CFR 23.863
19. Data plate information matches registration FAR 45.11/13 & 47.3
20. Intercom jack, how many, any extra and required Form 337
21. Fire extinguisher gauge
22. Oxygen bottle AC 43.13-1b para 9-51
23. Instrument filter covers installed
24. Windows stop-drilled, cracked, or crazed CFR 23.775
25. Seat back locks broken CFR 23.785
26. Flap, gear and other knobs installed CFR 23.781
27. Yoke chain safety wired or loose CFR 43
28. Electrical wiring more than 1/2 inch of slack CFR 43.13 1B para 11-118
29. Electrical wiring clamps/marking as required AC43.13-1B sec.11Z
30. Ty-wraps on items of mass in the cabin CFR 23.561
31. Loose wires under the dash not clamped CFR 23.1351
32. General cleanliness and loose equipment 23. 1301
33. Fuel selector moves to all positions and placarded
34. Oxygen system and supply condition CFR 23.l144 thru 1453
35. Battery vented overboard 23.1353 & AC 43.13-1B para 11-22
36. Fire extinguishing agent CFR 23.1197
37. Cockpit control knob shape CFR 23.781
38. Engine control proper installation and operation CFR 23.1141
39. Brake master cylinder leaking, check left/right CFR 23.735

Aircraft Exterior Inspection (34 items)
1. Nationality and registration marks per FAR 45.29. 3-inch markings per Jan1, 1983 and repaint Over 30 years 2 or 12 inch CFR 45.22(b)
2. Fuel placards on left and right CFR 45.22(b)
3. Fairing cracked, hardware missing CFR 24.607, CFR 23.1193
4. Tire condition, wear and cuts AC 34.13 para 9-14
5. Landing gear struts condition AC 43.13 para 9-2/4
6. Landing gear extension AC 43.13 para 9-2/4
7. Landing gear farings condition CFR 23.607, CFR 23.1193
8. Brake pads and line conditions CFR 23.735
9. Wing dents, cracks, rivets, corrosion lights CFR 23.1385
10. Flap cracks, loose hardware, installation, stop-drilled, cracks CFR 23.655/697
11. Fuel vent direction CFR 23.975
12. Aileron cracks, loose hardware, installation cable rigging loose, annual/100 hour inspection CFR 23.655/685/689
13. Deicer boot condition worn, holes, debonded CFR 23.1416/1419
14. Static ports no paint, clear CFR 23l.13l25
15. Pitot tube hole not plugged and last inspection date. CFR 23.1325
15, Rudder movement, bearings, racks, repairs CFR 23.685
16. Cable rigging tensiometer test every 100 hours/ annual CFR 23.589
17. Electrical bonding strap condition CFR 23.867
18. Rotating beacon installation, corrects/doubler after 08-11-71 CFR 23.1401
19. Anticollision light system CFR 91.209(b)/CFR 23.1401
20. Navigation lights proper color CFR 23.1385-1399
21. Elevator torque tube adapter, rivets condition CFR 23.675
22. Horizontal stabilizer cracks, rivets, installation, safetied, stop-drill cracks, stops CFR 23.571, 23.675
23. Door latches and locks, sprung, seals worn CFR 2l3l.1557
24. Windscreen clear, scratches, racks, CFR23.775
25. Antenna installation, doublers per 43.13 2A, CFR 23.571/572
26. Fabric covered aircraft condition AC 43.13-B chapter 2
27. Emergency exit placards CFR 23.15l57(d)
28. ATC transponder FAR 91.413 date and 24 calendar month check
29. ELT TSO-C91a/TSO-C126 12 month check
30. Altimeter test CFR 91.411 24 month check
31. Mirrors on wings require form 337
32. Landing light covers cracked, missing hardware
33. Landing gear retraction test CFR 23.l479
34. Emergency gear extension performed CFR 23.479

Engine Inspection (Reference: CFR 23 Subpart E powerplant) (39 items)
1. Engine data plates matches type certificate CFR 45.13
2. Proper engine installed per type certificate or STC CFR 23.901
3. Engine/propeller per type certificate of STC CFR 43
4. Certification of instruments and engine accessories installed with 337's CFR 4l5.15/23.1305/ 23.1543/ 23.1309/ 23.
5. Engine cowl loose/missing hardware by location CFR 23.1193
6. Firewall bent, racked or missing fasteners CFR l23.1191
7. Engine mount structure for cracks, dents and condition CFR 23.901
8. Engine shock mount for cracks, worn, condition 23.901
9. Flex tubing condition CFR 23.1183
10. Clamps installation and type CFR 23.993
11. Engine oil leaking (location) CFR 43
12. STC for air filter bracket if installed & Form 337 CFR 43
13. Condition of baffle seals and installation and type of material
14. Propeller seal leaking CFR 23.907
15. Propeller clearance CFR 23.925
16. Propeller for nicks, cracks, and damage AC 43.13-2B para 8-73
17. Propeller spinner for cracks or missing screws (none allowed), nuts safety wired. Service Letter reference.
18. Propeller grinding on rotation AC43.13-1B para 8-2 (c)(2)
19. Propeller nuts properly torqued CFR Appendix D
20. Wire chafing, fuel lines, no wires under fuel lines AC43.13-1B
21. Electrical wire maximum 1/2-inch slack between supports AC43.13-1B figure 11.9
22. Engine/electric fuel pump and wiring condition
23. Ignition harness condition
24. Starter ring condition of teeth
25. Alternator/generator drive belts condition
26. Cracked cylinder fins and rocker cover leaks (locations)
27. Exhaust system cracks, defects and installation (location)CFR 23.1121
28. Muffler cracks or leaks pressure tested CFR 23.1121
29. Carburetor heat box condition of holes. proper hardware, screws and nuts CFR 23.1121
30. Engine controls safetied and checked for travel AC 43.13-1B para 7-122 thru 127
31. Injection fuel lines checked. Recurring AD at 100 hours CFR 39
32. Fuel bowl leak CFR 23.999
33. Fuel lines condition, movement/clamping CFR 23.993 & AC 43.13-1B para 8-31
34. Carburetor security, throttle arm/ bushings condition
35. Crankcase for cracks, leaks and security of seam bolts
36. Differential compression test, 80psi/60 psi cylinder CFR 43 appendix D & AC 43.13-1B paragraph 8-14 25% difference means problems
37. Vacuum pump lines, clamps, condition
38. Supercharger overall condition
39 Oil filler opening placard CFR 23.1557(c) (2)

Aircraft Records and Owner Responsibilities (6 items)
1. Have the aircraft inspected CFR 91 subpart E
2. Owner SHALL insure appropriate maintenance entries are recorded CFF 91.405(b) & 43.9/11
3. Receive a copy of any form 337 for maintenance performed on aircraft CFR 43 appendix B (a)(2)
4. Work performed by persons authorized CFR 91.405
5. Between inspections discrepancies repaired CFR 91.405
6. Keep records until work is repeated or superseded by other work or for 1 year after the work is performed
CFR 91.4l17(b)(1)

Aircraft Inspection (23 items)
Some of reported items were found on new and low time aircraft that verifies the importance of a thorough pre-flight
--Aileron control cable not over pulley
--Aileron cable improperly installed in bellcrank - cable retaining pin was installed
--Bolts loose on the vertical and horizontal stabilizer fin attachments
--Broken and cracked electrical terminals
--Control cable turnbuckles not sifted
--Flap follow-up cable chafing on brake line
--Foreign items in fuel cells/tanks
--Fuel lines twisted, bent, kinked thus obstructing flow
--Fuel lines chafing due to inadequate clamping
--Incorrect propeller bolts installed
--Jam nuts drilled but no safety wire installed
--Lock clips missing from control cable turnbuckles
--Loose rivets in horizontal stabilizer leading edge
--Main wheel tires do not clear wheel bays
--Numerous drill chuck marks in aft face of pressure bulkhead. Required replacement.
--Oil lines leaking at connections
--Primer line "T" fitting not installed
--Propeller blade retention ferrules under torqued
--Right elevator trim cable wrapped around right primary rudder control cable
--Rivet holes drilled but rivets not installed in several different areas
--Rudder cable bellcrank attachment bolts loose
--Rudder cable bolts fitted upside down
--Unreliable fuel quantity indications

FAR Part 39 airworthiness Directives
39.l (a) An unsafe condition exists

(b) Will exist in similar products
39.3 Aircraft operation prohibited with product

Condition correctable by inspection and replacement. Inspection may be one-time or repetitive. Proof of purchase cannot show compliance. Safety is not cheap but cheaper than an accident. Any aircraft part should be traceable back to point of origin. Counterfeit part resembles original. Suspected Unapproved Part due to finish, size, color, identification, or paperwork. Best detected during receiving state. Check Http://

Require supplier to certify in writing authenticity of parts. Keep packaging. Check for:FAA Form 8130-3 (approval tag)
JAA form One
Records of approval for return to service
FAA TSO markings
FAA PMA symbols

Having a current chart:
Step 5.F.11 on this says "Determine if pertinent and current aeronautical charts are available" It's under the "Applies to all aircraft" portion, not the large and heavy aircraft only portion. So now I have one official FAA document that appears to say carrying non-current charts (or no charts?) will result in a discrepancy.

5. "If a pilot is involved in an enforcement investigation and there is evidence that the use of an out-of-date chart contributed to the condition that brought on the enforcement investigation, then that information could
be used in any enforcement action that might be taken."

Handbook used by FAA ramp inspectors. (General Aviation Operation Inspector's Handbook dealing with Part 91 ramp checks does not contain the word "chart" or "charts."

The Passengers
Passenger Briefing
The door latch works like this to open, and this to latch (demonstrate door) In case of emergency to get out you can also (demonstrate the emergency exit procedure).
--Your seat adjusts like this...
--Here's your seat belt it latches like this and the shoulder strap works like this, just leave it on at all times
and keep it snug until you're ready to get out.
--Once we take the runway, we have to stop talking until we get away from the airport and traffic, after that
all is fine.
--When I hold up my hand, that'll mean someone's trying to call me on the radio and I need to hear them.
--While we're flying I'd like you to keep your eyes open for any traffic and let me know when you see something. (This has 2 effects 1 it gives you an extra set of eyes, and 2 it keeps your passengers from getting airsick).
--If you start to feel sick, let me know right away, the bags are right here.

Passenger Briefing
Welcome aboard [insert pilot's name] Airlines flight 0069 departing [insert airfield] en route, with any luck at all, to [insert destination].

Please make sure your seatbelt is on and that your seat is securely fastened to the fuselage.

At this time, any personal items should be stowed securely in the trunk of your car, since there is no overhead compartment or space beneath your seat, to speak of.

Please turn off all portable electronic devices, and keep them off until we have landed safely, or for the duration of the flight, whichever comes first.

Smoking is not permitted inside the cabin; smoking outside the cabin should be reported to the captain immediately.

There is no beverage service during the flight, however, heavy drinking prior to takeoff is encouraged.

In-flight entertainment will consist of watching my desperate struggle to control the plane.

We'll be flying at an altitude of __[insert altitude]___ feet today, in theory. Should the plane's altitude drop precipitously, please check to ensure that I am awake and in an upright position.

Lavatories are located at either end of the flight.

As we prepare for takeoff, please take this opportunity to locate the exit nearest you and, if you have any sense at all, avail yourself of it before it's too late.

Be assured that in all his time aloft, I HAVE NEVER lost a passenger; however, your results may vary.

Now sit back, relax, and enjoy your flight.

Passenger Briefing Card - Cessna 172
At the airport
--While walking around the airfield, be careful of spinning propellers and jet intakes. If someone yells "Clear!" it means an engine will be starting very soon - as in immediately. Make sure you are well clear of the propeller!
--Treat every propeller as if it could start spinning at any time.

--Use the restroom before getting in the plane. If you must go in flight, let me know well in advance, and we may be able to find an airport to land at in time - even if there is an airport nearby, that process will still take about 20 minutes to land and get to a bathroom. Otherwise, you'll have to use an airsickness bag. (Yuck!).

--You may bring snacks and non-alcoholic drinks on board the plane. Chewing gum can help to relieve discomfort in your ears as we climb and descend. Smoking is not permitted inside or within 50 ft of any aircraft.

Important Safety Information
--If you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask now or during the flight.
-- Please don't talk to me during takeoffs or landings, however, or anytime I put up an index finger, or anytime you hear someone talking on the radio. Those are times that I need to listen to the radio.
--At all times during the flight, don't touch the controls, including the yoke (control wheel), rudder pedals, knobs and buttons. When I use the rudder pedals or the yoke, the rudder pedals and yoke on your side will also move.
--Please be sure you are seated far enough away from the yoke that you don't block its full range of motion, and that your feet stay far enough back that the pedals can move freely.
--Please keep your door and window latched shut at all times, unless I tell you otherwise.
--If the door or window pops open unexpectedly, however, don't worry about it. You will not fall out, and this is not an emergency.
--We can generally open and close the doors or windows in flight without any problem, but if they do not want to shut tight after opening in the air, we can just land at a nearby airport and do it on the ground.

--You are required by law to have your seatbelt and shoulder harness on during taxiing, takeoff, and landing.
--If you have any questions about how the seatbelt works, or how to adjust it, just ask me.
--Loose objects should be secured away safely.
--The airplane will be louder than what you are used to in commercial jets. It will also seem to turn at steeper angles. This is normal.

En route
You should wear the seatbelt and shoulder harness throughout the flight.
--We could hit some turbulence unexpectedly, and it is much safer for everyone if you stay belted in your seat if this happens.
--If we do encounter turbulence, it may feel stronger than what you've experienced in a big jet. It can be uncomfortable, but it's not dangerous.
--An extra pair of eyes to watch for other air traffic always helps. Once we are off the ground, let me know if you see any other airplanes.
--Ear pain can occur as we ascend and descend. It helps if you keep swallowing as we climb and descend. Chewing gum may help. Let me know if you're having a problem.
--If you start to feel queasy tell me right away, look outside the plane, and open the nearest vent to blow air toward your face. There are airsickness bags in the seatbacks if you need them. Don't hesitate!

Decision-Making and Gender
--Males are more likely to make poor decisions
--Females are more likely to make control errors.
--Females are poorer at accidental stall recovery.
--Males are more likely to take unnecessary chances.

The Incompetent Pilot
More often than not the incompetent pilot is oblivious to the obvious. He doesn't know what he doesn't know. Consider, the missed or ignored items of the preflight; the omitted checks during the run-up; the incomplete, or worse, inaccurate radio contact; the absence of required control input to achieve coordinated flight; of flight into airspace without clearance. In my experience, the less a pilot knows the more certain he is of his opinion.

It is not just ability to exercise reasonable control of the airplane that makes the pilot. The complete pilot, even the student, needs to be aware of the total pie that constitutes flying. To do this in the restraints of the training regime is the initial problem. Subsequently, after being certified, the pilot must keep the big flying picture filled with current data. Failure to stay both knowledgeable and current is becoming prohibitively dangerous.

The truism that the way you first learn something stays with you for life applies to flying (and flight instruction). It is therefore imperative that instructors continually update their teaching techniques and knowledge to meet the demands of the changing system. The student who is taught procedures in flying that were acceptable or even standard forty (ten, five, two, one) years ago may be dangerously unsafe today. The radio techniques of forty (ten, five, two, one) years ago are the equivalent of Elizabethan English in today's airspace. The god-like ability of the instructor to perform flying miracles of precision and performance gives a halo to even antiquated instruction. The student with his flying career ahead, can only proceed oblivious to the deficiency of procedure and hazards created thereby. The instructor who perpetuates antiquated operational techniques is condoning criminal activity in today's flight environment. This is most commonly done by teaching 'down' to the student rather than 'up' to proficiency standards. A student will achieve to the teacher's expectations. When the teacher accepts and expects less of the student, the student performs accordingly. Lowering of teaching standards is not in the best interests of the flying student or of aviation. (Think about the watered-down
PTS of recent years.)

While the basics of flying are the same as from "Stick and Rudder" days, aircraft have changed. Flaps are an integral part of the landing procedure. Slips have been relegated to a minor or at best, infrequent role. The massive rudder of yore has been replaced by a marginal adequate rudder, inadequately used. Control forces are often light enough as not to require trim. (Cessna instruction procedure teaches pattern work without the use of trim.) Moderate misuse of the controls goes unnoticed. The nose high, three point landing attitude is a rarity at many airports.

The instincts of the student are often as contradictory, as erroneous. Fear of height opposes fear of hitting the ground. At takeoff, keep the runway in view because we should see where we are going. More speed along the runway gives a better feeling of control. If 60 kts is a safe approach speed, 80 kts is even safer. The nice flat smooth landing is best because it feels so good. That's the way you land a toy airplane. If a moderate bank is safe, than a shallow bank is safer and feels better. The feeling that hills and water, in and of themselves, constitutes flight hazards to be flown around. Since the movement of the trim can be confusing don't bother with the facts of its use. This plane can be flown without using trim. The competent instructor must deal with these and uncounted more. The incompetent instructor often provides fertilizer.

The errors in the previous paragraph often exist in the minds of students. (With unlimited variations.) The instructor must recognize and train or retrain accordingly. It is far better to be taught correctly in the first place. The repair of instructional damage is both difficult and dangerous because of the potential for reversion. This means that, in an emergency, the student may instinctively revert back to the first (learned) instructional procedure no matter how wrong.

Many basic flight deficiencies exist because of the instructor's inability to combat the erroneous instincts and inhibitions of the student. The instructor desires to please and retain a student. This instructional attitude may be fostered by the inherent safety of the modern aircraft. Yet it is this inherent safety that conceals the damage done by inadequate instruction. Even the most docile of aircraft will bite if given the opportunity. The problem lies with the instructor who fails to insist on the safest of all procedures compared to the relative safety of the other options. It's not that there is only one way to operate an airplane. Of the possible options, one way may provide more safety options. Therefore, it is necessary for the instructor to be knowledgeable as to the 'what' and 'why' of these options. Otherwise, we have the blind leading the blind.

Fallacy: The more time spent doing something the better it will be done. Fact: An efficient, organized and checklist mandated preflight is the best accident preventative. The pilot who wanders back and forth about the airplane, in and out of the cockpit, without a checklist will sooner or later abbreviate and give an inadequate preflight. Conclusion: Use a checklist.

Fallacy: If the plane goes fast on takeoff it will give a smoother takeoff. Fact: A takeoff at greater than minimum safe operating speed is wasteful of runway and altitude that may make an emergency landing possible. Taking 10" tires rotate at high speeds are conductive to blowouts and loss of control on the ground. The shock of ground contact at higher speeds is more damaging to the airplane. Conclusion: Get off the ground at the correct speed called minimum controllable. (Remain in ground-effect for best acceleration.)

Fallacy: If I can see over the nose of the plane I am safer. Fact: Any climb at faster than the best rate-of climb-speed increases the distance from the airport without acquiring the altitude needed for a safe return. Conclusion: The initial climb speed should be at the best rate. This may be mandated by local ordinance for noise abatement as at Concord CA. This gets the plane to the highest altitude in the least time and provides an emergency margin not otherwise possible.

Fallacy: When I make maneuvers at high speed, more skill is required. Fact: Maneuvers at high speed may demonstrate skill. The highest degree of flying skill is best demonstrated at slow speeds.

Conclusion: It is more important to acquire skill in slow speed flight. Slow speed flight skill is required for takeoff, landing and emergencies. Most accidents seem to occur where slow-speed flying skills are at a premium.

Fallacy: A landing made from a flat approach, without flaps, 80 knots at ground contact, and a smooth landing is considered a good landing. That's the way I did it as a child with toy planes. Fact: The most accurate landing can be made from a steep approach. The primary purpose of flaps is to make a steep approach possible. Any ground contact with an airplane should be done at as slow a speed as possible. Low speed ground contact greatly reduces lthe severity of shock to the aircraft frame and landing gear. Less shock, less potential damage. The slower the ground contact speed the less likely loss of control on the ground. Slow speed reduces the possibility of "wheelbarrowing', porpoising, or ground looping. Any landing without the yoke full back and nose up increases the probability of being able to see the runway and reduces the probability of a minimum speed landing. Conclusion: The best landing is normally accomplished with maximum allowable flaps, (crosswind limitation) placarded or POH airspeed, partial power until ground contact at minimum controllable speed.

Fallacy: Since the C-150 can be flown without the trim, why bother? The direction to move the trim can be confusing. (You have hold of the tail of the airplane when changing.) Fact: The student should not be just learning to fly the C-150. Instructor should not teach as though flying the C-150 is the ultimate end. The instructor should take the long view and teach skills and procedures that will carry realistically over to complex aircraft. Failure to teach correct and efficient use of the trim is an affront to safety. The engineering design and logical relationship between trim movement and flap setting is essential knowledge. The relationship in conjunction with selected power settings makes for easier, more controlled flying. Conclusion: Failure of the instructor to teach trim movement from the very first flight is a disservice.

Fallacy: (Instructors) There is no need to teach flight efficiency. My time gets their money. Fact: It costs nearly as much to operate an airplane on the ground as in the air. Efficiency in copying the ATIS with the engine running will lead to greater timesaving in the air. The ability to pre-set several engine speeds by sound and finger position both on the ground and in the air will improve efficiency and safety. The student should be trained from the beginning to make any departure or arrival request that will reduce the expense of flying. It is up to the instructor to advise the student if his flight program is either uneconomical or inefficient. Maximum use should be made of departure and return times from practice sessions. Failure of the instructor to include the recognition of checkpoints and departure/arrival routs is a disservice and contributes to inefficiency. Conclusion: The inefficiently trained pilot is the one most likely to have future difficulty, due to air contamination of fuel tanks, radio procedures or checkpoint awareness.

Fallacy: (Instructors) the way I learned years ago is the way it ought to be done. Fact: The accountability of the instructor rests entirely on teaching the safest possible procedures. Safety or relative safety of other procedures should be routinely included. Conclusion: Teach the best, safest and current technique. Demonstrate the relative safety of any others.

Showing Appreciation
March 2005 
In times past the topic related to as how a student can show his appreciation of the flight instructor. Last Saturday I had a student make me (for the first time ever) speechless. This particular student came to me as a drop-in where I fly as a free-lance instructor. He was/is 250 pounds of muscle so together he learned to fly in a C-172 and got his ticket in early 2005. His experience as a senior crewman on merchant ships in years past and presently a civilian boson mate on a 'standby' navy ship at Alameda make his progress go smoothly with nary a hitch. His hobby is/was making and flying radio controlled airplane models. For flying money he catches gophers. (No kidding) at $25 a catch. Anyway, to make a long story longer, late last year I gave him a 40" radio controlled yacht that I had built before 1960. It was radio controlled with a wet-cell battery for power and rubber band escapement for steering. I told him it was to do with as he wished. He invited me to his model club meeting last Saturday to since some time before I had indicated an interest in attending. There were about 60 members many with all kinds of flying experience. One was an American Airlines check pilot. I had brought about 15 CDs of my web site. Not nearly enough. Various club members made presentations and there was a raffle for models, fuel, electronics and such. Then all the members began to display their latest creations. First was a beautiful Vought F4U Then came a variety of creations such as an ultra light model of an actual plane that didn't get off the planning board. Gliders, jets and prototypes dominated the presentations. Near the end Randy got up and uncovered the model boat that I had given him. It was beautiful. He had fiber glassed the hull, installed an RC receiver so that the engine and steering could be controlled. All the navigation lights operated along with steering lights. The boat has outrigger fishing poles with 30# test line but only 1# leaders with hooks. This boat can go fishing. He had hand painted designs and life preservers and named it after my wife Gloria. For the first time in my life I was all choked up and speechless. It had taken him the better part of four months working every day to do this for me. I was overwhelmed. Afterwards we took the boat to my home, picked up my wife, and went to a local golf course to use their pond. The boat moves well but the fishing lines picked up so much plant flotsam that we brought it back in and stored the tackle so the boat could move better. The curious ducks had never seen such a sight. Next trip will be at night with lights. I have a standing policy to get a hat for every certificate that I get a pilot because I remember hats better than I do people. I never cease to wonder how much flying has made my life happier. Thanks for being here to tell this to my internet friends,. 
Gene Whitt

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