Top Letters And Comments, May 26, 2023


FAA Proposes Rule To Remove Instructor Certificate Expiration Date

This proposal has a fatal flaw in it: quoting from the NPRM:

“While the flight instructor would not be applying to renew a certificate, the FAA finds it is necessary to maintain Forms 8710–1 and 8710–11 as the collection mechanism because it would allow the FAA to continue to track the number of flight instructors who are eligible to exercise the privileges of their flight instructor certificates in a manner that flight instructors are accustomed. Additionally, utilizing Forms 8710–1 and 8710–11 would allow the FAA to validate that the flight instructor does, in fact, satisfy the recent experience requirements. Should the FAA find that the flight instructor either does not sufficiently show a recent experience requirement has been met, or does not meet the recent experience requirements, the FAA would deny the applicant’s 8710–1, and direct the appropriate Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) to issue a Letter of Disapproval to the flight instructor.”

In other words: the FAA effectively cancels your certificate if you don’t submit the “renewal” paperwork. So the only real change is: the certificate no longer tells you by when you need to renew. How is that an improvement?

Stefan B.

When I read the headline, I thought “This is a great rule change!”, but after reading more closely it appears that all this will do is give someone who misses the renewal by less than 3 months a bit of a grace period. Much ado about nothing?

We have two lapsed CFIs who would return to flight instruction in a heartbeat (we need them!), but won’t because of the practical test requirement. They are active and proficient pilots. I don’t see that this rule change helps the numerous former CFIs in the same boat.

I’ll continue using the eFIRC method as before.

Seems like typical government work… much smoke, many words, little action. Maybe I’m missing something here?

Bruce S.

All this NPRM does is to take the onus OFF the FAA from having to notify you that your CFI certificate is about to expire. It places that tasking upon the CFI(I) themselves. And if you forget, c’est la vie.

Frank T.

Control Thy Airspeed

This article is an excellent primer except that angle of attack was not mentioned once. Yet AOA encapsulates everything mentioned in the article and more. Why GA pays such little or no attention to angle of attack is puzzling.

Where am I on the power curve? A simple glance at my homemade AOA indicator consisting of a vane with a pointer on a half round scale fastened to the underside of my wing forward of the leading edge tells me everything I need to know about where I am on the power curve. The scale has two markers: stall and Vx. The airplane stalls when the pointer points to the stall marker. When the pointer is pointing at the Vx marker, the airplane is climbing at best angle of climb when at full power. With partial or no power applied while pointing at the Vx marker the airplane is either slow flying or descending at an optimal angle of attack for a short field landing. With the pointer pointing anywhere above the Vx marker, I’m safely ahead of the power curve.

Yes, failure to control airspeed causes accidents, but it’s really failure to control AOA which causes failure to control airspeed related accidents. If AOA was taught on every primary training flight as a basic I’m convinced there would be fewer failure to control airspeed accidents.

Oh, and which airspeed? If you fly the AOA, which airspeed whether calibrated, indicated or true becomes irrelevant knowledge in the moment.

John K.

Poll: If You Had Your Choice In A New (Or Old) Airplane, Would It Be Center Stick, Yoke, Side Stick Or Side Controller?

  • First choice, center stick. Second choice, side controller. Third choice, side stick. Heck, too many choices; just give me one of each.
  • Doesn’t matter how you control it. It’s the plane around it that makes the difference!!
  • Although side stick is least favorite, it wouldn’t matter. It’s more about the pilot adapting to the airplane than the other way around.
  • Really depends on the purpose of the flight. Center stick is great for flying, but its nice to have it out of the way if the autopilot is doing most of the flying.
  • Center stick or yoke – no preference between the two.
  • Bonanza throw-over style.
  • Doesn’t really matter. Whatever the design requires.
  • Zenith Y-stick.
  • The location of the controls is not as important to me as are performance and other considerations. I’ve flown all of these types of controls. For me, all are usable.
  • It would depend on the mission; center stick for aerobatics, yoke for X-C. I have flown side stick but I don’t like the inability to switch hands when needed. Controller? No thanks, I prefer direct control for primary controls.
  • All of the above!
  • Depends. What are we flying? F-16 side stick works well. Small aerobatic machine center stick is good. Boeing 737, 767, 747 happy with a yoke.
  • Centerline stick (between the seats) with a “Y” top, like in Zenith Air kits.
  • I love flying the center stick, but as an older man it is difficult to get in and out.
  • Overall performance of the plane is far more important than how the controls are activated. I’ve had both sick and yoke controlled planes and was happy with both because each plane was so perfectly suited to my type of flying at the time.
  • It depends. Flying for the airlines for almost 40 years, maybe a side stick so I could enjoy my crew meal in civility with a pullout table. Now for flying the jet, a control column with wheel. As for GA, especially aerobatics, center stick… hands down!
  • Any of them, flown them all, don’t care. They’re not what makes the plane fly.
  • Those who want a center stick have not flown a side stick – F-22 was supposed to have center, until eyes were opened.
  • It would depend on what the airplane was used for. Stick for light and maneuverable, yoke for heavier airplane.
  • Depends on type/class of airplane.
  • The old Bonanza throw-over yoke in a brand new V tail with all the bells and whistles glass cockpit.
  • Yoke or side stick. Center stick just makes it harder to get in and out.
  • Dual sticks like God intended!
  • Hip cradle — Orville Wright

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