LSA hood operations

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jnmeade
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LSA hood operations

Postby jnmeade » Fri Jun 01, 2012 11:19 pm

There is a lively discussion in the AOPA forum about hood flying.
1. We know that SP students of LSA over 87Vh must have some instrument isntruction before the solo, per FAR.
2. CFI-SP are not required to have a medical.
3. 91-109 says you have to have a PP to be safety pilot
4. The implication is that a CFI-SP must have a PP & medical (or maybe a SP & medical) to sign off the instruction.
5. 61.23(c) confuses the issue.

A. Can an SP fly as safety pilot for another SP in an LSA?
B. Can a CFI-SP give and log instrument instruction (not training) as required for the solo in fast LSA?
C. Does a PP need a medical to act as safety pilot in an LSA (91-109 & 61-23(c))

This gets quite confusing. To me, it seems consistent that an SP can be safety pilot for an SP in an LSA - s/he can be PIC, so why not? Likewise, it seems consistent that a CFI-SP be able to give and log instrument instruction in an LSA.

But, what makes sense to me (and you) is not the issue. The question is of specific interpretation of the seemingly contradictory regs. I've asked a friend who is going to query OK City, but in the meantime, does anyone out there have a written document reference or interpretation that will clear up the regs?

Jack Tyler
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Postby Jack Tyler » Sat Jun 02, 2012 5:54 am

Here is this week's AOPA ePilot answer to the Q:

"Question: I am a private pilot without an FAA medical certificate and have transitioned to flying light sport aircraft under sport pilot rules. If another pilot is flying my LSA under the hood in conditions that satisfy sport pilot limitations, may I serve as safety pilot?


Answer: FAR 91.109 details the requirements for simulated instrument flight, during which the FAA has determined that the safety pilot is a required crewmember because of the task of avoiding other traffic. According to 91.109, a safety pilot needs to hold at least a private pilot certificate with appropriate category and class ratings. Then, as a required crewmember the pilot needs to hold a medical certificate under Part 61.3(c)1, which states that to serve as a required flight crewmember the pilot must hold a valid medical certificate. Therefore, even though you are operating under sport pilot regulations, simulated instrument flight would still require the safety pilot to hold both a private pilot and a medical certificate."
Jack
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drseti
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Postby drseti » Sat Jun 02, 2012 8:34 am

Jack, I too read that AOPA response, and I take issue with it. First off, it's AOPA's opinion, not an FAA legal interpretation (they've been at odds with FAA before). Next, when I give instruction to a student pilot (whether I have a medical certificate or not), I'm PIC. When I fly an LSA solo, without a medical, I'm obviously also PIC. That makes me a required crewmember, doesn't it? So stating that a required crewmember must have a medical is of course wrong. Now, if I'm instructing (legally) and PIC, why should it change anything if the student is looking, or hooded, or blind? I'm still flying my plane as PIC, even if the Seeing Eye dog is holding the stick!

The problem is, that too is just my opinion, no more valid than AOPA's. But I have no intention of asking FAA for a letter of interpretation. One should never do that unless you're sure the answer is going to be the one you want.
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jnmeade
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Postby jnmeade » Sat Jun 02, 2012 10:12 am

Paul,
Since the AOPA opinion is not the one you want, and since it seems contrary to the consistency and logic of the rest of the FARs re SP operations, why not ask OK City for a review?
If they agree with AOPA, you haven't lost anything.
If they disagree with AOPA and rule as you suggest, you gain.

61-23(c) (iii) Exercising the privileges of a flight instructor certificate with a sport pilot rating while acting as pilot in command or serving as a required flight crewmember of a light-sport aircraft other than a glider or balloon; or

So, a CFI-SP can be a required crew member, right? He can give instrument instruction (not training) as CFI-SP and that would to me include view limiting the student pilot. In fact, to prepare the student for solo cross country (faster than 87 Vh) he MUST give instrument instruction.

The flight examiner can use a DL. The PTS does not specifically call for hood work, but the "lost" procedures don't preclude view limiting the candidate to see if they can locate themselves without reference to the ground.

I think 91-109 is out of step with the SP movement and wouldn't be afraid to ask FAA for a rewrite giving SP & DL the safety pilot rights in LSA.

After all, if we have to train for this instrument proficiency, we should be expected to maintain proficiency and that means practice, not necessarily re-instructing. IE, as safety pilot not a CFI.

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drseti
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Postby drseti » Wed Jun 06, 2012 11:22 am

jnmeade wrote:why not ask OK City for a review?
If they agree with AOPA, you haven't lost anything.


Actually, if they agree with AOPA, you can lose a great deal. Right now, AOPA's opinion is just that -- an opinion, with which I am (legally) free to disagree. The minute FAA Legal issues a Letter of Interpretation, it becomes administrative law, and binding precedent. So, "don't ask, don't ask" seems the most prudent policy here. Kind of like my decision not to apply for a Special Issuance medical, but rather to just let my medical lapse -- asking and getting the wrong answer can have disastrous consequences.
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
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jnmeade
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Postby jnmeade » Sun Jun 10, 2012 12:02 pm

Paul,
The discomfort I have with your position is that you seem to be saying that if there is room for a reasonable difference in interpretation of an FAR, that the FAA will not violate you until after they settle the difference of opinion.

Is that what you are saying? I am not a lawyer, but that approach seems to me to be fraught with peril, as all the FAA has to say is "you're wrong" and they can violate you all they want.

I don't agree that your simile of the medical is apropos. The medical business is very clear. In my opinion (there is that word again) you could say well, 61-23 and 61-413 let me instruct in instruments with the student under the hood, while some FSDO guy could say - wrong, you violate 91-109.

What I think is happening is some of us are betting/hoping the question will never be asked by a DPE - who gave you the instrument instruction and then following up on the qualification of the instructor.

Help me out here.

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drseti
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Postby drseti » Sun Jun 10, 2012 12:18 pm

jnmeade wrote:I am not a lawyer,


Nor am I.

all the FAA has to say is "you're wrong" and they can violate you all they want.


In areas where the FARs are unclear or contradictory, history shows that the FAA is not likely to violate somebody absent a Letter of Interpretation from FAA Legal Dep't. Once an LOI is issued, it then becomes case law, and they can (and do) take enforcement action for violations that occurred after the LOI was issued. This is not a legal interpretation, but rather an observation of what they've done in the past. This is why I would encourage the "don't ask, don't ask" policy.

FSDO guy could say - wrong, you violate 91-109.


Well, of course, a FSDO guy could say that, but in areas as unclear as this, they won't. They'll ask FAA Legal for an interpretation. It could go either way, since 91.109 contains not one word about either visibility restricting devices or medical certificates, nor does it use the words "required crewmember." Read it again (I just did) -- it requires dual controls or dual rudders and a throwover yoke, requires that the flight instructor be able to serve as PIC if a throwover yoke is used, requires both the instructor and the PIC to determine that the flight can be conducted safely, and requires that a safety pilot be PP or above with appropriate category and class ratings. Period.

some of us are betting/hoping the question will never be asked by a DPE


Well, has any DPE raised the question yet? Not to my knowledge. So far, so good...
The opinions posted are those of one CFI, and do not necessarily represent the FAA or its lawyers.
Prof H Paul Shuch
PhD CFII DPE LSRM-A/GL/WS/PPC iRMT
AvSport LLC, KLHV
fly@AvSport.org
AvSport.org
facebook.com/SportFlying
SportPilotExaminer.US

jnmeade
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Postby jnmeade » Sun Jun 10, 2012 12:39 pm

This discussion is winding around a little bit.

I think you have a reasonable case when it comes to the instructor. 61-23 is on your side. 61-413 and 415 are on your side. I would not be uncomfortable giving instrument instruction to an SP student or pilot who is under the hood.

The AOPA response to the question of whether one SP can be safety pilot to another SP is grounded in specific FAR references. It is not consistent with some SP wording, but it is very specific on the topic of safety pilot.

This raises the question to me of whether one needs to be consistent between the two above notions. For private and above, the FARs are very consistent.

You are quoting selected parts of 91-109. Ignore the stuff about throw-over yokes and go down to (c) where it says what a pilot has to have to fly under the hood. The medical for the required crewmember is well established and totally consistent except for SP.

What I'd like to see done is for 91-109 to be rewritten so that anone who can be PIC in an LSA can be safety pilot in an LSA so long as the safety pilot does not exceed his limitations. That is, if my private pilot friend flies my LSA, wears the hood and flies approaches, I can be safety pilot for him - but not at night, over 10,000/2,000, etc. I can only be safety pilot where I can be PIC.

Well, that would take a reg rewrite, but I think it is essential to clarify the SA safety pilot issue.

The instructor/hood issue I could gloss over but it would help that situation if 91-109 were clarified and expanded for SP.


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