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Six years in, pilots still don't get it

Posted: Mon Oct 10, 2011 8:06 am
by drseti
In the interest of stimulating Sport Pilot awareness (not to mention generating business for my flight school), I have been sending periodic Press Releases to the local media, as well as members of the local pilot's association. These are all available in my online Press Kit at, should anyone be interested.

Last night, one of the local flyers sent this response to my latest Press Release:

I think becoming a recreational pilot is a waste of time stop sending the press releases thank you.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless Phone

Lack of punctuation notwithstanding, it's clear pilots still don't get it. Nowhere in this, or any other, of my press releases did I use the term Recreational Pilot. I very clearly mentioned, and continue to promote, Sport Pilot training. And yet...

So, how do we get the word out that SP is not the same as Rec? Of course, I respected the wishes of this pilot, and removed him immediately from my distribution list. But, why do people continue to think that what we do is a waste of time? (Waste of money, now that I could agree to... :wink: )

Safe skies,

Posted: Mon Oct 10, 2011 8:56 am
by Jim Stewart
When I took my PP checkride in my CTSW, the examiner kept referring to it as an experimental.

LSA for Dummies

Posted: Mon Oct 10, 2011 9:17 am
by roger lee
Hi Paul,

It's like the old saying goes: You can lead a horse to water, but can't make him drink.
Some people are just dense and that tends to be their mind set in life in general. So don't worry about the few mentally challenged. The people who want to know will seek out the knowledge and some of the people like the new information we all provide and then they will follow the trail.

People like the guy that sent you the text you probably wouldn't like as a student anyway.

Like doing triage in a disaster. The medic tags and helps those he can save and the rest that are too far gone well they're on their way someplace else anyway.

Save the ones you can!

Posted: Mon Oct 10, 2011 10:45 am
by drseti
Triage is certainly an apt analogy, Roger. Thanks.

SP rules

Posted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 5:58 pm
by saintlfd
At a recent AOPA gathering I was seated at a table with a couple of long-time pilots (30+ years each). One of them was with the FSDO in OKC.

In the course of conversation they asked why I was in SP training and not going for the PP cert. I mentioned the lower cost and said SP could be a step toward the PP if, in fact, I enjoy flying as much as I expect to. Then I mentioned that I have medical issues for which I could probably get a special issuance but, as a beginner, I might as well take the SP route and avoid the battle.

Well, both of these gentlemen told me that my knowing I have a condition that would cause me to fail the 3rd class medical would prevent my flying as SP. I pointed out that I do not know any such thing and, actually, that is not what the reg says. They were adamant that it does too say that and I was being irresponsible and damaging the aviation community.

I think I'll stay within the circle of SP flyers. They actually make me feel welcome.

Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 5:12 am
by Jack Tyler
Dave, I'm sorry to hear you had that encounter...but unfortunately it does make you a member of a very large club. From what I've seen, it isn't that the FSDO guys/gals intentionally want to rain on someone's parade. I think in most cases when this happens, it's a combination of things. First, they suffer - as can anyone in a position of authority + responsibility - from a bit of Expertitis. They 'know what they know', don't know what they don't know, and it's their role to represent the rules as they understand them. I think it's pretty normal in FSDO offices for each person to end up becoming 'the expert' on a slice of the FARs, and given the range of issues and the breadth of the FARs that probably is appropriate. The problem, of course, is when there's a mismatch between their expertise and the subject matter.

In a group of 4 SE Florida FSDO guys not long ago, I started asking Q's about equipment requirements for flying an Experimental under instrument rules. Initially, their tendency was to give me the standard answers (as they apply to Part 23 a/c). When I began to disagree, they backed off and admitted that 'Joe' was actually the guy in their group that 'knew most' about Experimentals and could I come back in a few minutes. Sure enough, when I talked with Joe, he confirmed my understanding of the rules. You can find many similar stories from other pilots (they abound on VAF, an RV Experimental forum where the issues can be quite esoteric) where the a/c owner walks into the office and the 'on call' FSDO employee simply is not the 'expert' for their subject. I'll bet Paul has a raft of such stories, including some of his own, given his tenure in GA.

Unfortunately, I think there remains a lot of IMC surrounding the "driver's license medical" as it applies to the SP license. And especially for a FSDO crowd, where medical issues are just not their charter.

We don't know what we don't know until we know it.

Posted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 9:51 am
by saintlfd
Thanks, Jack. I have learned that aviation is much like other human endeavors: no one is perfect. If I were a young, naive student pilot I might really get put off by some of the things I have witnessed and experienced. Instead, I get philosophical--it is what it is. I have to pay my dues and earn my wings. Then I get to be a faux expert, right?

Posted: Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:42 pm
by langj
Yeah, the owner of the school I am at did not have nice words to say about sport pilot. He seemed very frustrated about the whole thing and then got real quiet. I think he remembered thats why I was at his school to get my sport pilot license. To me the attractiveness is the the cost and being able to get into the air on my own quicker. I don't want to put my whole family on a plane with such limited experience. When I rack up lots of hours maybe I will move up to ppl. The sport licence fits many people that why its nice. I am young at this time I can easily meet the health requirements. Many view sport as a bunch of heart attacks waiting to happen.

Posted: Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:56 pm
by drseti
langj wrote:Many view sport as a bunch of heart attacks waiting to happen.

I know that's the prevalent view, but it's really totally backwards. Those of us old farts who have a history of cardiovascular disease were certainly more dangerous when we had FAA medicals, and were undiagnosed, thus untreated. The minute you get treated, you are no longer at risk, but of course getting healthy costs you your medical certificate! Does this make any sense?