Subscribe: Comments for An Eclectic Mind
Preview: Comments for An Eclectic Mind

Comments for An Eclectic Mind

Web site and blog for Maria Langer, commercial helicopter pilot, freelance writer, beekeeper, and serious amateur photographer.

Last Build Date: Mon, 26 Jun 2017 11:48:56 +0000


Comment on The FAA’s Irrational Application of a Rule by Maria

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 11:48:56 +0000

Well said, Sean. Very well said.

Comment on The FAA’s Irrational Application of a Rule by Sean C.

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 04:57:23 +0000

Still though, while a delay might be welcome, it doesn't address whether or not the installation of such an expensive, heavy, single-function piece of avionics is a worthwhile safety addition to a light aircraft which can't legally be certified to fly in actual IMC. A radar altimeter is a tool with only one useful function, one that could likely be closely duplicated at much lower cost and weight by implementing minor changes to existing modern GPS units which nearly all commercial helicopters will already have installed. Knowing your exact height above ground is an essential tool for precision IFR approaches and is very useful during night operations in limited visibility. Both of these are situations where a VFR-only certified aircraft such as an R-44 doesn't belong, and is unlikely to encounter if being used prudently within its operating certificate limits. In my opinion and experience, this is a typical over-reaction on the part of the FAA and the usual result of their "safety theater" mindset and institutional culture. The actual safety benefit of any new rule or regulation is immaterial as is the unsupportable cost to the operators affected. The only important factor to the FAA bureaucracy is that they will be seen by their superiors and the politicians that fund their agency as having done SOMETHING about a perceived problem. It doesn't matter that it's the most effective thing, or even the wrong thing, they just have to have something to point to when there is any chance of blame from above. This is not to say that all FAA employees are deliberately malicious or ignorant, most of them realize how inappropriate and ineffective this kind of rule making is. It's just that the system that they work within has essentially zero accountability towards the needs and concerns of the operators being regulated, while simultaneously being acutely sensitive and responsive to any form of criticism from higher up within their own structure. The FAA, like any bureaucracy in its normal state of affairs, is like a giant tortoise; slowly bull-dozing its way along, stubborn and hard to divert once it gets an idea as to direction. Like any good turtle it's always primed and ready to yank in the limbs and just hunker down inside its shell for a good long time. It's not going anywhere unless it's sure that it's safe to stick it neck out again. Once it does however, it's right back to bull-dozing right along the same path unless something major affects it. The complaints of individual operators, no matter how valid, hardly register to the giant tortoise. They're like a flock of little birds, they can peck and chirp all they want and the most they'll do is get it to tuck its head in for a while. Nothing they do has any influence as to where the tortoise is heading. This is where organization such as AOPA and HAI serve an essential function, like it or not. Even their limited amount of influence upon the FAA and its often irrational decision making process is better than no influence at all. It's a sad state of affairs that pilots and aircraft owners have to dip into our wallets solely for the purpose of hiring a "fixer" to help protect ourselves from our own over-zealous government, but that's the way things work in DC. Or Oklahoma City, as the case may be.

Comment on Phishing with Amazon. Again. by Xane M.

Sat, 24 Jun 2017 19:17:18 +0000

I checked my spam in Gmail and had the same phishing e-mail. I haven't ordered anything from Amazon in a while, so I knew it was fake immediately.

Comment on The FAA’s Irrational Application of a Rule by Maria

Sat, 24 Jun 2017 11:46:34 +0000

Well, this does explain why so many folks are coming out by. My experiences with HAI have not been positive — up until now. They have been very helpful and seem very concerned about this issue. Admittedly they have other small operators who are members and I would assume that their efforts are mostly to help them. But along the way, they may be helping me and I'm working closely with them when asked to help them. Thanks for letting me know about this.

Comment on The FAA’s Irrational Application of a Rule by Mike

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 23:02:25 +0000

Maria, HAI posted this on their Facebook page this afternoon:

Comment on The FAA’s Irrational Application of a Rule by Karen

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 20:08:34 +0000

Whew! Lots to digest here. I certainly agree that a bad surprise is like an ugly baby -- nobody wants to own it! And although not a part 135 operator, I am a pilot and I have worked in highly regulated industries my entire career, and know that if your business depends on it, you either use industry organizations or you keep current on all the regs yourself. (If you think aviation is bad, try working in nuclear!) Ideally, if your bottom line really depends on operating, you need to do both. Complacency is an error likely condition. So, that this was advanced in 2014 and you just now discovered it, is something you need to own (and you do in your article). Sounds like you have until December to work through a resolution. And it sounds like the FAA and HAI and possibly others are figuring out that they are going to have to make a course adjustment. So what I don't understand is why all the name calling and hostility?? HAI reached out to you when they didn't have to. And it sounds like the poor guy suffered a bit of a beating from you even tho he was trying to do the right thing. As Rather Not indelicately said, you only get as much as you are willing to give. And as much as I don't like regulation, I do see the value. We killed thousands of people every year before the OSHA laws were passed. And I believe that the people in federal agencies mean well; they are not evil little minions awaiting the perfect opportunity to screw you over. Sure, every organization has its wing nuts, but most people are doing their best. Maybe I'm too optimistic. I'm good with that. People make mistakes. I'm sure even you made at least one mistake in your life. If something isn't right, seek to understand and then reach out to others. Get engaged in the process. In other words, stop whining and become a positive, productive member of your industry. Sucks that you got surprised and inconvenienced. Sorry to hear about that. Maybe you should rejoin HAI and get more small operators like yourself engaged in improving the industry. Playing the victim helps no one.

Comment on The FAA’s Irrational Application of a Rule by Zac

Fri, 23 Jun 2017 01:17:28 +0000

If you operate a helicopter under Part 135, the rule 135.160 states you may be granted a Letter of Deviation if you are under 2,950 lbs. This is applicable if there is no Radio Altimeter solution for your particular airframe. When the rule became effective in 2014 the FAA gave operators 3 years to comply with the rule, making the official start date 25 Apr 2017. After the rule was effective, Robinson developed a kit to install the Radio Altimeter in the R44 helicopter. The FAA wanted to be fair, so they wrote A160 OPSPEC to give those operators the same 3 year advantage that others had to comply. So effectively now, R44 operators have until October 24, 2018 to comply with the Radio Altimeter Rule. R44 operators need to contact your FSDO to get your Letter of Deviation. The LoD will expire on Oct 24, 2018 or when you get your Radio Altimeter installed, which ever occurs first. The LoD does not take away the requirement for equipping your R44. It is only a time delay. What you can do for a long term solution is apply for an exemption to 135.160. You will have to detail measures for an equivalent level of safety and explain how it is in the public's best interest for you to be considered for the exemption. It's a long shot but at the moment it's all you have. There are people working very hard to resolve the issue. Unfortunately it takes time in our system to move the needle. If you have questions regarding applicability of the rule you can contact HAI. Maria, because your blog has followers and I feel it's important to get correct information out, I posted this message for those who may be confused or need good information. It's important to me that everyone have a good understanding of the rule.

Comment on Jeeping in the Wenatchee National Forest by Maria Langer

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 12:44:19 +0000

I'm not sure what point you're trying to make here, if indeed you're trying to make one. I blog about places I go and things I see so other people can find out about them. I also write to journalize my life so I can look back and remember things I did years ago. (This blog goes back to 2003, so there's a lot in it that I would have forgotten and a lot not in it that I have forgotten.) Obviously, the road is not "new." So yeah -- I don't get your point.

Comment on Jeeping in the Wenatchee National Forest by Michael Tammy Marciniak

Wed, 21 Jun 2017 04:54:49 +0000

I been down that road so ma y times its not funny. This is not new to tbose that make wenatchee their home town. Some of these are tourist who think they discovered something new.