The Plane Guy IA
I’m from the FAA and I’m here to help you

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the above statement, usually conveyed as a joke. Well believe it or not there really was a time when your friendly FAA Inspector, from the local GADO (General Aviation District Office) was there to help you!

These guys regularly came around to get to know the pilots and mechanics in the areas where they were assigned. They had mostly worked in GA before they went to the FAA and were knowledgeable, friendly and therefore respected. If they found you were doing something improperly they would help to correct you. I don’t think I can remember anyone getting a ‘violation’ for making a mistake. You could, and would call them when you were unsure of an interpretation of a regulation or unsure of a maintenance procedure. They were always happy to help, one way or another.

Then somewhere – I guess around the 80s, the lawyers took over and the old generation of FAA Inspectors went off to the Inspectors graveyard in the sky. The new Inspectors came from God knows where; some had even worked on aircraft, possibly in the Military, but they knew little about GA aircraft, GA pilots, or GA business. And another BIG change – they were no longer here to help you, they were here to WRITE TICKETS.

One of the many strategies I employ to keep my clients safe and legal is to instruct them how to read and understand their aircraft maintenance log books. An example is repeatable Airworthiness Directives. How many aircraft owners are flying an illegal aircraft right now and don’t even know it – surprisingly, plenty! Most pilot/owners understand that ADs are done at the Annual, 100 hour or other inspections. They do not understand that many ADs are repeatable at 25 hour, 50 hour and other times often defined by landings and start cycles. The owner/pilot/operator must correctly track and have these ADs performed in a timely manner or the Aircraft is by definition UNAIRWORTHY. You can probably imagine what the FAA thinks of this, however, if you are unfortunate enough to have some sort of an accident during this period, your insurance company may legally choose to deny the claim! Now, are you going to check your log books today?

And The Beat Goes On

Old Dave can get you Killed

I try not to hang around airports too much anymore – I often leave with indigestion or an Excedrin headache and it’s not from the food…

After a lifetime of flying and maintaining Cubs to Corporate Jets and most of what lies in between, I occasionally think I’ve heard most of the scuttlebutt that is out there. Then I go to the airport…

I suppose it is normal for someone, especially someone who is relatively new to aviation to look up to their new friends who have been around for many years and therefore have ‘done it all’ and/or must ‘know it all.’ I won’t bore you with specifics, but most of you know just what I mean! It usually starts with “Old Dave.” We all know an Old Dave; whatever his name, every airport has at least one. Old Dave has flown every aircraft from a Wright Bros. Flyer to an Airbuss. He has been to about every airport on this or any other continent. Old Dave is the repository of all aviation knowledge from how to do a proper wheel landing in a Cub to the proper way to do autoroatations in a Cobra. Having the honor of a consultation with Old Dave is akin to hob knobbing with an Indian gentleman on the side of a mountain in Nepal.

Well after successfully landing on an Aircraft Carrier, flying in and out of jungle and mountain airstrips, and flying GA aircraft across the pond, I take my flight and maintenance training from Flight Safety, American Airlines Flight Academy and other well known legitimate sources and I STRONGLY suggest that you do the same.

However, remember to be kind and respectful to “Old Dave” – as he deserves nothing less…

And The Beat Goes On