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Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by SbestCFII, May 23, 2017.
I do not avoid the FAA, but I do deny them my essence.
How do you feel about your precious bodily fluids?
I guess I put the run ins I had with the FAA out of my mind. The first was John Lynch who used to be in the AFS-1. The guy was more exasperating than the most ardent board troll. Fortunately, he's been retired for years now.
The other is the fact that the FAA and DOT IGs will not require the FAA to comply with the law with regard to the privacy act. It will take another federal lawsuit on that one I suspect.
No seriously bad interactions with the FAA, but I never met the "friendly, helpful," FAA representative that others here have seen. The ATC people and weather briefers do a good job, but the time or two I dealt with the FSDO they seemed uninterested in my issue but interested in compliance or enforcement.
As a pilot who grew up in Alaska and was around more than a few off-airport "incidents", I can tell you that the vast majority were never reported to the FAA. If there was no search and rescue involved, it never happened.
Never had a bad one, personally. I've had one GA "ramp check" that was quick and cordial, several FAA jumpseat observation rides with the airlines I've flown for, dealt with FAA Aerospace Medicine for a Special Issuance, and a couple trips to the FSDO for military competency ratings and CFI renewals.
That being said, I have plenty of experience with big government bureaucracies and tin-pot mini-dictators that occupy positions of power within those organizations and want to empire-build and project power.
Unfortunately, when you get caught under the thumb of one of these groups or people (e.g. Hoover medical issue from the 90s), it can be horrific and difficult to fight back for justice.
I did take a swing at Marion Blakey when she was the administrator. She was good natured about it (and has been in our subsequent meetings once she left office).
Was one day out of annual and needed to fly my plane six miles to my A&P. Did the right thing and applied for a ferry permit. FSDO called me three days later and informed me that my JPI Engine Monitor, installed three years previous, wasn't signed (by the IA). I pulled my copy out and informed him that mine was. He told me I had been flying my airplane illegally for three years and that I better not dare fly it before I get a signed copy to OKC. I saw no reason why he needed to go through my OKC records for such a simple ferry permit request and if he had time to do that, we are over-staffing the FAA. IAs are certified by the FAA and the problem was with his IA, yet I was the target of his bullying. Not impressed and I now understand why some might avoid interacting with the FAA, even if it means flying illegally.
Many. Every Wings or Fly-in event with FAA people in attendance, lecturing, teaching, or just conducting Q&A sessions. I've always thought they were professional, courteous, and approachable.
Never had a bad experience with them in the flying world. Work, that's another story.
A pilot who did his checkride with the same DPE as myself fatally crashed, and after some investigation, the FAA decided they wanted to reexamine all pilots who did their checkrides with him around that time. But as it turns out, any pilot who had gotten an additional rating since then (instrument, commercial, etc.) were exempt. So many of us (myself included) decided to go get a seaplane rating.
Anyway, I called the FAA in Atlanta GA and talked to a lady named Ms. Wigglesworth, and she said it would be totally fine if I went and got a seaplane rating and was even willing to wait for me to schedule with a flight school (I went to Jack Brown's Seaplane Base in Winterhavin Florida).
As a chief pilot and a professional pilot, I've had many interactions with the FAA. It has gotten better over the years, but it depends on the individual inspector. Most have been good and I have had a couple of not so good interactions.
Clipped an R area, got a number to call, called it, filed NASA report, got a call from FSDO, exchanged emails, got put on double secret probation of no consequence. Everyone VERY nice and professional with the exception of the initial controller who clearly had an attitude (and the FSDO seemed to realize it as well)
A year after earning my A&P certificate, got a letter from the FAA telling me I had to retest or my certificate would be null and void after a specified date. Designated Mechanic Examiner was playing fast and loose with Spanish speaking applicants with limited English comprehension for the A&P so every mechanic who had ever taken the practical with him had to be retested going back a bunch of years. CYA to the max.
When I called the local FSDO about getting an instrument and advanced ground instructor rating added to my "license" I received a ten minute lecture on the difference between a license and a certificate and as an instructor wannabe, I should have known that to call a certificate a license is a mortal sin and brings into question the legitimacy of all my ratings.
I was mowing the grass alongside our displaced threshold while an FAA safety inspector was looking at the scene of an aircraft accident that had occurred much earlier that day. We had removed the LSA that had botched a takeoff and skidded off the runway but had taken copius photos of everything prior to removing the aircraft to a nearby hangar. The inspector was ****ed that we dared disturb the scene like it was a crime scene or some such. There were no injuries just a busted up airplane closing down our airfield until we moved it. Now, several hours later, he finally gets here and promptly waves me over to tell me the noise I was making by mowing several hundred feet away was disturbing his investigation.
As a counterpoint, I've towed gliders at several airshows and the FAA folks were great.
It's the accountability thing - you get someone who wants to do a good job, has some common sense, and pride in their work, it's probably gonna go well. You get a little Napoleon, or someone who hates the job, or is an azzhat in general, it goes not so well. With no accountability - nothing in the bureaucracy rewards one over the other, and there is zero-to-scant blow-back on jerks.
Yep, we had one FSDO inspector that told a newly minted CFI that if she ever had a student that she thought ought not to be flying to call him and he would (these were his words) "Bob Hoover" him. The guy was roundly regarded as an ass. Too bad. I knew his father well.