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Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Todd Copeland, Feb 28, 2015.
Yeah no joke.
What's good for the gander ...
I don't remember hearing much of anything about 3rd class reform until a few years ago. So things would go back to how they were and everyone would shrug. Old-timers and those unable to qualify would go LSA, or quit. The rest of us would continue with the hassle.
Granted, the market was/is pretty poor, for sellers at least. On the plus side, with prices in the toilet you can pick up any plane you want, cheap. What's wrong with that?
I don't relish the decline of GA, but there it is. I doubt medical reform will slow it much.
I've slowly become convinced that the only way to save GA, and our vast small airport infrastructure, is to bring technology to bear.
In short, we need to make GA more accessible by applying 21st century technology. Flying needs to be made simpler and more reliable, in much the same way that driving has become simpler, more comfortable, and more reliable.
I say this after flying for the past year with a truly 21st century panel in my plane, and enjoying the benefits of its technological sophistication. The danged thing can practically fly itself, and it's made flying MUCH easier and enjoyable. By comparison, my old Pathfinder was a jalopy, and it's all due to electronic advances in the panel.
These remarkable technologies I currently enjoy are just the beginning. In a few years, drone technology will be available that will allow "auto-land" capability for all aircraft. This will change everything.
Heck, my plane can almost do that now. If I slave my TruTrack autopilot to a highway in the sky approach (which my GRT Horizon HXr can create for any runway in North America -- even grass strips) it will fly me right to it. That last 100' will come, soon enough.
At that point, the 3rd class medical will truly be an antiquated thing of the past, and the dream of making flight accessible to the common man can at last come true.
For me, automation takes the fun out of flying.
I flew right seat in a 182T a few months back. It had 2 G1000s. As I put clearance revision after revision after revision into the G1000, I kept muttering that I liked my six-pack better. Way the heck too much button-pushing with the G1000.
Good points, Jay. It's a shame that most planes have to live with dinosaur technology. Wasn't there a thread about a $30k panel upgrade in a 172? The photos looked a little.. well, bland to me, considering the cost. Think about what $30k could do for a home theater, or stereo system, or gaming system, or any other tech arena besides airplanes.
RE: Autonomous landing, "flying cars." The tech could/will be there in short order, much like it is with driverless cars. The problem is that it will only be 99.9% there for awhile, meaning you still need a human "just in case." And that human will still need a pilot's license. Meaning-- no real renewed interest in GA. IMHO.
I'm an optimist, but I don't share your optimism on this. It sounds like the cheery marking from the 50's and 60's, when aviation was going to be for the common man in just a few short years. Land-o-matic and all that good stuff.
Can't imagine why you'd want any of that in that incredible airplane. With that view I''d want my eyes to be anywhere but staring at the panel. If I had a fun airplane like that I'd want little more than a six pack of instruments, and I doubt I'd spend much time looking at them.
Yeah, but we like to fly. His point (or my understanding of it) is that the only way to grow GA activity is to get all that cool stuff in the cockpit. Then people who just care about getting places, and don't like to fly just to fly, could get into it.
Yeah, but we have a much cheaper means of doing that already, and you only pay when you fly. And with seat back entertainment and WIFI onboard, all the gamer/phone people can surf themselves silly while the guys up front drive.
One of many reasons why I don't share Jay's optimism. Small airplanes are for people who really like to fly airplanes and are willing to pay for it, which is a disappearing demographic.
So lower the cost of entry.
Besides the initial cost of a plane (which is huge, btw), what are the other major costs?
Well, training is expensive. I know plenty of people who would like to fly but don't want to since $10K into training. Can't lower that too much, people need the training, and CFIs do actually need to eat.
If I was smart, I should have just bought a plane to do my training in, instead of renting the field's plane. The CFI was only 1/3 the cost of the lesson. Other was the wet rate for the plane.
According to this article, bills with more cosponsors have less chance of passing than bills with none.
Have a read if you like:
The last bill died with the new congress. Elections have a way of disrupting a bills success.
Yes, but they have made commercial flying so very unpleasant that there surely must be a pretty big group of people thinking to themselves "Damn, if only I had a plane and could just GO."
First, you can always turn it off.
However, you won't want to. Until you've got it, you have no idea how seamlessly all that great stuff works it's way into every flight.
Just one example: Synthetic vision. People say "What does a VFR pilot need SV for?", and I'm here to tell you that I use it on every, single flight.
The danged thing floats a "balloon" over your destination airport. When you're flying toward an unfamiliar field, or in sub-par visibility, it sure is nice to glance down at an enormous screen and see that balloon floating over where you THINK the airport might be!
That's just one, tiny little subset of what glass gets you. It makes every flight easier and safer, and IMHO if we want to grow GA into the video game generation, we are going to need to incorporate this technology into our aircraft.
But "cool stuff in the cockpit" = higher cost to fly. It also raises the intimidation factor, creating even more "oh, I could never do that."
If you want to grow GA activity, them the answer is getting more people flying. That's hard enough now when a cool new whiz bang airplane is 100-150k, people hear that and check out. Even getting a LSA under 100k is difficult. More stuff in airplanes isn't the answer unless the question is "how do we put flying more out of reach".
If you want more pilots then we need outreach. We need more "yes, YOU can fly" things, then follow it up with more opportunity to fly. If flying was $10/hr, we would have a ton of pilots, I don't think anyone disagrees with that. Now I know that price is unrealistic, but doesn't it say that price is a major issue? Pimping the cockpit isn't the answer.
I don't think he does it for the money. What he charges probably barely covers his costs.
He retired from his full time practice because of the paperwork nightmare and liability issues caused by the onrushing freight train known as Obamacare.
Repeating this false charge ad infinitum will not make it true. Give it a rest.
Other doctors seem to have survived. Like I said I don't know his reasons, but we do know that he currently has an aeromedical practice and (presumably) makes money from doing pilot medicals. Nothing wrong with that at all, but a strong motivator to resist abolition.
Defending it ad infinitum will not make it untrue.
These days Dr Bruce only posts on this board as 'anonymous' so we will never really know what he thinks about it.
Bruce's practice, as anyone can see from his web site, is devoted to the difficult medical certification case. The people most in need of his help are professional pilots who need their medicals to earn their living. These are the class 1 and 2 guys. The loss of a few class 3 clients is hardly likely to affect his income one way or the other. Do you really think that he has not provided for his retirement over his lucrative years of private, non-FAA practice, do you realize he no doubt has a helpful military pension for his years of dedicated service? He isn't doing it for the money.
Your continual harping on Bruce Chien betrays a personal vendetta and attack that has no place on POA or anywhere else. Your banning on the red board was completely justified and probably needs permanence.
I do not have, nor do I wish to have any knowledge at all of the good doctor's personal finances. I am sure that in the years when he was able to make a very good living from his vocation he did so and, by his own admission, when Obamacare threatened that lucrative income he decided to work in a different area of medicine.
The red board is largely an irrelevance. At the time of writing this the red board has a total of 44 participants, this board has around 1000. Dr Chien has the backing of AOPA to ban anyone he likes who upsets him on the Medical Forum. Here he does not enjoy that privilege so he claims not to visit here and only posts anonymously.
I actually don't have a vendetta against him, I think he does a great job in his paid practice where he helps people obtain difficult certifications. I just sometimes wish he could put the God complex aside and act like a mere mortal who when challenged could argue the point instead of throwing a tantrum or (where he has the authority) implementing a ban.
In the past we have had some quite good discussions. Sometimes he was right, sometimes I was and sometimes we just couldn't agree. Lately even the slightest disagreement leads to threats of suspension. Maybe he is under some sort of pressure that we don't know about, but I am not the only one who has noticed it.
As a psychologist I find him a very interesting guy. It is difficult to analyze someone over the internet but that doesn't stop me forming opinions which, mostly I keep to myself.
looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck... it's probably a duck.
Too bad you only know him from his online persona. In real life, he's quite capable of arguing the point in a reasoned way. In fact, he's quite a charming, likeable guy in person. As others have said, there's a Jekyll/Hyde duality there that's hard to fathom. I don't know him well enough in person to say for sure that his "Hyde" side doesn't come out there from time to time, but so far the only setting where I've seen it is online, and particularly in the RB medical forum. And he's far from the only person I know who comes across totally differently online vs in person. You're the psychologist, Stephen, have there been any studies of this phenomenon? I'd be astonished if there haven't.
This would be a fascinating study.
I have the unique perspective of meeting a lot of people in-person whom I have first met on-line, through the hotel. Most people are very similar to their on-line personas, but -- every now and then -- I meet one who is WAY different. Like, unrecognizable. Like, I go back and read their posts and try to figure out if they are really them different.
I hope that's the way B.C. is.
I practice medicine and I am a CFII and I see both sides. Basically, the push here it to remove any medical oversight for pilots flying non-commercially. It's got advantages for those with medical issues, or potential medical issues, that don't want to lose their flying privileges, but there are disadvantages too. I understand the supporters because, now approaching my mid-50's, I don't want to get in a situation were I couldn't fly, but on the downside, people being what they are, hide much of their real medical history from the AMEs and self-certification has been an abysmal failure. The standard of having a drivers license is ridiculous. I see patients with Alzheimer's that have valid drivers license, people with uncontrolled seizure disorders, psychiatric issues and uncontrolled diabetes....same thing. The current proposal would allow non-commercial VFR and IFR ops, in airplanes up to 6000# and six seats, to be operated by pilots without a medical certificate and frankly, that's too risky. I've been researching accident statistics for the past 5 year period and the number of fatal accidents that are contributed to by medical issues or medications that pilots shouldn't be taking is not insignificant. I read one where the pilot took off IFR, his medical expired 2 years prior and he crashed and killed himself and a couple of other hapless people that I am sure never realized that he shouldn't have been flying. Another was flying on an anti-depressant, a muscle relaxer and a controlled pain medication, crashed, killing himself and passengers. There needs to be a check and balance, even if it's your own PCP signing off on a form listing disqualifying conditions and medications that you have to keep in your possession. Letting people fly 6 people around in a 3 ton aircraft in IFR is a less than ideal situation. Congress will do whatever gets them re-election money and support...whether it makes sense of not. There it is, but unlike a whole lot of pilots, when I think I would be unsafe to fly, I'll sell the plane. If I don't have a medical condition that affects my judgment, but then who would know? See?
Bet if you met him you'd like him more. Same with Ed, Me, and probably a bunch of others - There's so much context missing in an internet post that it's probably a lie to call it communicating.
Point to one of these "anonymous" posts.
I suffer gout, or at least I used to before I became medicated for it. I now need a good three or four pages of medical analyses for a condition that is well under control and never did more than make my big toe hurt. OK, it hurt a lot, but so what? It wasn't debilitating in any way so long as I wasn't going on big hikes.
My airplane weighs way less than your average SUV and goes at similar speeds. It has roughly the same impact energy as most cars on the road. Why should I require extra medical scrutiny?
Actually, we don't know what's been proposed by the FAA. It is still awaiting comment by the DOT.
I tis also the same as the number suffered by glider pilots and sport pilots, who operate without FAA sanctioned medical examination. Further proof that the third class medical is utterly useless.
Lots of medically fit pilots have suffered spatial disorientation in the soup. To a hammer everything looks like a nail.
And medical evaluation failed to stop him. So how is it better again?
Again, why? Kinetic energies are similar between light aircraft and heavy cars. Why does one require extra medical scrutiny? Indeed, the chances of taking out someone on the ground in a car are far higher than in an airplane, since you're surrounded by other cars nearly constantly. When I fly its usually over unpopulated fields.
I know...everyone has their own point of view. In keeping with human nature, most don't consider the other side of the coin, only what they want. As far as the proposal, these tidbits came from the AOPA website. I wouldn't think that gout would affect anyone's ability to fly...though an acute episode would be inconvenient. The people on the dangerous meds can't be stopped because they won't report this to the AME. If anything, the best would be the PCP option. Who better to know your relatively fit, what medications you take, etc. The Third class medical was never really effective. There are real dangers, but like I said...people are people. Everyone thinks they're the exception, or that it won't happen to them. They're not and eventually it could. That's reality. Sport and light GA aircraft do have limited damage potential to be sure, but Sport privileges limit the risk to others by restricting the number of passengers...recreational privileges by the same standard...OK, 1 passenger, non-complex, non-high performance, day VFR only...that would be lower risk too. However there needs to be something. In 5 years about 3.3% of fatal accidents were categorized as medically related. It would be nice to reduce those. Obviously the FAA 3rd class doesn't work, but I sure that there could be some process that might catch some of these without disenfranchising some pilots that should otherwise be fit to fly.
But then you create a strong incentive not to inform your PCP of your medical problems, since those problems would then be reported to the FAA. As a result, pilots will be tempted to endanger their health by withholding such information, also increasing their risk of in-flight incapacitation (compared to getting proper treatment).
One might not be too anxious to stomp on the right rudder...
You say truth there.
Why? What we have already, which is expensive and cumbersome, is utterly ineffective. But as it is medical incapacitation runs just behind midair collisions as accident causes. This isn't a matter of hundreds of airplanes raining from the sky.
During the same time there were ten fold more accidents from other causes being addressed by no one. Look, I'm all for safety, but lets work on the things that cause lots of grief, and not outliers that mostly don't.
Moreover, I can point to instances where the third class medical reduces safety. If I knew then what I know now I would have never been medicated for the gout and probably would have remained mum. I'd have rather gone through the pain than suffer what I have to from the FAA. Does that make me a safer pilot?
Oh, and because of said gout (or more the FAA's reaction to it) I haven't flown for months. Does that somehow make me a safer pilot?
Like I said, to a hammer everything seems like a nail. I've talked to taildragger pilots who think flying the things makes one a safer pilot. Since the majority of accidents are caused by wx and running out of gas (last time I looked) I fail to see how flying a taildragger is going to accomplish this. That said they really do look like a hoot.
Really, this whole debate can be summed up in this one, simple sentence. Thank you, Dr. Steingar.
Unfortunately, the guys swinging the hammers (AKA: AMEs) have the power of law and an economic incentive. This makes change -- even when it makes good sense -- unlikely.
All we can do is wait, and keep tickling our Congressfolk.
I've met Ed. I still don't like him.
Got my second one today.. Both Senators have chimed in.. Only got my rep (LUMMIS) left...
As a former member of the Wyoming Air National Guard and a former pilot, I understand the importance of general aviation to Wyoming. I cosponsored the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act in the last Congress. I support revising the medical certification regulations for private pilots so that they make better sense. I am also continuing to study the Pilots Bill of Rights 2 and believe that there are several good ideas in this legislation that would benefit the general aviation community. I will keep your thoughts on these issues in mind when the Senate considers aviation issues.
Thank you for contacting me, I rely on the ideas and suggestions of the people of Wyoming.
Michael B. Enzi
United States Senator
You are using examples of stupid people doing stupid things to justify the medical. Note that these situation exist whether the medical is required or not. People will always do stupid things, you can't regulate it and you can't prevent it. You won't convince me that you even reduce these instances by requiring everyone to go the the FAA medical hoops. It's just more government regulation that fails to do what it is supposed to.
Yes, but at least the good folks from the government can say they tried all they could do to the constituents that crave protection for all things ugly in the universe.
One of the problems with the 3rd class medical or any other "protective" measure is the eliement of common sense. Society has become so pedantic that we are willing to take draconian measures to go after that last 1% of risk. Many of the hot button political topics are of a nature that suggests ANY risk is too much. I believe this stems from our unwillingness to accept the random nature of life, which can never be fully satisfied even if we put people in plastic safety bubbles. The best answer I can think of is for our leaders to quit pandering to every call for increased safety and start talking about balance and common sense. From that stance we could begin to eliminate useless things like the 3rd class medical.
Way too many people can't understand the concept of acceptable risk and are unable to grasp the fact that zero risk is not realistic.
Finally recieved my first response:
Thank you for contacting me to express your support for the Pilot's Bill of Rights 2. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on this important matter.
Let me begin by stating that as a retired naval flight officer, I understand well the positive impacts aviation has had on our nation. The general aviation industry contributes over $150 billion annually to our economy and employs over 1.2 million people throughout the country. Moreover, general aviation is one of the few remaining U.S. manufacturing industries that provide a trade surplus that nearly totals $12 billion in value. The industry provides vital services to doctors, veterinarians, businesses, and small and rural communities.
As you mentioned, on February 25, 2015, Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) introduced S.571, the Pilot's Bill of Rights 2. Among other provisions, this legislation would expand the third-class medical exemption for recreational pilots and limit Customs and Border Patrol stops and searches of general aviation aircraft. S.571 is currently pending in the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Should I have the opportunity to consider this legislation before the full Senate, I will keep your views in mind.
With that being said, I believe the Federal Aviation Administration should practice due diligence when determining the necessary medical certifications for general aviation pilots. The primary concern of FAA should be to ensure the safety of pilots and passengers. As you may know, on April 2, 2014, FAA released a statement announcing the beginning of a rulemaking project that will consider allowing private pilots to substitute a driver's license in lieu of an FAA medical certificate. To follow the rulemaking process, I urge you to visit the following website:
Let me assure you that as the FAA rulemaking process continues, I will continue to monitor this issue closely. Thank you again for contacting me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future about other matters of importance to you.
With best personal regards, I am,
United States Senator
To send another message please visit my website at http://carper.senate.gov/contact and fill out the webform for a prompt response. Thank you.
Please do not respond to this email.
I don't understand how anyone could go from 3.3% to "there needs to be something."
I guess you could argue that the number would be higher without the current 3rd class medical system.
Or.... How about we attack the other 96.7% of accidents that aren't medically related?