Current Submissions

Common Carriage vs. Private Carriage

The following scenario would apply to commercial student applicants.

You’re a commercial pilot (let’s call you Stanley) hanging out at your local FBO. A cheeky looking fellow walks in and looks like he’s in a big hurry. He tells the receptionist that he’s looking for a pilot to fly him to California, and he needs to leave ASAP. The receptionist responds by saying “Well, Stanley’s sitting right over there and he’s a pilot that will fly you there for $300.” Now the man approaches you and tells you what the receptionist told him, and that if you’re available, he’d like to leave soon. Can you make the flight?

Then give the scenario again, only this time, the receptionist tells the man “Well, Stanley is a pilot and he might be able to take you. Why don’t you go ask him?”

These require that the student has knowledge of 14 CFR Part 61 and AC120-12A.

Submitted by ERAU Flight Standards Dept. ( February 23, 2005

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Minimum Equipment Requirements

14 CFR section 91.205 lists the minimum equipment that is required for VFR and IFR flights.  I think it’s great to memorize these lists, but I think it’s even better for pilots to be able to apply this information to a real life scenario.  When was the last time a voice came over
the pilot’s headset and said, “Now you had better recite everything that ‘TOMATO
stands for or this airplane is going to crash”?  I think
memorizing acronyms like this qualifies as “Gee Whiz” information.
A better way to teach and evaluate this important topic is with a ground
scenario like this:

“You’re a private pilot conducting a Part 91 cross-country flight with
your friend as a passenger.  As you are performing the preflight inspection
before returning home, you notice that the left fuel gauge is not working
at all.  You visually check and confirm that both tanks are topped
off.  What are you going to do?”

To accurately work through this scenario, the pilot must understand
topics such as required equipment, operating with inoperative equipment,
and special flight permits (see 14 CFR section 21.197).

Now change the scenario.  Instead of an inoperative fuel gage,
talk about an inoperative landing light or strobe light.  Now the
pilot has more options when applying 14 CFR section 91.213.

Instructors should spend time developing several specific scenarios
related to airworthiness and inoperative equipment.  After teaching
the students how to understand the applicable regulations, let them walk
through the ground scenarios and discuss why they are making the choices
that they are.  I do believe that acronyms have their place in flight
training.  I just think we need to put more emphasis on real life
application.  This is much more effective than spending brain power
memorizing fiery tomatoes.

Submitted by Jim Pitman October 16, 2004

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Creating Ground Scenarios

Ground scenarios include any realistic situation that can be talked about in a ground briefing. The key is to make it realistic. Here’s an example of an unrealistic scenario:

“You’re flying along in the clouds on an instrument flight plan when all of a sudden you lose your entire electrical system and your vacuum system at the same time. What are you going to do?”

This just isn’t realistic. The best way to create realistic ground scenarios is to search the NTSB accident database. Even though it can be argued that many of these reports represent rare situations, you have to admit that they are realistic because, of course, they actually happened. Selected NTSB accident reports are available HERE.

Submitted by Jim Pitman October 13, 2004

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