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ACS status, "For Hire", My Next Book, Podcast, Power Hour Lesson

August 2021

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Latest on the status of the ACS and Airplane Flying Handbook that are in limbo

As some of you may know, almost all of the remaining PTS’s are ready to be replaced with the ACS. Maybe what you didn’t know is there was a challenge to the ACS, among other things, that basically argued that the ACS and handbooks were essentially rulemaking by the FAA. Of course, the FAA can’t do rule making unless it goes through the rule making process which takes a number of years. For example, the FAR that was modified to allow the 10 hours of training to be ok in a TAA airplane instead or combined with a complex or turbine airplane took almost 6 years. The first attempt, which took over two years failed, and the second one finally got into the FAR another four years later. The current Secretary of Transportation has been able to get some things done but not all. The ACS and all of the handbooks that were scheduled for release are definitely in limbo for now. At Airventure last week, I was able to speak with someone close to this topic and was informed that the new Airplane Flying Handbook and a number of ACS’s are ready to go, meaning completely done. We don’t currently have a projected date due to the situation. So, for now for CFI, CFII, MEI you’ll be still tested with the current PTS. We are also looking forward to the new Airplane Flying Handbook that should correct many errors in the current one. All of the ground reference figures are not correct, the figure regarding coordination (Slip and Skid) is confusing, many of the figures in the Multi Engine section are wrong etc. So, I’ll keep you updated. I do have contact info for the person at FAA responsible for the handbooks and will give you an update soon.

Making the Aviation Instructor’s Handbook operational – My next book

So, I was at Oshkosh, WI last week for Airventure. I was helping out at the SAFE booth. ( and I was talking with a person who provided and wrote part of the Aviation Instructor’s Handbook. I said that the handbook is too much for most people to digest. I also said that there are only a few chapters that you feel like you can just use that information right away. If you read that handbook after you have taught for a while it does make sense. As a new CFI it really isn’t that practical because you don’t know what to do with the information. At CFI Bootcamp we spend a lot of time and use a lot of examples to explain a lot of the theory that is in Chapter 3. As I was sitting there, I came across a good idea. I said to that person that the problem with the handbook is that it isn’t operational. Then I said I was going to write a companion book to that shows how to use the information in each chapter. So that is my latest book that I’ll start. I don’t know what to call it yet but that doesn’t matter. It should really make the FOI a lot more useful to new CFIs and CFIs in training.

Latest from the FAA regarding the court ruling that Flight Instruction is “For Hire”

As some of you know, a recent court case between the FAA and a company that did instruction in Warbirds was found in favor of the FAA. The basic argument was that you can’t provide instruction for compensation or hire in an airplane with a limited or special airworthiness certificate and so this operation was operating illegally. The judge in the case sided with the FAA but went on to clarify that providing such flight instruction is “for hire”. This has never been the view of the FAA since the 1940s. Flight instruction was considered teaching and as such was not for hire. This meant that we could provide instruction without a medical, for example, if the person receiving it can be the PIC. We also don’t need a 2nd class medical because it’s not a flight for hire. Basic med or a 3rd class is all we’d ever need to do any kind of instruction. Currently the only way to give instruction in a limited or special airworthiness airplane (experimental or like that) is to complete an online form at the FAA’s website and get a LODA (Letter of deviation authority). It is tied to the airplane you want to teach in, so you need one for every airplane you teach in in those categories. They really don’t like the fact they had to do that. Steve Dickson, the head of the FAA, spoke at Airventure last week and called the LODA a four-letter word but we had no choice. Currently he says that this is not affecting instructors who are teaching in airplanes with standard airworthiness certificates. So basically, all training airplane and also sport aircraft. The risk is still the “for hire” ruling that does apply to all instruction. Currently the only way to fully comply with that ruling is to have a second class medical and to be teaching under a FAR part 121 or 135 certificate. AOPA has two Congress persons in both the House and Senate to introduce a rule that basically makes instruction not for hire. It will pass, however, both houses are in summer recess. In the meantime, we don’t expect FAA to do any kind of enforcement. In fact, he mentioned that he told the FSDOs to not do that. Getting this to change will happen but there is some degree of risk because of the court’s interpretation. FAA legal and others are working on how they can fit that back into “not for hire”. Between the congress and FAA, they will get a solution, but it won’t happen until later this year.

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