Like many people, when I got my initial certificate I used my social security number as my airman id. Only in the last few years has it really sunk in just how little one should use that for any purpose so when I got an email from my flying club today containing a link at which I could change it, I went straight there. My new certificate will be in the mail shortly with a shiny new identification number. If you want to do the same, and you probably should, try this link at the FAA website.
I went out last Monday and bought the Gleim Commercial Pilot Written Exam CD; I do currently possess a written exam pass but it expires in February and there’s no way I will get up to scratch in time for a checkride that early. So I shall study some more and retake the test.
But then Tuesday, somewhat out of the blue, I got laid off. The circumstances of that event can be the subject of a rant on my main site but suffice to say that I won’t be doing much flying at all until I am re-employed. Still, it does give me plenty of time to re-read the books.
I am sure everyone remembers the furor last spring when a plane not only strayed into the ADIZ around Washington DC area but also into the FRZ over the capitol building itself. The media had a field day over it, the PIC of the flight had his licence revoked, and pilots everywhere shook their head in amazement that anyone could be so clueless.
Well, AOPA published an interview with the two ocupants of that flight in their magazine and online http://www.aopa.org/members/files/pilot/2006/flight0601.html (AOPA membership required) and frankly I was amazed at the tone of the article. Rather than portray the flight as careless (or clueless), they try to convince us that it was a simple chain of small mistakes. The student pilot involved does his best to say he had nothing to do with it – what kind of pilot will he make where he cares not about the actions of the PIC? He also says this has convinced him never to fly without a handheld GPS – no, it should convince you to fly using pilotage and the navigational aids certified for use in your craft. Handheld GPS’ are great, I use mine all the time, but it is a backup not an ‘essential’.
I am surprised that AOPA chose this tact, it looks too much like protecting our own rather than exposing the ugliness for all to examine and learn from. ADIZ incursions are 50 a day, air space will only get further restricted if this continues. By saying these are simple mistakes does the rest of us an injustice and only hurts future general aviation. I’d rather see more consequences and people make more of an effort to keep it legal.
In futre I suggest they use TFR Check
Two Christmas presents I received from my family were UK aviation-related: a chart of the southern England airspace, and a handbook containing runway diagrams and airport information for every UK airport. They were both fascinating reading but one thought struck me right away: I didn’t understand a thing I read! Loads of acronyms in replace of our Class D, C etc, and other air space designations I didn’t recognise. It all looked very difficult to get from A to B. I would definitely a comprehensive ground session before getting near any British cockpit as PIC. I had always been under the impression that what we used here were ICAO standard terms but there is obviously more than what I thought I knew.
My Dad has said that next time I visit home he might treat me to a pleasure flight with an instructor, would be fascinating to do.