Re-Thinking Risk Assessment

Robert Chapin
2016-12-24T12:51:16+00:00

Assessing Risk, image from Risk Management HandbookThe best tool available for pilots to quantify overall flight risk is the form found in the FAA’s Personal and Weather Risk Assessment Guide.  However, that form is more than 10 years old and needs many improvements.  It is based on the “PAVE” method or checklist, and enables a pilot to assign a predetermined point value to each area of risk.  This helps to minimize subjectivity and encourages detailed preflight planning.  Using this process in connection with Aeronautical Decision Making is a great idea, but I want to illustrate several ways to make it more complete and hopefully more accurate.

PDF Icon Flight Assessment Form Download (29 KB)

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1 Feb 2015

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R-ATP Denied at Baylor University

Robert Chapin
2018-08-04T14:13:27+00:00

Letter of denial from the FAA to Baylor University.Part 141 flight training graduates have been denied participation in the R-ATP program again, this time at Baylor University.  In its recent denial letter, the FAA explained that even though Baylor’s students are enrolled in an aviation degree program with part 141 ground and flight training, the lack of a ground training certificate in the university’s name prevents the graduates from qualifying under the new regulations.

The FAA reviewed the description that Baylor provided of its arrangement with TSTC for the ground and flight training of students enrolled in its Aviation Science Bachelor degree program. The arrangement does not meet the intent of having the ground training integrated with the broader academic curriculum by virtue of Baylor not holding an air agency certificate issued in accordance with part 141. Baylor does not have control over the curriculum provided by TSTC. As noted in the petition, Baylor students pursuing their instrument rating and commercial pilot training become TSTC students during those phases. Therefore, the FAA has determined that Baylor’s aviation degree program does not meet the minimum level of integrating its pilot ground training with its broader academic curriculum of an aviation degree program.

The FAA also cites the recent denial at MSU Denver as precedent for this new denial at Baylor University.

Update: R-ATP Exemption Follow-Up

12 Jan 2015

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Missed Approach Points in Jeppesen Charts

Robert Chapin
2016-12-24T13:19:26+00:00
Legend for the missed approach point symbol.

Jeppesen Chart Symbols

The M.A.P. Study Guide is a list of notes I first developed during instrument-flight-instructor training because I needed a concise explanation of various approach profiles.  Now that I’m considering airline jobs, I’ve decided to adapt my study guide to the chart format used by Jeppesen, which is also used by many airlines.  I find the missed approach procedures slightly more intuitive in the Jeppesen format, but it also presents more information that can become overwhelming at first.

PDF Icon Study Guide Download – Jepp Format (1.2 MB)

You might also want the FAA charts format of the study guide.

Introduction

Reading a missed approach procedure is a critical step toward briefing and flying a complete instrument approach to an airport.  The missed approach point is the position where the pilot must immediately climb away from the airport if the landing criteria of FAR 91.175(c) are not met.  There are two challenges involved in reading the missed approach point:

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1 Jan 2015

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Engine Failure with Runway Remaining

Robert Chapin
2019-04-05T10:39:06+00:00
ATSB said most immediate forced landings do not result in serious injury.

ATSB said most immediate forced landings do not result in serious injury.

One of the most intimidating parts of flight training is the unlikely possibility that a single-engine training airplane could develop a single engine failure, thereby leaving no other engines available to help bring the airplane to a safe landing position.  While engine failures and emergency procedures are widely discussed and practiced within the general aviation community, not all emergencies are created equal.

It seems I may be teaching a relatively obscure maneuver: The engine failure that occurs after liftoff but before passing the departure end of the runway.  It’s not an engine failure during multi-engine training, not an engine failure in the pattern, and not an “impossible turn” situation.  I’m talking about a loss of thrust right smack in that precarious transition from ground effect to a sustained, best rate climb.  I use the word “obscure” here because I have looked through every guide for maneuvers, FAA handbooks, airplane manuals, and online training resources that I could find, and not one of them contains a detailed description of this maneuver.

I am writing this article for the benefit of flight instructors and single-engine pilots everywhere, and it comes with a big disclaimer:  My detailed procedure is not an adaptation of other work and is not based on existing procedures.  If a more official procedure existed, I would use it!  The information below might not be appropriate to your aircraft, and this procedure should never be attempted in an aircraft without a flight instructor.

Below the fold, you will also find a video that shows a very bad example of what this maneuver looks like when it is practiced without careful consideration for safety or personal minimums.

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8 Nov 2014

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Reaching 1,000 Hours

Robert Chapin
2016-12-24T13:27:36+00:00

There is no time to celebrate.  For most new pilots, career advancement means flying 1,500 hours as fast as possible.

Cloud layers seen while flying

Having a nice view is one of the daily thrills of flying professionally.

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27 Oct 2014

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Denial of R-ATP Exemption for MSU Denver

Robert Chapin
2014-07-17T12:20:22+00:00

Denial of exemption letter to MSU DenverThe Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) this week denied an exemption to the Metropolitan State University of Denver that would allow graduates of Part 61 flight training to become eligible for restricted ATP (R-ATP) certification.  This is a complete reversal from the decision issued last week to Purdue University.  In denying MSU Denver, the FAA writes, “the relief requested is not in the public interest and would adversely affect safety.”

Following that determination is a somewhat bizarre accounting of MSU Denver’s aviation program:

The proposed arrangement does not meet the intent of having the ground training integrated with the broader academic curriculum. MSU Denver does not have any control over the curriculum provided by CNCC and the FAA would have no oversight responsibilities with MSU Denver because it does not hold a part 141 pilot school certificate.

The FAA notes that MSU Denver voluntarily surrendered its air agency certificate on April 19, 2013, and stated in its petition that it will continue to conduct training via part 61 vice part 141. Prior to the voluntary surrender of its part 141 pilot school certificate, MSU Denver held approved ground school training course outlines for the commercial pilot certificate and the instrument rating. Without a part 141 certificate, the FAA will not be able to determine if MSU Denver’s key personnel, facilities, aircraft, equipment, and training syllabus maintain a training standard that is equivalent to part 141. As stated above, the FAA has determined that meeting the part 141 standards are a necessary component to ensuring proper integration of the ground training with the broader academic curriculum and it enables the FAA to oversee the program and ensure continued compliance with the letter of authorization issued on an established 24-month schedule that coincides with the part 141 pilot school renewal. The FAA has concluded this oversight is critical for assuring that the standards set forth by Congress for a reduction in flight time continue to be met.

The FAA also notes that because MSU Denver previously held a part 141 pilot school certificate, graduates who completed their ground and flight training for their instrument rating and commercial pilot certificate under that training program could be eligible for a restricted privileges ATP certificate with reduced aeronautical experience without an exemption. MSU Denver has not yet applied for the authority to certify those graduates.

This decision is a significant setback for MSU Denver graduates, which creates a bad precedent for regulation of flight training in general.  As stated in its petition, “MSU Denver will no longer be able to support industry needs and educational programming to highly diverse populations with the same viability it has sustained for over 45 years.”  If the Part 141 university graduates are unable to qualify for R-ATP certification, then the value of Part 141 training is further reduced at all universities.  Authorization of R-ATP qualification programs began in August 2013 and has reached only 33 States so far, leaving many Part 61 and Part 141 aviation graduates ineligible.

17 Jul 2014

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R-ATP Part 61 Exemption for Purdue University

Robert Chapin
2014-07-13T10:58:44+00:00

Grant of Exemption letter to Purdue UniversityThe Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) this week granted an exemption to Purdue University allowing graduates of Part 61 flight training to become eligible for restricted ATP (R-ATP) certification with reduced experience requirements.  This exemption is retroactive.  It is effective for all Purdue graduates from 2009 through 2016.  The R-ATP check rides can be conducted through July 2017.  Graduates are now only required to have an eligibility certificate from the university and a copy of the exemption letter from the FAA.

This exemption marks the first time the FAA has accepted R-ATP applicants who did not complete FAA-approved training under Parts 141 or 142.  The requirement for airline pilots to hold an ATP or R-ATP certificate went into effect August 2013 and made no exceptions for university graduates who completed the same training under Part 61.

Purdue’s petition for exemption was dated 24 August 2013.  Petitions from four other universities remain outstanding and were neither granted nor denied.

The FAA gave the following reasons for granting this exemption:

  • Purdue became a Part 141 flight school on 27 September 2013.
  • Purdue received authorization to certify R-ATP eligibility on 31 March 2014.
  • Purdue’s Part 141 ground training “is no different” from its former Part 61 program.
  • “Key personnel, facilities, aircraft, equipment, and training syllabus … also existed when Purdue conducted training under part 61.”
  • Several factors contributed to “an equivalent level of safety … for those who previously completed their ground and flight training.”

Previous article: R-ATP Exemption for Part 61 Training

13 Jul 2014

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Pilot Shortage Update

Robert Chapin
2014-06-01T01:45:29+00:00
Graph showing pilot and other airmen statistics past and projected.

Airmen Employment Statistics

Graph of active pilot numbers from 1999 through 2013.

Active Pilots in the U.S. the past 15 years.

The release of December 2013 airmen statistics indicated another increase in the number of airline-qualified pilots in the United States.  Labor statistics also showed an increase in pilot employment last year.  As a country, we do not seem to be running out of pilots by any numerical measure.

A deeper analysis is always more interesting, of course.  Despite the new hiring for airline pilots, the long term employment projection changed from positive to negative.  The reasoning offered with the projection is very similar to my own comments posted earlier this year: Airlines will increase the capacity and efficiency of their fleets to improve profitability.  Taken a step further, this could result in fewer flights in the future.  This seems to be a pessimistic view, and I do not agree with the idea that airlines would try to effect a long-term reduction of flights.  Overall flight reduction is also contrary to the FAA projection of more aircraft operating each year through 2034.

Trends in pilot certification remain mostly unchanged, with the exception of accelerated divergence between ATP and commercial-level pilots, likely due to the regulatory changes requiring existing pilots to upgrade.  That regulatory effect will stabilize after 2014, but will remain divergent due to the permanence of upgrades.  The overall lack of trend changes between 2011 and 2013 is significant because the FAA continues to project trend reversals for private pilot and commercial pilot numbers.  This casts further doubt on the new projections for private and commercial pilot certification to increase.  Our general aviation sector has been losing around 8,000 private pilots and 2,000 commercial pilots per year since 2003.  Given that momentum, the GA numbers could easily fall another 10% to 20% or more before reversing.

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1 Jun 2014

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April in Brief

Robert Chapin
2014-05-12T12:36:00+00:00

usaa-rampThere are good changes happening behind the scenes here.

After the recent redesign of the Aviation Weather Center website, I updated my Prog Charts Archive to include the mid-range prog charts.  Those are the 3 through 7-day forecast charts issued once daily.

In the Missed Approach Point Study Guide, I expanded some of the explanations and added others, which now include 12 different scenarios that instrument students are likely to encounter.

For a few weeks now, I have been working between my flights to add a new section to this website.  It isn’t ready yet, but it should be live sometime this summer.  Other projects offline have kept me away from blogging for a little bit.

In the meantime, it’s already 90 degrees here in Texas, and I am flying whenever possible.  I am still taking small steps toward airline qualification and learning new things at work every day.  More updates soon!

12 May 2014

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Website Updates

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Restricted ATP Minimums

Robert Chapin
2014-11-07T19:53:09+00:00

Easy-to-read details about the new ATP rules?  You found them!  I understand the need for simple explanations. There are six ways to get an ATP license now, each with different requirements.

This is my summary and comparison of the R-ATP minimums from 14 C.F.R. § 61.159 and § 61.160.

160 (a) 160 (b) 160 (c) 160 (d) 160 (f) 159
Age 21 years 21 years 21 years 21 years 21 years 23 years
Total Time as a Pilot 750 hours 1,000 hours 1,250 hours 1,250 hours 1,500 hours 1,500 hours
Cross-Country Time 200 hours 200 hours 200 hours see notes 200 hours 500 hours
Instrument Training Any § 141 § 141 § 141 Any Any
Commercial Training Any § 141 § 141 § 141 Any Any
Education Military Bachelor Associate Bachelor
Concentration Aviation Aviation Aviation
Certification see notes see notes see notes
Recognized Coursework 60 credits 30 credits 30 credits

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21 Mar 2014

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Regulations

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