The FAA is your Friend!

The title of the article alone should be enough for you to read this article!  Isn’t that what government agencies are suppose to do; help the folks they are charged with serving?  Well, I’m sure most of you think otherwise but the reality may not be so black and white.

First of all, let’s set the record straight.  I would be willing to bet that the FAA Inspectors don’t really spend their free time wondering how they can find you and violate you.  For the most part, I think they are generally concerned with aviation safety, just like the rest of us.  They do have the unfortunate job of upholding the regulations though, no matter how you feel about those regulations.  But then again, maybe I’m just naive.  Let’s see how we can just avoid your interaction with the FAA altogether then.

When planning your flight, you are required by regulation to know basically everything there is to know about that flight (91.103).  The reality is very different.  There have been numerous occasions where I’ve been at an airport waiting to takeoff or land and I hear someone on the frequency requesting to land on a runway that is NOTAM’d closed.  A clear violation of the regulations, right?  Well, sure but the tower obviously didn’t let them land there, they taxied into their parking and went on to enjoy the day.  No harm, no foul.  The exception is typically when something happens and it becomes clear to the investigators that you did NOT have all available information.  

To ensure I am compliant with all of the regulations, here’s what I do.  Remember, just GO!

  • Get a good brief
    • Lockheed Martin Flight Service (800-WX-BRIEF):  This is actually a great system.  The website is great for all you tech-types that want to plug in all of the information yourself and get the printout.  The standard briefings include a LOT of useful information and can include NOTAM’s and TFR’s as well.  While I certainly like the tech aspect, I actually prefer to call them when I want a briefing.  Usually very nice, easy to talk to and understand and I’ve generally felt that they are there to help you.
    • ForeFlight:  I love my ForeFlight briefings, especially the new format.  I insert my airport pairs, then do a “File & Brief” in the app.  I get an excellently laid out briefing format that includes NOTAM’s and TFR’s.  If you use ForeFlight, this is an awesome tool.
  • On the ground, confess your mistakes
    • NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System:  If for some reason, you are told to call a number (Tower, Approach, Center, whatever), be polite, courteous and thank them for bringing the issue to your attention.  By the time you hang up the phone though, you should be on the ASRS site filling out a report.  This is your “get out of jail free” card.  Unless your violation was something that was something like gross negligence, you will likely end up with a hand slap and maybe some counseling from a FAASTeam Rep.  Even if you THINK you may have violated a regulation somehow, get on the site and fill out a report.  You’re helping compile data that may actually lead to a change in regulations, airspace, etc..

Here are some other links that are technically the “official” government sites, however, just like the Obama-Care website, they aren’t the most user friendly.

Official FAA Links:

  • Aviation Weather: http://aviationweather.gov/   
  • TFR’s: http://tfr.faa.gov/tfr2/list.html
  • NOTAM’s: https://pilotweb.nas.faa.gov/PilotWeb/

The bottom line is to get a good briefing.  Both methods of getting a briefing [mentioned above] give you all pertinent information for your flight referenced in item (A) of the 91.103 regulation.  Now it’s up to you to calculate the fuel, alternates and takeoff & landing distances.  But the hard part is out of the way!
Fly Safe!

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Plus One Flyers - Membership Agreement

Section A:  Agreement

I hereby certify that all the information on this membership form is true to the best of my knowledge.  I understand that any falsification shall be grounds for disqualification or forfeiture of my membership.  I have received, read, understand, and agree to abide by the Plus One Flyers, Inc. (the “Club”) Bylaws and Operational Rules.  In particular, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to be bound by Section 4.8 of the Bylaws, which states that I shall be responsible for any damages or abuse to an aircraft that I am using.  I also acknowledge that I have read and agree to be bound by Section 4.8.3 of the Bylaws, which provides that I shall not seek to hold Plus One Flyers, Inc. legally responsible for my acts while operating a Club aircraft which results in damages or injuries, whether to myself or others. I further acknowledge that I have read and agree to be bound by Article VII of the Bylaws, which provides that I shall be fiscally responsible for my dues, timely flight payments and any collection fees.

In the event that any damages are assessed against the Club as a result of my acts or negligence, I shall be solely responsible for the payment of those damages and for any legal fees or costs incurred by the Club in defending itself.  As set forth by Article VII in the Plus One Flyers Inc. Bylaws, each member, and their heirs, successors, personal representative and assigns, release, acquit, and covenant not to sue, and  shall indemnify, defend, and hold harmless the Club, its officers, directors, agents and employees for any liability, losses, or damages that I or the Club may suffer as a result of an act by, or negligence of, the member while operating a Club aircraft. Each member must acknowledge and agree that he or she is accepting and using any and all Club aircraft in a used, “as is” condition and that the Club does not and has not repaired, reconditioned, or maintained any Club aircraft.  Each member must agree to assume all risks, and assumes full responsibility for risk of bodily injury, death or property damage associated with any Club aircraft and not to seek to hold the Club legally responsible for any such defects in Club aircraft before being allowed to use and fly Club aircraft.

Finally, I understand, should I resign from the Club, my resignation notice (form) must be given in writing at least thirty (30) days prior to leaving the Club and that I will return my club key(s) on or before my resignation date, which is effective the 1st day of the next month following that 30 day period. Membership remains effective until terminated under the terms of this Agreement.

I also agree and understand that:

A.     I will not allow non-members, whether pilots or not, to operate Plus One Flyers Aircraft because they are not insured through Plus One Flyers.  All flight instructors instructing in Club Aircraft must be members of Plus One Flyers, Inc., and be authorized by the club’s Safety Program.

B.     I will not operate Club Aircraft if my FAA medical or Flight Review is not current.

C.     I will not operate Club Aircraft for hire, either under Part 91 or Part 135 of the FAR’s, because the Club’s insurance does not cover such operations.

D.     I, alone, am personally and financially responsible if I participate in any uninsured operations of Club Aircraft.

E.     I will maintain and promptly notify the Club of any changes to my telephone numbers, billing address, email, and credit/debit card(s) information by updating this information myself in Schedule Master.          Initial here_________

F.     I will promptly notify Plus One Flyers if I am involved in an aircraft accident, even if it is not a Plus One Flyers Aircraft.

G.     I authorize my bank or credit/debit card company/companies to make monthly or yearly (as specified in Section B) payments to Plus One Flyers, Inc. and post it to my account.                               

H.     I authorize my bank or credit/debit card company/companies to make payments for possible collections for errors or non-payments of flights to Plus One Flyers, Inc. and post it to my account.

I will promptly and regularly submit updated copies of my Medical Certificate and Flight Review to the Club’s Membership Officer.

 

Section B:  Automatic Payment and Credit/Debit Card(s) Guarantee

The credit/debit card(s) you provide on this form and/or in Schedule Master serve as your payment guarantee and is required in your Schedule Master Membership account to enable and maintain your airplane scheduling privileges. Plus One Flyers will charge your card(s) and email you an invoice for any payment shortages.  Any dispute regarding a charge can be handled by the Club Membership Officer.  If an error results in an amount owed you, Plus One Flyers will credit your Schedule Master account balance unless you request a refund check.
 

Membership Dues are $29.00 monthly, charged to your credit/debit card(s) or if available, against a pre-paid credit balance.  Paying Annual Dues means you maintain a pre-paid credit balance that is reduced by $31.00 monthly until zero and if you elect to continue to pay Annual dues, you are responsible for pre-paying the appropriate amount each year.  There is a $129.50 initiation fee for new members and renewing members, except for those members renewing while serving active duty in U.S. Armed Services.  If there is a change in dues you will receive a thirty day notice by email and a message will be posted in Schedule Master. Your account will be charged on the 1st of every month if you choose the monthly option.  An email invoice will be sent to you every month.  It is your responsibility to view your invoices/account to verify that your payment has been made.  You are responsible for ensuring your card(s) remains current and that if it expires or your billing address changes you alone are responsible for updating that information in Schedule Master.  If your bill has not been paid your scheduling privileges will be automatically suspended until it is paid.  If three consecutive dues invoices remain unpaid your membership will automatically terminate and a $99.00 initiation fee plus the past due balance will be required to reinstate your membership.  If you take no action your account may be sent to a collection agency.
 

Keep your billing address and email address and card(s) current in your Schedule Master Membership Account. Plus One Flyers is not responsible for ensuring your email system allows Schedule Master or other Club emails to reach you.  You will receive an automatic email one month prior to the expiration of your card in Schedule Master.  Plus One Flyers is a PCI-DSS-compliant e-commerce and POS credit card processing merchant.  See the Club’s Privacy Policy for more about how we protect your private information.                                                                                              

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