With just 130 or so comments received by the May 24 deadline, I guess the FAA felt it didn’t have enough flight training comments on its Draft Airman Certification Standards that its Airman Testing Standards & Training Work Group created for the private pilot certificate and instrument rating.
If you care, you have until July 8 to review the standards and comment on them. And even if you’ve been flying for years, you should care because you’ll be sharing the sky with pilots trained to these standards. A nifty website lets you read and comment on Docket FAA-2013-0316.
An interesting aspect of this website is that you can read the 140 comments posted as of Saturday, June 15. This is more fun than Facebook! And it can be more beneficial because it seems that you can comment on the comments, which builds an argument for and against the proposals.
Ready access to the comments also enables flaming wars of words that serve no other purpose than polishing one’s favorite ax. In wandering through the comments, I was heartened to see that, so far, that aviation has not been poisoned, like our political discourse, with zero-sum attitudes.
Like Facebook, the comments include the name of the person who submitted it; there were very few anonymous submissions and just a handful of initials. Some of the more reasoned and comprehensive comments came from the documents associations like GAMA attached.
Technology and stick & rudder skills were frequent topics, with comments ranging from predomination of one over the other to under-emphasis and simplistic application that left untouched additional capabilities. One of my favorites was the comment who asked how an applicant would make a compass turn in an glass cockpit LSA that didn’t have a wet compass.
Attention to such detail is what makes aviation great, and the FAA should be commended for updating the private pilot and instrument rating standards. As always, safety is the goal. Ever the pragmatic realist, I’m sure this effort will result in the same level of success as previous efforts.
If you wonder about that, read the comments and see how many address the ways pilots have been killing themselves and their passengers for more than a century now. Depending on the person, doing something stupid can be a chronic or acute situation, but no one is immune, as Facebook makes abundantly clear. And as my friends there assure me, you can’t fix stupid, not even with duct tape and WD-40, but that doesn’t mean we should stop trying. –Scott Spangler, Editor