By Howard Deevers
Last week I was sending a small package by US Mail and it required a visit to my local post office. The clerk at the PO was very friendly and helpful as always. While waiting on me, a lady came to the counter and handed him her driver’s license and was going to leave it with him. He told her that he did not need to keep it, only to see it. After she left I said, “that was interesting.” He said that people trust the post office so much that they will leave their driver’s license and credit card. He said that every day a delivery carrier will come in with an order for stamps or shipping supplies with the customer’s credit card and ID. They fill the order, charge the card, and return everything to the customer the next day. Now, that is trust. I said that I am glad that I live in a country where such trust still exists.
In aviation such trust does exist, also. Think about your first flying lesson. You got into an airplane with someone you just met, never checked to see if he had an instructor certificate or not, didn’t do a background check, and simply expected that he could fly the plane and teach you how to fly. That is a lot of trust, and a lot of responsibility for the instructor.
To be sure, the FAA has many regulations governing the CFI and requires recurrent training every 2 years. The FAA trusts that the CFI will comply and get that training. They also trust that we, as pilots, will get a flight review every two years.
Yes, there is such a thing as a ramp check, when the FAA can examine your certificate, medical, and condition of your airplane, but there is no FAA “traffic cop” at the end of every runway to make sure you comply before take-off. I hope that never happens, and if we never give them a reason to do that it never will.
Instructors and students must develop trust for each other. When an instructor signs off a student for that first solo, he must trust that the student has learned the skills and knowledge to safely do that solo, and the student must now trust in his own ability acquired from the instructor. That trust has to go both ways.
After getting your pilots certificate, keep it fresh by attending a safety seminar sponsored by your ARIZONA PILOTS ASSOCIATION. Check the web site for a location near you. They are free and contain a lot of valuable information, and “Don’t forget to bring your wingman.”