By Fred Gibbs


January has shown we can fly safely, but with several fender-benders documented throughout the month. I don’t really have much to add this month. In retrospect, we tried to have a safety program on winter flying and its associated risks up here in Flag during the month of January, but that fell through. We ended up cancelling the program due to the very high Covid-19 Omicron infection rate county-wide. Ironically, it was on winter flying, and as I sit here typing away it is SNOWING outside!!

2022 february gaarms plane in snow





Attention all you Part 61 flight school/flight instructors who may have some commercial students. FAR 61.127 says the student must have 10 hours of instrument training logged in pursuit of the commercial rating, as well as 10 hours of complex training in pursuit of the commercial rating. The “Gotcha” catch here is the “in pursuit of the commercial training.” Almost all student candidates for the commercial rating will have their instrument rating and can gladly show you the 40 or more hours logged for that rating. NOW, if the logbook entries for the instrument rating DO NOT address the fact that this time is also towards the commercial rating, IT DOESN’T COUNT!!! That is not my definition; it is the FAA’s determination, and I got that directly from the FSDO folks!! The same interpretation applies to the complex training, it is supposed to specify that the training received is also towards any commercial rating. Again, this is the FAA’s interpretation. Interestingly, I asked two different examiners and got two differing opinions, so I went to the FSDO for their interpretation, and the above was what I got.

2022 february gaarms plane at hangar

HYPOTHETICAL SCENARIO – A 600+ hour private pilot, instrument and multi-engine rated with his own C310 shows up at your doorstep requesting training to get his commercial multi engine rating. He has over 200 hours of instrument time and over 300 hours of cross-country time all over the south-western united states and up and down the Pacific coast. You would think he has met the instrument time and the complex time requirements. But, if he can’t show any instrument or complex training time in his logbook that applies towards the commercial rating, the FAA interpretation is that he has to get and log 10 hours of INSTRUMENT and COMPLEX training towards the commercial rating in his logbook! That’s the interpretation of the FAA with regard to FAR61.127. And they recognize the fallacy of that, but so what!!

So, for future reference, when you do complex, high performance, or instrument training, annotate the entries with a reference to the (possible future) commercial requirements of 61.127 to save the student the potential problem, not to mention the additional cost of those 20 hours of instruction towards the commercial rating.

I have no doubt there were a lot of commercial ratings given without that little “Gotcha” review of the candidates’ logbooks.



What is a MOS forecast??

2022 february gaarms mos forecast

“MOS stands for Model Output Statistics. Forecast models such as the Global Forecast System (GFS) don’t automatically produce a point forecast for a specific town or airport, so MOS takes the ‘raw’ model forecast and applies a statistical method that produces an objective, site-specific forecast for a town or airport. MOS forecasts are completely automated, therefore, no human forecaster reviews or amends them.

MOS takes into account historical observations at forecast points such as airports. MOS downscales the model data into weather elements important to aviation. This includes, but is not limited to, cloud coverage, ceiling height, prevailing visibility, wind speed and direction, precipitation type, and the probability of precipitation or thunderstorms.

For example, we know that pressure drives wind. If the GFS model produces a certain pressure pattern over an airport, based on that specific forecast pressure pattern by the parent model, MOS is able to determine that the wind speed and direction will most likely be 290 degrees at 12 knots. That allows MOS to provide a very accurate forecast given that it incorporates the local environment for that airport.

That said, many MOS elements such as ceiling height and surface visibility are categorical. So, you might read a MOS forecast of 700-foot overcast and 2 miles visibility, but that really means a forecast with a ceiling category of 500 to less than 1000 feet and a visibility category of 1 to less than 3 miles. In other words, both ceiling height and visibility are in the IFR category.”



Fred’s Pop Quiz…

(Answers at end of article)


  1. When is the last time you checked the valid date of your aircraft registration? How long is the registration good for, and just a reminder, when does yours run out?
    1. 3 years
    2. 5 years
    3. 7 years
    4. It runs out???
  1. A standard rate turn is always a constant angle of bank, i.e., 15 degrees, right??
    1. TRUE
    2. FALSE
    3. I DUNNO! What’s a standard rate turn?
  1. Uh oh! The Area Forecast product no longer exists, and a TAF is only valid for the 5-10 mile radius around the airport it is issued for. So how do I find out the weather forecast for the 100 mile area between Flagstaff and Kingman, the only two locations between locations (KFLG and KING) with a TAF?
    1. Call the National Weather Service
    2. Call Flight Service
    3. Go to the Aviation Weather Center online and look for the AFD
    4. No big deal, just look at the Flag and Kingman forecasts, and if OK, hit the road.
  1. A solid black line around an airport depicts what kind of airspace?
    1. Temporarily restricted airspace
    2. There is no such thing
    3. A Terminal Radar Service Area, just like class C, but voluntary and not class C
    4. Class F airspace
  1. What is an ADIZ??
    1. Automated Directional Identification Zone
    2. Aerial Detection Identification Zone
    3. Authorized Defense and Interdiction Training area
    4. Air Defense Identification Zone.




There are NOT a lot of FAASTeam safety programs on the schedule over the next couple of months all around the state, but hopefully that will be changing in the near future. Log on to the Internet and go to WWW.FAASAFETY.GOV , click on “Seminars” and start checking for any upcoming seminars; and there are also a lot of great Webinars. You might find one that is really right up your alley or tickles yer fancy!!

Should you desire a particular safety or educational program at your local airport or pilot meeting in the future (post COVID-19), like the BasicMed program, our “Winter Wonderland” snow season special, or my newest one on LIFR approaches discussing the how’s and pitfalls of shooting an approach all the way down to minimums and missed approaches, simply contact me directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call me at 410-206-3753. The Arizona Pilots Association provides the safety programs at no charge. We can also help you organize a program of your choice, and we can recommend programs that your pilot community might really like.



QUIZ ANSWERS: 1.B 2.B 3.B or C 4.C 5.D

Question 5 answer and explanation:

The Air Defense Identification Zone of North America is an air defense identification zone (ADIZ) that covers the airspace surrounding the United States and Canada – in which the ready identification, location, and control of civil aircraft over land or water is required in the interest of national security.[1] This ADIZ is jointly administered by the civilian air traffic control authorities and the militaries of both nations, under the auspices of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) handles the requests of international aircraft and Transport Canada handles Canadian requests. Any aircraft flying in these zones without authorization may be identified as a threat and treated as an enemy aircraft, potentially leading to interception by fighter aircraft.

An aircraft entering an ADIZ is required to radio its planned course, destination, and any additional details about its trip through the ADIZ to a higher authority, typically an air traffic controller. The aircraft must also be ADS-B equipped.

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