By Fred Gibbs
We are now 5 months into 2022 with only two fatal accidents here in Arizona since the beginning of the year, and these having only two fatalities. I certainly hope we can keep that safety record going. The first accident was the Van’s RV-7A that crashed under unknown circumstances near the Triangle Airpark (AZ50), White Hills, Mohave County, Arizona. The pilot, the sole occupant, was fatally injured. The 2nd accident is highlighted below:
Date: April 15, 2022
Location: Gila Bend (E63)
Type: Robinson R22
Injuries: 1 Fatal
LOSS OF CONTROL LANDING
The Robinson R22 crashed short of the runway at Gila Bend Municipal Airport. The sole pilot onboard was fatally injured.
FOR INFORMATION ON ALL ACCIDENTS/INCIDENTS THAT OCCURRED LAST MONTH, REFER TO JIM TIMM’S ACCIDENT SUMMARY HEREIN.
Just to be clear, the opinions and statements made within my articles are strictly mine and may not necessarily reflect any policy or position of the Arizona Pilots Association.
Well, my article on safety pilots in last month’s newsletter has certainly generated a lot of input, comments, criticisms, review of FAR’s and discussions. That pleases me! People are reading my articles. Raising awareness and attempting to clarify issues is what it is all about. I welcome all comments, and they certainly make me think, and research, even deeper into the subject matter. And the FAR’s do not help clarify the issue, hence my tongue-in-cheek humorous FAR 1000 copy as published in last month’s newsletter. Below is a copy of an AOPA article dated 2017 which talks about BasicMed vs safety pilot functions. (Blue bolded portions are my input/comments)
“Can I fly under BasicMed and act as a safety pilot?”
This is a commonly asked question, and for good reason, because the answer is, well, it depends. But with a quick review of what it means to act as a safety pilot and the relevant limitations of BasicMed, pilots flying under these rules may find it easier to determine when they can (and cannot) act as a safety pilot.
Initially, recall that a pilot is only a “safety pilot” during simulated instrument flight under FAR 91.109(c). This (regulation) states in part that no person can operate an aircraft in simulated instrument flight unless “the other control seat is occupied by a safety pilot who possesses at least a private pilot certificate with category and class ratings appropriate to the aircraft being flown.” (Notice it does NOT say anything about high performance, complex, high altitude or TAA endorsements, nor does it say you must have a current flight review or be instrument rated or current.) With limited exceptions, the safety pilot must have adequate vision forward and to each side of the aircraft, which is to be equipped with fully functioning dual controls.
With the definition of a safety pilot in mind, consider a flight in simulated instrument conditions where Pilot A is under the hood and is acting as Pilot in Command (PIC), and Pilot B is acting as safety pilot in the other seat. Pilot B’s presence is required under FAR 91.109(c) for the portion of the flight that Pilot A is in simulated instrument flight, so Pilot B is then referred to under the regulations as a “required pilot flight crewmember.”
Pilot A wishes to fly with Pilot B (as the safety pilot) for the purpose of practicing instrument flying in a high-performance aircraft. Pilot A may legally act as PIC and has agreed to act as PIC. Pilot A will be wearing a view-limiting device and will be flying by reference to instruments. Pilot B is rated in the aircraft (ASEL) and has a current (FAA) medical certificate but is not instrument rated, not endorsed to fly high-performance airplanes, nor does he/she have a current flight review. However, Pilot B has agreed to be the safety pilot for the flight.
Now, pay close attention: Pilot A may log PIC and simulated instrument time. Pilot B may log second-in-command (SIC) time. Pilot A is assuming PIC responsibilities and may log PIC. Pilot B is a crewmember where more than one pilot is required and may log SIC (FAR 61.51). Again, because Pilot B is a required crewmember, he/she will need a current (FAA) medical certificate (FAR 61.3).
And now for the critical limitation: Under federal law, BasicMed only applies to a pilot acting as PIC and does not apply to required pilot flight crewmembers like the safety pilot in the example above. When acting as a required pilot flight crewmember, FAR 61.3(c) requires the safety pilot to have a valid and appropriate medical certificate.
The simple solution for a BasicMed pilot who wants to act as a safety pilot under FAR 91.109(c) without a medical certificate is to meet all currency and qualification requirements to act as PIC, and to act as PIC during the portions of the flight in simulated instrument conditions. Even though the pilot under the hood cannot simultaneously act as PIC, the simulated instrument flight still satisfies that pilot’s recent flight experience requirements for a PIC under FAR 61.57, since that regulation does not require the pilot to be acting as PIC while he or she performed the required tasks during the simulated instrument flight. (This raises a new question: So, how does Pilot A log the time – NOT PIC,and NOT dual received since NO instructor is on board. Hmmmmm…)
Importantly, note that whenever a BasicMed pilot acts as PIC, then the entirety of the flight from takeoff to full-stop landing must be conducted within the flight condition limitations of BasicMed. The FAA has stated that this limitation applies even if another qualified pilot holding a medical certificate is also present and able to act as PIC. Finally, be sure to confirm that the aircraft limitations do not restrict the PIC to the left seat, and that anyone acting as PIC meets all applicable insurance requirements.
This all boils down to a sticky-wicket scenario. A real in-depth understanding of the regulations is necessary to fully understand the ins and outs of this whole safety pilot issue. Who is PIC and when? Who can be PIC? Logging safety pilot time is Second-in-command time? When under the hood when can I log or not log PIC time? How do I/can I log Dual received if safety pilot NOT an instructor? The deeper I dig into this, and the more people I ask, the murkier it gets…
And then there is the issue of IFR currency. If you do not have 6 instrument approaches logged within the previous 6 months (and I understand it means to the end of the month you are in), then you are no longer current. I always understood that meant you needed to then get an IPC to regain currency, but further discussions with fellow instructors and a further in-depth reading of the regs seems to imply you have 6 more months to regain that currency by doing approaches (apparently with a safety pilot, but maybe not). If at the end of that 6-month period you still do not have the required 6 approaches, then an IPC is required. Which raises the question “Can any of the approaches during that period be done in actual IMC to meet the requirement?” (My interpretation is – I guess so: maintaining currency can be either simulated or actual…)
Finally, in leaving this subject, all comments, criticisms, and suggestions are welcome. The more we talk, the smarter I (and we) Hopefully get!
THE WHOLE NINE YARDS
American fighter planes in WW2 had machine guns that were fed by a belt of cartridges. The average plane held belts that were 27 feet (9 yards) long. If the pilot used up all his ammo, he was said to have given it the whole nine yards.
The statistics on sanity is that one out of every four persons is suffering from some sort of mental illness. Think of your three best friends. if they're okay –
then it's you!!
QUIZ TIME -
- While cruising at FL370, I am told that the outside air temperature (OAT) is ISA +4. What the heck does that mean?
- My football team is ahead by 4 points.
- The OAT is plus 4 degrees Fahrenheit.
- The OAT is plus 4 degrees Centigrade.
- The OAT is 4 degrees higher than the standard temperature for FL370.
- If a statue mile (SM) is 5280 feet, how long is a nautical mile (NM)?
- The same?
- 6000 feet
- 6080 feet
- 6008 feet
- You are cruising along at 10,500 feet, heading 350, receiving Flight Following, when center says you have traffic at nine thirty, 3 miles, same altitude, heading 020. What action, if any, would you/could you/should you consider?
- Dunno, I only have a digital watch.
- Nothing, it is only 0900.
- Climb or descend immediately.
- Look left for traffic, and if traffic not in sight, determine an appropriate course of action and advise Center of what you are going to do.
- ‘Tis a beautiful day in Flagstaff, clear and a hundred miles visibility, 26 degrees Centigrade, altimeter setting 30.24, Density Altitude 9500 feet. But the winds are blowing, reported as 260 at 23 gusting 32. Your POH says the demonstrated cross for your airplane is 16 knots. Can you legally land?
- Yikes! What am even I doing here? Do I even want to try???
- Here, hold my beer. I can do this!!
- Monsoon season is coming up soon for us Arizonians! That means thunderstorms and all of their associated hazards. The TAF is calling for thunderstorms all afternoon starting at 1:00pm, and I have a lesson with my instructor at 2:00pm to 4:00pm. Does the TAF forecast that includes the thunderstorms (and all of its associated hazards) mean I cannot fly because of all those hazards?
- CORRECT, I cannot fly! The TAF, and probably any convective SIGMET associated with the thunderstorms, indicate dangerous conditions.
- Nah, I’m going flying! The TAF and any SIGMETs are only forecasts, and many times are not true!
- ABSOLUTELY I CAN GO FLY! I can just look out the window while flying and make decisions as I go along!
- Possibly! But I really need to take an in-depth look at all the other weather products for the time period I am flying, especially the latest radar reports for the area around the airport, and then confer with my instructor before making any final decision.
(Answers at bottom of Safety Programs)
There are NOT a lot of FAASTeam safety programs on the schedule over the next couple of months around the state, but hopefully that will change in the near future. Simply log on to the Internet and go to WWW.FAASAFETY.GOV , click on “Seminars” and start checking for any upcoming seminars, but don’t expect a lot during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, there are a lot of great webinars online, each about an hour long, and worth credits towards your WINGS participation. You might find one that is really right up your alley or “tickles yer fancy”!!
Quiz answers: 1.d, 2 .c 3.d 4. a (which includes d) and 5.d