Additional Pilot During Phase I Testing

In my opinion, AC 90-116 [“Souls On Board: Two,” December, 2014] is another glaring example of the FAA missing the safety mark for gyroplanes. It requires the builder/owner to already have a category/class rating in the aircraft type. That is fine for fixed-wing pilots transitioning to a different fixed-wing type. But builder/owners of gyroplanes (only E/A-B available) often do not have the required gyroplane rating and cannot meet the solo experience requirements for a gyroplane rating. This is especially difficult for students seeking an initial pilot rating for gyroplanes. Unless you own your own gyroplane first, you cannot accumulate the required gyroplane solo hours. And you can’t fly your own gyroplane at all until it finishes 40 hours of Phase I flight testing.

Builder/owners requiring training or transition into a gyroplane especially need transition training into that aircraft by an instructor familiar with the aircraft. Since this is not allowed under the new advisory circular intended to minimize such risks, builder/owners still have few options to either achieve the required certification or fly off the required 40 hours of Phase I testing. This FAA oversight of the gyroplane world again further exacerbates the gyroplane safety issues that we are trying so hard to improve.

–Greg Gremminger

Thank you for your insight into the gyro world. There is no doubt the FAA tends to ignore regulations that will help your part of the aviation family, and those of us not in that world never know it.-Ed.

Risky Business

Great to see you added Sid Mayeux to your staff. I really enjoy his articles. I spoke with Sid when he was at the Air Force Safety Center in Albuquerque. How can I get hold of him to say welcome to KITPLANES and howdy?

–Larry Battin

You can reach Sid or any of our regular contributors by sending an email to [email protected], and we’ll forward it along.-Ed.

VFR in Alaska

Although I have not actually flown to Alaska, I have planned a trip in detail. I take exception to Vic Syracuse’s statement, “You shouldn’t go to Alaska without an instrument rating” [“Advice for flying in Alaska,” February 2015].

Much of the flying in Alaska is VFR because of limited navaids and challenging terrain. I would rather not trust my life to instruments when there are possibilities of icing and/or granite-lined clouds. The purpose of an Alaska flying vacation is to relax and enjoy the scenery. You can’t see scenery from inside a cloud; you might as well be in Indiana. A VFR trip to Alaska is possible as long as you have a loose schedule and plan to wait out bad weather, just as you would in the Lower 48.

–Tom Muller

Vic agrees that an instrument rating is not required, but after seeing multiple people die from having pushed VFR into IMC in Alaska, he is a strong believer that having the rating and being proficient puts an additional option on the table when it is needed the most.-Ed.


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