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What do you do if the operator is breaking the law?


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Okay, so in the debacle I described above, it appears that people were using two different empty weights for the aircraft in use. It appears that the situation *could* have been diffused if Pilot A had simply said to the Chief Pilot (or whomever is in charge), "Hey, *this* is my empty weight, *this* is my weight, *this* is how much fuel I need for the mission, and ergo *this* is how much weight I can carry. Boom, done. But no, it didn't work out that way.

 

Nobody should be commanded to fly overgross. Nobody should be commanded to fly an unairworthy aircraft. But we pilots must do our part. We must know the rules and limits with certainty, so we're on solid footing when we draw that dreaded "line in the sand" (to mix metaphors). And understand that some of the pressure we pilots feel is either self-imposed ("If I don't do this I'll lose my job") or merely implied ("The boss didn't TELL me to do something illegal but I know that's what he means").

 

It's not easy being a professional pilot. There are a lot of gray areas, and you must often walk a very fine line, balancing all of the real and imagined pressures in a way that gets the job done safely without jeopardizing your certificates or your job.

 

In my last job, we'd be flying along and my boss would see a restaurant that he'd want to stop at for lunch. He'd note a big nearby clearing/parking lot/whatever and he'd say, "Bob, can you land there?" I'd circle around and assess the situation. Would it be technically "illegal?" You could say so. If I did land, we would obviously not have landowner's permission. So there's that. But could I do it safely? Often the answer was yes. Would it put my certs in jeopardy if the landing came to the attention of the FAA and someone deemed it unsafe to the general public? Well...yeah, maybe. The easy way out would be to just say, "No, we can't land there." But although he was not a pilot, my boss knew the rules as well as I did. When he asked, "Bob, can we land there?" he was really asking, "Bob, WILL you land there?" Down in the south, you can still "get away" with stuff that would get you thrown in jail up in New York or New Jersey.

 

This occurred more than once. I always felt uneasy about it, and always expected a registered letter from the FAA to arrive.

 

Don't we wish everything was cut-and-dried?

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You can always find another job. You can always find another school. It's rather difficult to come back from the dead, and once the FAA initiates certificate enforcement action against you, consider

Funny enough, during my initial training and attendance to a “professional pilot development” class, that’s exactly what the instructor suggested. Specifically, he said, read everything you can on thi

"Those satisfied with their own mediocrity will never have the capacity for greatness." - Me

There are also green-horns that post information on this site who’ve never experienced the “real world”..

 

What is wrong with this exactly ? If their misinformation is truly misinformed it can be discussed and possibly be better of for discussing it, else I miss the point of a discussion forum...

 

For me, I’m not sure which of the above is worse……

 

obviously the operators...

 

I have worked for a couple so-called "dirtbag" operators and I’m a better pilot today because of it…

 

Please clarify. Are you saying that an operator that refuses to repair a fuel gauge is in the right ? How about one that urges you to fly over gross ?

 

Most who will claw their way up through this business will someday come across these types of dilemmas. It’s how you deal with them at that moment that will make or break your career…..

 

and learning what situations are worthy of drawing a line in the sand over is good stuff to know, care to enlighten us ?

 

 

 

 

What is wrong with this exactly?

 

Really? Information from individuals who have never worked a day in this business being posted as “reality”? Unfortunately, this presents a blind leading the blind scenario….

 

If their misinformation is truly misinformed it can be discussed and possibly be better of for discussing it, else I miss the point of a discussion forum...

 

Again, individuals with little experience providing opinions of how things “are” or at minimum, how things “should be” presents little room for discussion…..

 

obviously the operators...

 

Maybe for you……

 

Please clarify. Are you saying that an operator that refuses to repair a fuel gauge is in the right ? How about one that urges you to fly over gross ?

 

What a PILOT IN COMMAND does in the field at a given moment is not for me to speculate. However, if ANYTHING is found to be in an unairworthy condition, then simply write it up and don’t fly. It’s that simple. Plus, if you feel pressured to do ANYTHING illegal; you can simply let your feet to the talking. In either case, with today’s SMS culture, it’s in your best interest to be factual, right, and above all, vocal. That is, YOU decide what to do, not some internet discussion board…

 

and learning what situations are worthy of drawing a line in the sand over is good stuff to know, care to enlighten us ?

 

With regards to safety of flight, ALL situations are worthy of “drawing a line”. If you have a problem, bring it forward and be ready to provide accurate information regarding that problem and possibly a solution to that problem. That is your job as a pro-pilot…..

 

Additionally, consider this, while “dirt-bag” operators exist, I’ve come across a number of legit operators who were complete A-holes! These folks are extremely difficult to work for and even when you do the right thing, you can find yourself being terminated. As already stated, there is a lot of gray in this business. A LOT! Simply put, if you have a hard time with the simple stuff then you may find the difficult decisions to be overwhelming……

 

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Example scenario of a difficult decision?

 

Howabout 3....

 

 

1. During preflight a mechanic tells you the transponder in the machine you’re about to fly is intermittent and has a tendency to fail once the unit heats up. He also says he has a working spare unit he can quickly install but it requires a pitot static test which can’t be done prior to your departure but can be done when you return. You operate within 30 miles of Bravo airspace and often near the primary airport. Furthermore, because of the conversation with the mechanic, you fall behind and are now scheduled to depart in 20 minutes….

 

2. You get hired on as a loader/driver at an ag company. The boss says you can occasionally fly the dead legs in the 500 to build turbine time for the possibility of a future pilot gig. Mostly, when you get the chance to fly, it’s the return leg back to base because another, more senior, green-horn always flies the machine to the job site. One day, you get a chance to fly first thing and because of this, the boss tells you to do the preflight. During preflight, you notice a few small holes in the leading edge on a couple main rotor blades. Upon further inspection, you see these holes are through the abrasion strip and the biggest being the size of a ballpoint pen tip. When you ask the mechanic about it, he says “its normal”…..

 

3. You’re a new-hire flying an Astar (AS350) with a company regular VIP sitting next to you on a tight timeline. Your area of operations is over a major metropolitan area with roads, homes, schools, freeways, parks, malls and such below you. Your destination is your home base, 50 miles away. Another airport is located 25 miles abeam you when you get a tail rotor gear box chip warning light….

 

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Ummm... greenhorn and never worked a day is two different things in my book.

 

I get what you are saying about blind leading the naked, this is however a discussion forum....

 

Again, misunderstanding of terms - "dirtbag" was meant to mean an Operator that refuses to repair equipment correctly based on the context of this thread.

 

Lastly, thanks for finally providing the three scenarios - I know what my duties are.

 

1 - If its working its working, if it fails then worry about it

2 - Have to trust the mechanic, if not then get informed

3 - Not familiar with A star but are they 30 minute run dry units ? either way land as soon as practicable, better safe than sorry. If they would rather not die then maybe find a new boss.

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Ummm... greenhorn and never worked a day is two different things in my book.

 

I get what you are saying about blind leading the naked, this is however a discussion forum....

 

Again, misunderstanding of terms - "dirtbag" was meant to mean an Operator that refuses to repair equipment correctly based on the context of this thread.

 

Lastly, thanks for finally providing the three scenarios - I know what my duties are.

 

 

 

Ummm... greenhorn and never worked a day is two different things in my book.

 

How big is your book?

 

When reaching the 85th floor after climbing the staircase at the empire state building, the lobby, first step and the first few floors all have the same significance….

 

I get what you are saying about blind leading the naked, this is however a discussion forum....

 

With an abundance of students, unemployed CFI’s and working CFI’s… Nuff said…

 

Again, misunderstanding of terms - "dirtbag" was meant to mean an Operator that refuses to repair equipment correctly based on the context of this thread.

 

No misunderstanding. That’s what it means, anywhere….

 

Lastly, thanks for finally providing the three scenarios - I know what my duties are.

 

That’s exactly the point. What YOUR duties are….

 

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Okay not sure why the argument over semantics unless you have some need to be right. 2nd floor still higher than the first. You used dirtbag to talk about an A$$H*LE that did stuff right.... anyhow... whatever.

 

So what's your top of ladder opinion of scenario in post #29 - http://helicopterforum.verticalreference.com/topic/16851-what-do-you-do-if-the-operator-is-breaking-the-law/?p=137004

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need more specifics... if you know they have skipped inspections... how long have they been skipped? (you can exceed a 100 hr inspection by up to 10 hrs) and the annual isn't overdue until the end of the month.

What do you mean overhaul? The engine? Not required unless operating part 135.

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I'd like to keep the discussion going and propose a more extreme example:

 

The tour operator has skipped inspections (annual, 100 hour) and hasn't done an overhaul in years on their multiple turbine jetrangers.

 

What more is there to discuss? If your boss is knowingly breaking the law, you can either report him, put up with it, or leave,...it doesn't really matter how extreme the violation is!

 

What this all really boils down to is that this is YOUR life, these are the decissions YOU make! So what is more important to YOU, your job, your life, your integrity, the lives of others, the law,...?

 

sh*t happens, you react, and then have to live with the consequences,...good or bad. That's life!

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Maybe flying that brand new robbie is actually doing a disservice to students. Typical 206 in the field is probabally a 1980's vintage with 8000+ hours, has never seen the factory or had an "airframe overhaul". I think pilots should have more training on maintenance regs and airframe specs. Too many flight schools pigeon hole you in the robbie training environment to limited understanding of a "working" or "utility" ship.

That said, you can't be learning more advanced material without a basic understanding and unfortunately I think that's what's going on here. A new pilot or student pilot can't understand every operators issues and talking about it is simply passing on uninformed information

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(you can exceed a 100 hr inspection by up to 10 hrs)

 

Probably the most misinterpreted and therefore, the most violated regulation in the book.

 

91.409

Except as provided in paragraph c of this section, no person may operate an aircraft carrying any person (other than a crewmember) for hire, and no person may give flight instruction for hire in an aircraft which that person provides, unless within the preceding 100 hours of time in service the aircraft has received an annual or 100-hour inspection and been approved for return to service in accordance with part 43 of this chapter or has received an inspection for the issuance of an airworthiness certificate in accordance with part 21 of this chapter. The 100-hour limitation may be exceeded by not more than 10 hours while en route to reach a place where the inspection can be done. The excess time used to reach a place where the inspection can be done must be included in computing the next 100 hours of time in service.

 

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Maybe flying that brand new robbie is actually doing a disservice to students. Typical 206 in the field is probabally a 1980's vintage with 8000+ hours, has never seen the factory or had an "airframe overhaul". I think pilots should have more training on maintenance regs and airframe specs. Too many flight schools pigeon hole you in the robbie training environment to limited understanding of a "working" or "utility" ship.

That said, you can't be learning more advanced material without a basic understanding and unfortunately I think that's what's going on here. A new pilot or student pilot can't understand every operators issues and talking about it is simply passing on uninformed information

 

Personally I haven't flown (or even seen) a brand new robbie in a long, long, long time (or one that didn't have some "issues" for that matter), but it is true that we don't get a lot of training in helicopter maintenance. Its basically, there's a 100hr that can be exceeded by up to 10hrs (in order to get to where the inspection is done) an annual, and the overhaul at 2200hrs. Then there's a list in the POH of preventative maintenance that we "can" do, but no one will in reality "let" us do! So they teach us what to look for on pre-flight, to call our cfi/boss/mechanic, if we have questions about something that doesn't look right, and to add oil,...that's pretty much it!

 

Flight training is expensive and there's only so much you can squeeze in before your wallet runs dry! Some things just have to wait for "on the job" learning.

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misinterpreted is up for interpretation... I understand what it says but that is where the ability to "push" the regs so commonly comes into play.

 

Even though there is a lot of gray in this business, I prefer not to be, nor do I encourage others to be found loitering there. In my book, the regulation is clear. To launch after exceeding the 100hr interval, other than to fly to a location to have the inspection completed, is a violation, unless otherwise specified by the paragraphs of 91.409.

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Flight training is expensive and there's only so much you can squeeze in before your wallet runs dry! Some things just have to wait for "on the job" learning.

 

How many people after they got the bug spent time researching this industry beyond their flight school... not many.

You don't have to pay to get smart. You have the internet... you can read... Align yourself with people that are smarter than you and ask questions. FAA website has TONS of information. Have you read the type certificate data sheet for the helicopter you fly? Have you searched the airworthiness directives that apply? Have you looked at all the accident reports archive for the training machines to see what seems to be recurring problems?

Used to be you had to have a subscription to get all the AD's and such. Internet has made information abundent but people don't seem to either know where to look or what to look at.

I started my own part 137 op with zero experience. Studied, read, looked at others, worked thru the issues.

Ask away.

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How many people after they got the bug spent time researching this industry beyond their flight school... not many.

You don't have to pay to get smart. You have the internet... you can read... Align yourself with people that are smarter than you and ask questions. FAA website has TONS of information. Have you read the type certificate data sheet for the helicopter you fly? Have you searched the airworthiness directives that apply? Have you looked at all the accident reports archive for the training machines to see what seems to be recurring problems?

Used to be you had to have a subscription to get all the AD's and such. Internet has made information abundent but people don't seem to either know where to look or what to look at.

I started my own part 137 op with zero experience. Studied, read, looked at others, worked thru the issues.

Ask away.

 

If aviation interests you that much, knock yourself out! Me, I'm fine with what the PTS says I need to know about the "non-flying stuff" and am happy just being a pilot!

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If aviation interests you that much, knock yourself out! Me, I'm fine with what the PTS says I need to know about the "non-flying stuff" and am happy just being a pilot!

 

Yea, pretty much no matter how you look at it - this is total fail.

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