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permison

Northeast helicopters TSA Fee? (Was helicopter rental for rated pilots?)

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I am currently up in hartford CT on business. I was looking to do some area scenic flights and keep current. I called over to Northeast Helicopters to see if I could rent an aircraft for an hour solo (after checkout of course) but unless I am a student, I can't rent. If I enroll as a student I can't take passengers. What gives? I have spoken with a couple of schools like this. I am a dual rated pilot (exArmy Aviation Oh-58), and anywhere I go I can rent fixed wing aircraft (after a brief checkout of couse) but almost every helicopter school won't rent unless I am enrolled as a student and then usually I can't take passengers until I have over 100 hours (which I have well over 1K) in their aircraft. It's not specificly an issue with me it seems they all have similar issues with pilots off the street. What's up with this? I passed all my FAA tests, No accidents or violations (so far knock wood) and I am a representitive for the FAA Safety Program. My mother even offered to write me a note saying I am a very nice boy. :lol: So what gives? Why do most schools not rent to rated pilots who did not take their training with them?

Permison

 

P.S. Anyone got a R22 they might be willing to rent to me in the Hartford CT area?

Edited by permison

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It has nothing to do with you personally. It has to do with the Insurance companies. The policy the schools have probably wont allow for "Rental" only Instruction and student solo required to obtain a rating. To you and I it seems petty, but it usually makes a big difference in what the school pays for their insurance.

 

In the end it comes down to the all mighty dollar...... nothing more

 

I've ran into the same thing, Darn near impossible to rent a helicopter around here.

 

Fly safe

Clark B)

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It's certainly insurance. I've run into a similar issue at my own flight school with the R44. I inquired what the rental fee was for the R44, thinking I could maybe get enough hours to fly friends and family around, but found it was a moot point. The insurance will only let the school rent it for instruction. I can take a 22 up with a passenger if I like, but not the 44. Grrrr..

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I think my school is pretty good about it... After we get license with them, we can rent & take passengers with no problem. I think for non-students that are rated they only need to take a 'check-out' ride with one of their CFI's & then renting would be permitted.

 

Superman:

Where in IN are you located?

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hmmm..lets see.

 

Permison-

I think you are most definitely a student. If you have your private license you are still a student studying for your commercial. If you have your commercial you are studying for your Instrument, or your CFI, or your ATP. So since the school insurance covers you as long as youre a student, and time building is certainly part of that training...your good to go!

 

Am I missing something here ?

 

Goldy

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I have heard of several schools which will treat you as if you were going for another rating to get around the no renters rule on the insurance. However most don't want to take that risk, hard to claim you were working on an instrument rating if you are making off airport landings at your home. I also recently was told by a friend that AOPA has renters insurance for helicopter pilots. You might look into that and see what the school says then.

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Does the AOPA Insurance Agency offer any type of insurance for rotorcraft or multi-engine aircraft?

 

Non-owned coverage is available for multi-engine and rotorwing aircraft, however, it is not available through the website. Please call the AOPA Insurance Agency for more information about these products at 1-800-622-2672.

So it appears AOPA does have access to non-owned rotorcraft liability insurance, but someone will have to call and get the particulars.

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Ok, so I am stuck up here in Hartford for the weekend so I brought my flight gear to get some time in over at Northeast Helicopters. I called them up again to sign up as a student so I could at least get in some night (dual) time for my next check ride. Unfortunately they are closed for the holidays but I spoke with I believe the owner of the school. I asked her about the fees associated with becoming a student and she told me about a TSA fee. It's only $50 but I was surprised that the TSA was asking for it. I asked "What the TSA fee is" and she began to explain what the TSA is and a "TSA requirement" for any student registering for flight training must be subjected to a background check.

 

Now as part of full disclosure I am a FAA Safety representative and you would think I would know about something like this as I am one of the guys you go to for those sorts of questions. I know there is a requirement for alien non residents to go through the background check but not for citizens and especially not current pilots. I believe the only requirement is proof of citizenship (birth certificate, driver’s license, etc.). Anyone else hear of this? I called the TSA support line (which by the way is supposed to be staffed 24 hours a day) and got a machine asking me to leave a message. Anyone hear of the TSA requiring flight schools to do this? I have looked all over the TSA website and can't find anything besides the alien/nonresident rule.

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My recollection is a foreign national must be, photographed, and fingerprinted and wait for TSA approval.

 

A native born citizen must show govt issued picture ID, and a birth certificate, or a US issued passport. Then the CFI must endorse the logbook they they have inspected the document # etc.

 

The person must have been confused, or they charge $50 for the copy they mak???

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Ok, so I am stuck up here in Hartford for the weekend so I brought my flight gear to get some time in over at Northeast Helicopters. I called them up again to sign up as a student so I could at least get in some night (dual) time for my next check ride. Unfortunately they are closed for the holidays but I spoke with I believe the owner of the school. I asked her about the fees associated with becoming a student and she told me about a TSA fee. It's only $50 but I was surprised that the TSA was asking for it. I asked "What the TSA fee is" and she began to explain what the TSA is and a "TSA requirement" for any student registering for flight training must be subjected to a background check.

 

Now as part of full disclosure I am a FAA Safety representative and you would think I would know about something like this as I am one of the guys you go to for those sorts of questions. I know there is a requirement for alien non residents to go through the background check but not for citizens and especially not current pilots. I believe the only requirement is proof of citizenship (birth certificate, driver’s license, etc.). Anyone else hear of this? I called the TSA support line (which by the way is supposed to be staffed 24 hours a day) and got a machine asking me to leave a message. Anyone hear of the TSA requiring flight schools to do this? I have looked all over the TSA website and can't find anything besides the alien/nonresident rule.

 

 

US citizens are not required to have a background check. Just an identity check by the school or instructor with the requisite endorsement. Foreign students require a background check, and I think it costs way more than $50. It sounds to me like Northeast Helicopters might be one of those "not-so-reputable" flight schools.

 

Jeff

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My recollection is a foreign national must be, photographed, and fingerprinted and wait for TSA approval.

 

A native born citizen must show govt issued picture ID, and a birth certificate, or a US issued passport. Then the CFI must endorse the logbook they they have inspected the document # etc.

 

The person must have been confused, or they charge $50 for the copy they mak???

 

Well either they charge $50 for thier own background check and creating the student record and blame the fee on the TSA so no one questions the fee or they use really expensive paper in thier copy machine.

 

I also checked my log book and I do have a endorcement sticker signed by a CFI stating that I meet the requirement for us citizenship. I did not even know I had that. So what the heck is this TSA background check?

 

I went down to a local fixed wing school to get checked out in a 172 (dual ratings rock!) and they did not even check my license (pilot or drivers). And now I have a reservation to go fly the Hudson River tour New Years Eve. No fees beyond the hour rental and CFI time.

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I am currently up in hartford CT on business. I was looking to do some area scenic flights and keep current. I called over to Northeast Helicopters to see if I could rent an aircraft for an hour solo (after checkout of course) but unless I am a student, I can't rent. If I enroll as a student I can't take passengers. What gives? I have spoken with a couple of schools like this. I am a dual rated pilot (exArmy Aviation Oh-58), and anywhere I go I can rent fixed wing aircraft (after a brief checkout of couse) but almost every helicopter school won't rent unless I am enrolled as a student and then usually I can't take passengers until I have over 100 hours (which I have well over 1K) in their aircraft. It's not specificly an issue with me it seems they all have similar issues with pilots off the street. What's up with this? I passed all my FAA tests, No accidents or violations (so far knock wood) and I am a representitive for the FAA Safety Program. My mother even offered to write me a note saying I am a very nice boy. :lol: So what gives? Why do most schools not rent to rated pilots who did not take their training with them?

Permison

 

P.S. Anyone got a R22 they might be willing to rent to me in the Hartford CT area?

 

Try Sapoznik Aviation, Inc. at Ellington (7B9), 860/875-3236. Their number was on AOPA's website. I know nothing about them. You're better off to stay away from the "big schools" if you just want something to rent while out of town.

 

Jeff

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I'd like to offer some additional insight to this issue... from the perspective of a flight school owner.

 

Fixed-wing schools often split their revenue evenly between renters and flight training, while helicopter schools make almost all their revenue from flight training.

 

There is a market in people obtaining their private certificate in an airplane, then renting for years.

 

That market does not exist in helicopters, so the schools are often not setup to handle it.

 

Another issue to consider... Someone comes in off the street, the flight school owner doesn't know them, they get a "checkout" from a CFI saying they are good to go, then off they go to rent the helicopter and take someone flying.

 

Reward? Maybe $200 - $400 in rental fees, of which 20% might actually go to the school, for an actual net return of $40 - $80.

 

Risk? Destruction of the helicopter, increased insurance rates, and even the school forced out of business by lawsuits.

 

That $40 - $80 reward doesn't sound so nice for such a risk, considering it is a very minor part of the business, now does it?

 

-------------------

 

I understand that many renters simply do not understand this, and I take the time to explain it to people who ask about renting.

 

For what it is worth, I run a small flight school with 4 helicopters, and we do rent to people, including those who haven't trained with us.

 

I have considering not doing so, for the above risk/reward reasons. Rental not related to flight instruction accounts for less than 1% of our income.

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I'd like to offer some additional insight to this issue... from the perspective of a flight school owner.

 

Fixed-wing schools often split their revenue evenly between renters and flight training, while helicopter schools make almost all their revenue from flight training.

 

There is a market in people obtaining their private certificate in an airplane, then renting for years.

 

That market does not exist in helicopters, so the schools are often not setup to handle it.

 

Another issue to consider... Someone comes in off the street, the flight school owner doesn't know them, they get a "checkout" from a CFI saying they are good to go, then off they go to rent the helicopter and take someone flying.

 

Reward? Maybe $200 - $400 in rental fees, of which 20% might actually go to the school, for an actual net return of $40 - $80.

 

Risk? Destruction of the helicopter, increased insurance rates, and even the school forced out of business by lawsuits.

 

That $40 - $80 reward doesn't sound so nice for such a risk, considering it is a very minor part of the business, now does it?

 

-------------------

 

I understand that many renters simply do not understand this, and I take the time to explain it to people who ask about renting.

 

For what it is worth, I run a small flight school with 4 helicopters, and we do rent to people, including those who haven't trained with us.

 

I have considering not doing so, for the above risk/reward reasons. Rental not related to flight instruction accounts for less than 1% of our income.

 

Jehh,

Thanks for giving the point of view from the other side. I certainly can understand the risk involved for you and don’t blame you for not renting to just anyone off the street. However I would point out the risks you stated are the same risks fixed wing schools face. And I know the leaseback game and the average fixed wing leaseback is to break even if your lucky and to loose money if your not (not to mention the usual wear and tear from student pilots).

 

I also I don’t agree with your assessment that the renter market for helicopters does not exist. My home base for helicopter flying at Fredrick MD does pretty brisk business with their rental fleet beyond training. I know a few pilots who did not do their training there but are still allowed to rent aircraft (after a brief check out of course). I think the market is pretty big (in the small rotor wing community) for helicopter rentals but I don’t run a flight school and could not possibly consider myself equal to your knowledge in this arena. However I just find it hard to believe that one would spend all that money to learn to be a helicopter pilot and then not have the opportunity to keep current and take others for rides.

 

I am very fortunate to be a member of that small percentage who is not a professional helicopter pilot and just flies for fun. While I am disappointed that many places I go do not allow me to rent off the street, I can understand the reasons why. I happen to carry my own renters insurance through AOPA/AIG and it runs around 1K a year. Usually notifying the school or FBO gets me past the “off the street” concerns after a checkout flight.

 

What I have a problem with is a company hiding behind a made up TSA rule to charge for a fee, hence my post. I called my FAA boss (who of course was not working due to the holiday) and a few other close coworkers and friends who would be in the know to check out if it there is such a requirement from the TSA. No one I spoke to had heard of such a thing. All pointed to the TSA web site and to look for the rule on aliens and non citizen flight training requests. The school has nothing to do with that, the TSA does all the work and collects the money. I did call the TSA hotline for General Aviation Operators/Maintainers to get more info but it went straight to voicemail (which is a problem in and of itself)

 

Had the person I spoke to at Northeast just said there is a $50 fee to sign up new students I would have happily handed over my credit card. Heck $50 bucks is nothing when the aircraft is $190 an hour. But that’s not what happened, they alluded to the fee being something mandated by the TSA and possibly bent a few laws doing so. That raises all sorts of red flags with me. It is possible that a rule exists and if so I would be happy to post a very public apology. But I am having some difficulties finding anything to back it up.

 

Meanwhile I had a great flight in a fixed wing today, my “off the street” check out was only .6 on the hobbs, and no background check or fees to sign up beyond the hourly rate (And this was a Part 141 school). Tomorrow I am going to do the Hudson River tour with a date. Funny how different the two experiences were.

Jack

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A couple years ago, I was at the Charlotte County airport in Punta Gorda, FL, trying to rent an airplane (Piper Archer) for a sight-seeing pleasure flight. My checkout consisted of one trip around the pattern with the owner of the company and I was checked out. It was a pleasure doing business with them. I felt bad, however, because hurricaine Charlie came through later that year. He must have gotten his planes out of there because the company is still in business.

 

Every so often I go down around Oklahoma City for training for my job. Every time, I stop by Interstate Helicopters at Wiley Post airport to fly. That is my only "out-of-town" helicopter rental experience. They are a great group of people there at Interstate. I've never had any problems! All my flights have been dual because all they have for rental are R-22's and I don't have my PIC sign-off yet. However, they indicated to me that solo rental would not be a problem if I had the proper qualifications.

 

There's a helicopter company here in Cleveland that, rumor has it, doesn't want me flying their helicopter. I'm not sure why exactly; I haven't asked. I've never had any incidents or anything of the sort with them. I did all of my helicopter training there except my instrument rating and CFII, and that was because they don't have a CFII there with a schedule compatible with mine. I got those ratings from free-lance instructors I know. They have given me some grief when trying to do business there, but have never given any specific reasons.

 

I was out of town for a couple weeks in Detroit and had no problem getting an instructor for some R-22 time at KPTK. Again, all very nice people.

 

I guess it all depends where you go. I'm finding that the smaller "mom & pop" kind of places tend to be better and more people-oriented.

 

Jeff

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The insurance industry makes it very hard to rent helicopters to non school related pilots. We rent our Alouettes to pilots after they are checked out by our instructors. This usually takes from 3 to 5 hours. You MUST provide proof of citizenship with two forms of ID. This is the only requirement under the TSA that I know of.

Permison,

If you come to fly with us you need to make your job with the FAA a part of your introduction. Sounds like you have started a little investigation of NE Helicopters from your rental experience with them. I do not know the circumstances of your inquires to NE. On holiday or not, you are always a represenative of the Federal Government and the FAA. This becomes evident when you make reference to inquiring of your boss and co-workers. Maybe you need to be a little more up front when you make your calls. "I'm from the Government, I'm here to help you".

Bossman

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The insurance industry makes it very hard to rent helicopters to non school related pilots. We rent our Alouettes to pilots after they are checked out by our instructors. This usually takes from 3 to 5 hours. You MUST provide proof of citizenship with two forms of ID. This is the only requirement under the TSA that I know of.

Permison,

If you come to fly with us you need to make your job with the FAA a part of your introduction. Sounds like you have started a little investigation of NE Helicopters from your rental experience with them. I do not know the circumstances of your inquires to NE. On holiday or not, you are always a represenative of the Federal Government and the FAA. This becomes evident when you make reference to inquiring of your boss and co-workers. Maybe you need to be a little more up front when you make your calls. "I'm from the Government, I'm here to help you".

Bossman

 

Bossman,

Please let me be very clear here, I am not investigating Northeast in anyway other than questioning thier policies for renting aircraft. I was told something by the company that did not meet with my understanding of required regulations for flight schools. I am not representing the Government, I am not here to help anyone or get anyone in trouble, nor should it matter, I am not that kind of FAA representitive. I just questioned something told to me by the company. I did not like the answer I got back and posted here to see if anyone else had experience with the statement or the company to decide if I wanted to do business with them. I myself have no authority or capacity for enforcement of regulations, anything I would do would be advisory in nature only. I called my FAA "boss" only out of a search for knowledge on something I might not have been aware of and should have been. There is no investigation beyond my personal questioning of statements made by the company in relation to money being collected in the name of the TSA. If someone else wants to investigate based on this information I have no control over that. I am not required to notify anyone of my association with the FAA as a renter or during personal business. I stated my involvement here not as a threat to the company but to reinforce that I should know about fees that should be required by flight schools and was surprised by a statement of someone else who should know. If that statement turns out to be false then I just will not do business with them. Now the TSA might be interested to know if someone is claiming to collect money on their behalf.......but I am hopeful this will all turn out to be a misunderstanding.

 

Jack

 

By the way, I would love to come out and get checked out in your aircraft. The Alouette is a neat machine. And I promise to make sure you know everything you need before I rent with you.

Edited by permison

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Permison,

Be glad to have you. Come see us. MARPAT Aviation=Logan County Airport (6L4)=Logan, WV.=304-752-0094=7 days a week=daylight to dark and beyond. Come see us.

bossman

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Jehh,

Thanks for giving the point of view from the other side. I certainly can understand the risk involved for you and don’t blame you for not renting to just anyone off the street. However I would point out the risks you stated are the same risks fixed wing schools face. And I know the leaseback game and the average fixed wing leaseback is to break even if your lucky and to loose money if your not (not to mention the usual wear and tear from student pilots).

 

You are correct, fixed-wing schools face the same risks, however the percentage of rental business there is usually higher (at least it is around here), and thus that risk is spread across more flying.

 

I had someone walk into my office just last week who wanted to rent a helicopter from me. He is a former Army pilot with 1,500 hours of flight time, almost all of it in turbine helicopters. He had a grand total of 10 hours of piston time, all in the Schweizer. I told him our rental requirements are 50 hours make and model, plus a checkout, or 15 hours of dual with us. He wasn't happy about it, however if you think about it from my point of view, you wouldn't rent to him either.

 

I also I don’t agree with your assessment that the renter market for helicopters does not exist. My home base for helicopter flying at Fredrick MD does pretty brisk business with their rental fleet beyond training.

 

Fair enough... It doesn't exist to any great extent in Dallas, however I can only speak to that experience.

 

I'm curious, what kinds of helicopters do they rent, and to what purpose? (other than flying a friend around town, which is fun, but gets old after awhile)

 

However I just find it hard to believe that one would spend all that money to learn to be a helicopter pilot and then not have the opportunity to keep current and take others for rides.

 

The cost to do this is such that if you can really afford to stay current in a helicopter, you can afford to own one. If you fly a half dozen hours a month, you'll have spent about $1,500. How many people have that much disposable income to spend on such a hobby? Those that do, can usually afford a helicopter.

 

Then you run into the issue, what do you really do with a Schweizer 300 or a Robinson R-22? You can't land it off airport as a renter (we don't allow it, nor do most schools that I know of), so beyond taking friends and family flying for a tour, it has little practical value.

 

We do quite a bit of training for recreational pilots, most of whom either fly a dozen times taking all their friends up, then never fly again, or they buy a helicopter. I would like to see them fly more, however there isn't much to actually do with a helicopter, unless you own it.

 

While I am disappointed that many places I go do not allow me to rent off the street, I can understand the reasons why. I happen to carry my own renters insurance through AOPA/AIG and it runs around 1K a year. Usually notifying the school or FBO gets me past the “off the street” concerns after a checkout flight.

 

Renters insurance is a big plus to me... It tells me you're responsible, you plan ahead, and you can afford to be serious about your flying. I'd be happy to rent to you.

 

I did call the TSA hotline for General Aviation Operators/Maintainers to get more info but it went straight to voicemail (which is a problem in and of itself)

 

LOL! That is funny... and sad in a way...

 

Fly safe!

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Fellas-

Take a look at this... http://www.aopa.org/tsa_rule/

 

I think they were trying to hide behind the TSA Endorsement rule... And if the fees are only for Non US Citizens... Weak excuse.

 

I would rather a business owner be up front and honest with me regarding policies.

 

 

Permison-

Go get checked out at KHEF w/ American... They will rent to you....

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Fellas-

Take a look at this... http://www.aopa.org/tsa_rule/

 

I think they were trying to hide behind the TSA Endorsement rule... And if the fees are only for Non US Citizens... Weak excuse.

 

I would rather a business owner be up front and honest with me regarding policies.

Permison-

Go get checked out at KHEF w/ American... They will rent to you....

 

Hey Gunner! Hows married life treating you? Thanks for the suggestion about American but I have a place in VA (well MD) to rent. The problem is I am working in CT for a couple of months and commuting every week and wanted to fly during my off hours up there.

 

Thankfully I found Hummingbird Helicopters about half an hour from my office. I went and met Tonya there today and we talked about my joining the school. Seems like a great place and they have both Schwitzers and an R22 that might be available for me after all. And they have no weird problems with me renting thier aircraft for fun flights. So problem solved!

 

By the way I saw you signed up at Part61.org, Welcome! And thanks for the post!.

Jack

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Hey Gunner! Hows married life treating you? Thanks for the suggestion about American but I have a place in VA (well MD) to rent. The problem is I am working in CT for a couple of months and commuting every week and wanted to fly during my off hours up there.

 

Thankfully I found Hummingbird Helicopters about half an hour from my office. I went and met Tonya there today and we talked about my joining the school. Seems like a great place and they have both Schwitzers and an R22 that might be available for me after all. And they have no weird problems with me renting thier aircraft for fun flights. So problem solved!

 

By the way I saw you signed up at Part61.org, Welcome! And thanks for the post!.

Jack

 

 

Gotcha... Thought you were only up there for a few days... Glad all worked out and you're able to scratch the flying bug. Married life is well. She's out of town this weekend so I get to live it up!

 

part61.org is a cool site!

Andrew

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Well either they charge $50 for thier own background check and creating the student record and blame the fee on the TSA so no one questions the fee or they use really expensive paper in thier copy machine.

 

I also checked my log book and I do have a endorcement sticker signed by a CFI stating that I meet the requirement for us citizenship. I did not even know I had that. So what the heck is this TSA background check?

 

I went down to a local fixed wing school to get checked out in a 172 (dual ratings rock!) and they did not even check my license (pilot or drivers). And now I have a reservation to go fly the Hudson River tour New Years Eve. No fees beyond the hour rental and CFI time.

What I find as very amusing is that Premisom eludes that he is employed by the FAA. He uses his words cleverly as to represent himself as employed by the FAA when in fact if you read what he says, he is what used to be referred to as a safety counselor. Well ok, but calling someone on ethics when you are as guilty, well draw your own conclusions. If anyone want to be a safety counselor, walk into your local FSDO and ask to be one. Not much to it.

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What I find as very amusing is that Premisom eludes that he is employed by the FAA. He uses his words cleverly as to represent himself as employed by the FAA when in fact if you read what he says, he is what used to be referred to as a safety counselor. Well ok, but calling someone on ethics when you are as guilty, well draw your own conclusions. If anyone want to be a safety counselor, walk into your local FSDO and ask to be one. Not much to it.

 

What?! How do you get to me being guilty of ethics? 1st off, "NOT" anyone can become a safety representative. Call your FSDO and ask for specifics. 2nd, one of my responsibilities is to monitor activities at Airports for safety concerns, I think this qualifies. Reporting on potential safety issues and violations of the FARs is a considerable part of the role. 3rd, while I am not a paid employee with the FAA I do have a FAA manager I report to and am directed by, I am required to perform my duties as a FAA representative on a schedule, must "work" specific hour requirements per month, and I do have credentials which I am required to carry and show when performing the duties of my role in support of the FAA. The only thing missing is the low government pay. This is a role that was covered by paid FAA employees. A decision was made that the FAA is understaffed to properly meet the needs of the role and asked for volunteers from GA who are "qualified" to pitch in and help. There is a big difference between "your" perception of my role with the FAA and a company collecting money claiming its for a federal agency.

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What?! How do you get to me being guilty of ethics? 1st off, "NOT" anyone can become a safety representative. Call your FSDO and ask for specifics. 2nd, one of my responsibilities is to monitor activities at Airports for safety concerns, I think this qualifies. Reporting on potential safety issues and violations of the FARs is a considerable part of the role. 3rd, while I am not a paid employee with the FAA I do have a FAA manager I report to and am directed by, I am required to perform my duties as a FAA representative on a schedule, must "work" specific hour requirements per month, and I do have credentials which I am required to carry and show when performing the duties of my role in support of the FAA. The only thing missing is the low government pay. This is a role that was covered by paid FAA employees. A decision was made that the FAA is understaffed to properly meet the needs of the role and asked for volunteers from GA who are "qualified" to pitch in and help. There is a big difference between "your" perception of my role with the FAA and a company collecting money claiming its for a federal agency.

 

Permison,

 

You seem like a decent guy who has his heart in the right place in aviation. You shouldn't have to justify yourself like that to comments like that. Those things are best left ignored. My 2 cents.

 

Jeff

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