Aviation for Women

SEP-OCT 2018

Aviation for Women is the flagship member publication of Women in Aviation International. Articles feature women who have made aviation history, professional development ideas, and current-topic articles.

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40 AviationforWomen S E P T E M B E R / O C T O B E R 2 0 1 8 The FAA's New Rule on ATD Use for Proficiency M E G G O D L E W S K I W hat does the FA A's new take on the use of Aviation Training Devices to maintain IFR proficiency mean to you? It could mean a great deal, es- pecially if you are like this client who earned his instrument certificate in 2010. It had been four months since the client had exercised his privileges by flying under IFR. Per FAR 61.57 (c), pilots who wish to keep their in- strument privileges need to perform and log at least six instrument approaches and practice holds and intercepting tracking courses through the use of navigation systems every six months. Since the weather was poor, the client booked the school's simulator, an ATD, and an instruc- tor for two hours. The regulation required the presence of the CFI. The client resented having to pay the CFI to "ride along in the sim" while he re- gained currency. His view was because it was not training, he did not "need" the CFI. Apparently, the FA A shares that thinking as it has changed the rules on ATD use for instrument currency. Effective July 27, 2018, pilots are allowed to do the six approaches, tracking courses, and holds using the devices without the presence of a CFI. According to the background information pro- vided with the rule change, the FAA reasons that proficiency flights are not training, and therefore a CFI need not be present. The rule will do more than save the f lying community money. The FAA and other aviation associations note if it's less expensive to maintain proficiency, it is likely more pilots will do so, thus making flying safer. The greatest challenge with the new rule is it will require a change in the mindset of most FBOs and flight schools that have ATDs. Most require a CFI be present when the device is being operated, because the startup, pro- gramming, and shutdown procedures can be challenging. A mistake results in damage to ex- pensive equipment. ATDs can cost from $30,000 to as much as $110,000. To avoid equipment damage, I recommend the school offer the pilot a one-hour checkout for the ATD—similar to those done for aircraft rental. The client should receive instruction on the ATD startup, programming, and shutdown. It would be helpful to have an illustrated manual next to the ATD to reference each step and include a telephone number for tech support. There should also be a section that deals with malfunctions such as computer freezes and crashes, and their pre- vention. Provide an open-book knowledge test to go with the ATD checkout. The emphasis should be on the basics, startup, calibration if necessary, light troubleshooting, such as computer freezes, and the all-important shutdown. Although the FA A does not require a signoff for the use of ATDs, each business that uses ATDs might want to come up with a signoff so they can be sure the equipment is respected, or at least make a note in the client's training or rental file that they have been "checked out" in the ATD. The big concern, of course, is that the equipment will be mistreated, either by a lack of understand- ing, or just plain foolishness. Just as aircraft have limitations, so do ATDs. The new rule will likely encourage f light schools to keep the ATD's software up to date— very often the software updates and ATD main- tenance are a low priority because ATDs do not bring the same revenue that aircraft do. If you fly the ATD by yourself for currency, you must keep careful records. Without a CFI to pro- vide a logbook entry for the flight, it is up to the client to record his or her own proficiency flight. The logbook entry should contain the type of the ATD, the location of the ATD, (i.e., "Bob's Flight School, KXYZ"), and the ATD's serial number, and the number and type of approaches and ma- neuvers completed. The concern that some pilots might falsify their logbooks to show proficiency training is addressed by asking flight schools to keep records of who used the ATD and how long, so if a question arises there is information to back up the client's logbook. To make the most of your ATD experience, plan an IFR flight just like you would in the real world. For an extra challenge, select an approach out of your approach binder and sight-read it. Put your- self in a density altitude situation or in cross- winds that you would be reluctant to venture into in the real world. Program an icing encounter, or an instrument failure. If you find a soft spot in your skill set, make an appointment with a CFII for some dual. It may save your life someday. ✈ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Meg Godlewski, WAI 8165, is a seven-time Master CFI and an active instructor. The FAA and other aviation associations note if it's less expensive to maintain proficiency, it is likely more pilots will do so, thus making flying safer. T I P S F R O M A C F I

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