Busting the Regs
I’ll weigh in on Larry Anglisano’s commentary on pilots ignoring FAA regulations (May 2016 Aviation Consumer). The social contract results in the people obeying the laws, when the laws respect the people. Prohibition is the perfect example for when this agreement failed.
Zealots imposed their ascetic dogma on the population, who did not want their lifestyles constricted. Utter disregard for this law ensued, which resulted in a generalized breakdown of respect for all laws, with consequential corruption and crime.
Similarly, when the FAA imposes rules that have no foundation or scientific basis that they improve safety, but exist solely to restrict the freedom of pilots, they will be ignored and the FAA perceived as a sanctimonious tyrant, rather than a respected promoter of safety.
For example, the arbitrary restriction of LSA weight to 1320 pounds has perhaps made these aircraft too light and flimsy to be as safe as they should and with too little useful load to fly two pilots. As you pointed out in your series of articles on Carbon Cubs and Super Legend HPs, most LSAs are flown overweight, especially when they’re engineered as EAB planes to have gross weights of 1800 pounds.
The requirement of a third class medical, which has been shown to provide absolutely no safety enhancement over a drivers license medical, has disenfranchised many private pilots, hurting general aviation.
Yes, pilots are developing a general disregard for all regs—including the good ones—to the detriment of all.
Forest Hills, New York
You stated the obvious in your last issue’s First Word commentary about pilots blowing off the regulations. I have to agree with the fellow reader who thinks older pilots are inclined to do what they want. I’ve witnessed more than one senior at my local airport do just that over the years. Luckily they don’t fly any longer, but I wasn’t the only one who believed they were flying (one in a high-performance twin) without a medical.
I don’t care if dishonest pilots like this break the rules—human nature happens—just don’t kill me and my passengers in the process.
Garmin 660 Weather
That was a tantalizing teaser about the new Garmin aera 660 portable GPS in the sidebar in the April 2016 issue of Aviation Consumer.
It’s worth noting that it apparently doesn’t (yet?) receive XM weather data. That’s odd, since all of Garmin’s recent predecessors came with an XM antenna/receiver module in the box and displayed XM satellite weather data from the beginning.
ADS-B weather may eventually render XM-delivered weather obsolete, but given its limitations so far, it hasn’t yet, particularly for those of us who rely on a Garmin portable GPS as a backup to a panel-mount GPS and ADS-B capability.
Stephen D Leonard
We’re planning a full review of the Garmin aera 660 in an upcoming issue. In the meantime, we asked Garmin about the lack of XM capability on the current 660 and they told us customers can expect an SXM (SiriusXM) weather and entertainment solution on the device later this year.
Who Can Install ADS-B?
I find your ADS-B coverage very informative, but I have a question that’s never been answered: Can an A&P with an IA rating install an ADS-B Out Mode S transponder in a Part 23 certified aircraft, or does it absolutely need to be installed by an avionics shop?
As long as the ADS-B system (including an ADS-B Out transponder) has an STC and the aircraft is on the AML (approved model list) there shouldn’t be any reason why an A&P with IA privileges can’t do the install, sign it off in the logbooks, create a flight manual supplement, plus update the aircraft weight and balance and equipment list.
From a regulatory standpoint, an avionics shop generally signs off an installation under its FAA repair station certificate, while an IA signs it off with his or hew own certificate.
But, it’s worth mentioning that the transponder will need to be tested and certified per FAR 91.413. Few maintenance shops have the required (and calibrated) equipment to do this. That’s why the task is usually left for an avionics shop to tackle.
Last, given the level of avionics integration that generally exists during the installation, you’ll want to be sure the A&P has current installation manuals, is qualified with a manufacturer-approved dealership and has the ability to upgrade software to make it all play.