Friday, June 24, 2016

Last Night: Risk Management With The FAA, And The ACS Changes The Private Pilot MCA Standard

The flight school I attend hosted a FAA Safety Team seminar on risk management and the new FAA compliance policy.

The Aviation Safety Inspector giving the impression was quite a personable guy and is quite an accomplished pilot himself - both GA and commercial.

There was a good look at risk management and setting personal minimums as well as the most likely risks that can be mitigated by following checklists and paying attentions and not rushing through things.

Lots of good stories and relevant examples and I learned a lot.

He then went over the new compliance policy, which basically gives FAA Inspectors tools other than suspension of your certificate if you inadvertently break a regulation. If you do it intentionally the program is not going to help you. But, it is a good safety valve for unintentional mishaps, especially with its focus on learning from the error - both for the persons involved in the incident and the aviation community as a whole to prevent recurrences. In short, it seems like a very worthwhile initiative to help pilots improve, fox their mistakes, and communicate their errors rather than try to hide them until disaster strikes.

As you might suspect, attitude is going to matter in regards to the compliance philosophy and a good attitude towards safety and the program will help you, and as is true in the world at large, being a reckless jerk will not.

One very interesting thing I learned at the seminar is s change that has been announced for the Private Pilot test now that the ACS has come out. My instructor learned about it the same time I did. The document, titled Subject: ACS Focus Team Slow Flight and Other FAQs just changed how we are supposed to do slow flight on the private pilot test.

Here's a video on how slow flight was done and tested until this guidance was given.

Under the ACS, for the minimum controllable airspeed portion, they now do not want the stall horn to be going off.

That's different considering up until now everyone has trained private pilots that MCA means the stall horn is blaring and you're keeping the plane under control at minimum controllable airspeed. This will take some re-figuring and retraining as a result. Now they want 5-10 knots above stall speed without stall horn activation rather than the previous 3-5 knots above stall speed. That doesn't sound like a lot but it's a big difference. The reason given is that the FAA does not want to teach intentional disregard of the stall warning while maneuvering and that the teaching of slow flight characteristics can be done at the above stall horn speed.

That's a very big change indeed.

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