Sorry if I derail this thread a tiny bit for a few minutes...
Keith, just for entertainment and as proof how aggressive and paranoid people are when it comes to anything that has to do with testing and the FAA, I commented on a thread on another forum which currently discusses the DPE/ DME examiner designee revocation drama up in AK affecting no less than 151 A&P Mechanics. Those people were examined by a DME who was now found to be deficient, causing exams he had issued to be subjected to FAA mandated retesting.
I made a unscientific statement that I believe that only 1 in 5 cases ever escalate enough to cause a serious dent in the money making machine and that the problem stems not from the FAA's incompetence, but from open corruption and a fully developed integrity problem our industry seems to suffer from.
There was no usable or halfway intelligent response to what I wrote, beyond: "jjbaker, which branch of the FAA are you with?"
Now, from a money making perspective, someone with 2500 dollars of cash (plus a healthy checkride fee) in hand is a welcome thing when you're running a seaplane flight school. If that student is an "accomplished pilot and CFI" with lots of experience and stories to tell, besides maybe being an attorney, capable of arguing a cow into laying eggs, the show may be mostly pre-canned. Chances are, this pilot will not operate all too many seaplanes, certainly not solo and will likely complete insurance mandated "further training" of boring 25 hours of holes into the sky with a CFI before being let loose on the public... Whats the real vs. perceived risk?
A instructor worth their salt will not endorse or sign for the competency of a pilot who performs critical configuration changes on the fly and skips the checklist.Right?
Problem # 1
- The particular student was
signed off nevertheless - either because the behavior was not observed during the likely short training, or it was ignored. I guess this could happen in any seaplane training outfit, small or large student numbers and rather independent from the type of airplane used.
Problem # 2
- The particular student exhibited this activity during a checkride, which could have not possibly been performed according to published PTS and would have been a straight fail if this exam had been under supervision or conducted by the FAA. The examiner violated pretty much every single rule in the Examiner Handbook and god only knows what else was never or insufficiently tested. Who's there to tell?
The only time we see things like this are when they are talked about. I sat on a table with 4 DPE's of whom all are worried about people saying or writing too much after the exam and/ or instruct their applicants to explain that every single item in the PTS was tested and done. One of them has a "no writeup" brief that he gives to people. The FAA now does the calling game, calling student and examiner to compare checkride stories and determine if the story rhymes.
Problem # 3 & 4 are equals, everything remains as it is, primarily because the FAA is NOT aware, hence cannot enforce.
Even if Joe Blow took the effort to make this case known or bring it up the ladder, the result would likely be - NIL. Simple matter of MANPOWER.
Where things get hairy and nasty, is when our advocacy organizations argue their case by referring to very high standards in seaplane training and certification which carries the seal of the Federal Aviation Administration. Whoopdif....ingdoo!
Boaters are often non certified, could be under the influence or otherwise deranged without government mandated oversight or medicals. Supposedly, boaters are more dangerous than seaplane pilots. Who is willing to fully vouch for the integrity of our training and certification standards, if there are no real standards? A seaplane rating done by one of the mills, who do cramp 6 students per day through the game must by definition be different than one conducted by OldGrumpy in Alaska who hasn't landed on a "safe lake" in the last 29 years. The rats tail comes far behind today and its little lies like this who will bite us in the ass in the end.
I am sure one of the "experts" will soon figure out which branch of the FAA I work for. Honestly, its such a cool thing when you can run a website for seaplanes for 5 years and if you went to any aviation event in the world, not a single person could remotely tell who the hell you are or what you do. Underdog vs. Superstar syndrome. Being a nobody is awesome!
Its almost like being Mr. Anonymous, which comes with tremendous benefits...