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  #1  
Old 04-16-2012, 09:33 PM
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Ironflight Ironflight is offline
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Default An Hour with My Friendly FSDO

Last week I was rummaging around my desk and ran across the application and letter of recommendation for the Repairman Certificate for our RV-3, licensed last December. I was in no rush to get it taken care of , since I really didn’t need it until it was time for the first Condition Inspection at the end of this year. But now I had a little extra time, so I threw it in my briefcase, hoping I’d remember to make an appointment with the Houston FSDO to get “Junior” added to my certificate (I already have a Repairman’s card listing my RV-8).

So last week I gave them a call, and was transferred to the chief maintenance inspector (“Bobbie” – never did get his last name). He took down my name, certificate number, the N-number of the airplane we were adding – and asked when next week I’d like to come in to the office. We settled on Monday afternoon at 1500, and he said that while he wouldn’t be there, he’d put it one of his guy’s calendars, and I was all set.

Interestingly enough, about two hours later, I got a phone call from “Bobbie, at the FAA” asking if we had an ELT on the RV-3. No, I told him, as a matter of fact, we didn’t, since it was a single seater. Well, he told me, I had better sit down with a copy of FAR 91.207, and not fly the airplane until I did, because, he said, all registered aircraft had to have an ELT to be airworthy, and there were no exceptions! Hmmm, I thought quickly, best to be polite, say “Yes Sir!”, and ask if I could call him back if I had any rather questions. (It was easy enough to temporarily “ground” the airplane – it’s taken apart at the paint shop! Well, it didn’t take long to bring up the whole FAR on my screen from the FAA web site, and even less to find the part that exempts airplanes equipped carry no more than one person.) I called him back, and politely questioned him about where I was reading it wrong – and sure enough, once I pointed out the right paragraph that he had missed, he apologized and said “well, you learn something every day!”

Odd phone call I thought – I couldn’t figure out what research he was doing that would pick on that one point – or was he testing my commitment to reading and understanding the regs? I had no idea, but was on my guard when I drove to the FSDO today. As it turned out, I had little to worry about. Armed with my application and DAR Mel’s letter of recommendation, along with some pictures showing me in the shop with bits and pieces of the -3, I met an older gentleman who was to be my examiner. It turned out that he’d only been at the FAA for a short time, and was still learning the ropes. My “examination" took about two minutes – he saw that I already had a repairman license, and the right paperwork, and got to work figuring out how he would add on my new airplane. This involved a number of trips to a back room to consult with some folks, because apparently this is not often done in the Houston FSDO.

Fortunately, another fine gentleman appeared, an Operations Inspector with tons of flying experience who apparently was happy to chat about airplanes (he is a homebuilder with a Hyperbipe, and had flown all the models of RV’s in his time – all expect the RV-1 of course…) instead of dealing with phone messages. It was a fun hour talking flying experiences while the mainenance inspector popped in and out, tried different things on the computer, and finally determined that he had to issue me a whole new Repairman’s certificate for the new airplane – he couldn't list more than one on a card – so I’ll actually have two cards with two different numbers (seems wasteful to me, but hey…I work for the guv’mint too, and understand Byzantine….). More typing and printing, more talking airplanes, a couple of handshakes, and we were done. A nice, relaxed and friendly hour spent at the FSDO, and a new temporary certificate in my pocket.

Before I left, I told them that I just had to ask about “Bobbie” and his question about ELT’s. They both kind of chuckled and said, well….sometimes, he just does things like that…..I guess it takes all types.

Paul
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Last edited by Ironflight : 04-17-2012 at 08:17 AM.
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  #2  
Old 04-16-2012, 09:43 PM
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kevinh kevinh is offline
 
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Default

Yep. The few times I had to deal with the Oakland FSDO for RV stuff they were the same way - super cool to deal with.
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  #3  
Old 04-16-2012, 09:49 PM
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RV8iator RV8iator is online now
 
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Default There as many different answers

as there are examiners at a FSDO.

I changed my N number a few years ago and made my appointment and trek to the ATL FSDO to get all my paper work changed.

I got my registration and my airworthiness certificate just fine, but when I asked about getting new Ops Limits John (name withheld) told me I didn't need them and would not issue new ones. Fine and dandy and off I go.

All's well for a couple years and about 30 ramp checks. Then, one FSDO man says I'm illegal to fly with mine showing the old N number. Well, say I, your boss, John would not issue me new OL's and how was I supposed to get them if the boss of HIS office would not do it. Hmmm.. he say's. OK, you can go fly..

Fast forward another year and 12 more ramp checks and once again, another ATL FSDO gentleman says, you have to get this fixed..

OK, but here's why they are not correct. Two more phone call's to ATL and I'm assured that I MAY have to have new OL's, but they'll get back to me.

In the meantime, I call my friendly DAR and explain all this to him and he's got my new paperwork completed before I can get the check written..

Now I'm 100 percent legal again and the FSDO folks are still trying to figure it all out.

I never ceased to be amazed at the differing opinions coming out of those 84,465 pages of FAR's that we are all supposed to know...
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  #4  
Old 04-16-2012, 10:00 PM
RV8R999 RV8R999 is offline
 
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Location: na
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Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by RV8iator View Post
as there are examiners at a FSDO.

I changed my N number a few years ago and made my appointment and trek to the ATL FSDO to get all my paper work changed.

I got my registration and my airworthiness certificate just fine, but when I asked about getting new Ops Limits John (name withheld) told me I didn't need them and would not issue new ones. Fine and dandy and off I go.

All's well for a couple years and about 30 ramp checks. Then, one FSDO man says I'm illegal to fly with mine showing the old N number. Well, say I, your boss, John would not issue me new OL's and how was I supposed to get them if the boss of HIS office would not do it. Hmmm.. he say's. OK, you can go fly..

Fast forward another year and 12 more ramp checks and once again, another ATL FSDO gentleman says, you have to get this fixed..

OK, but here's why they are not correct. Two more phone call's to ATL and I'm assured that I MAY have to have new OL's, but they'll get back to me.

In the meantime, I call my friendly DAR and explain all this to him and he's got my new paperwork completed before I can get the check written..

Now I'm 100 percent legal again and the FSDO folks are still trying to figure it all out.

I never ceased to be amazed at the differing opinions coming out of those 84,465 pages of FAR's that we are all supposed to know...
You've had 42 ramp checks? Please tell me this is in connection with your airshow stuff and not just everyday flying? If it is just everyday flying tell us where you are going and when so we can go the other way!
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  #5  
Old 04-16-2012, 10:13 PM
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DanBaier DanBaier is offline
 
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Location: Rochester NY
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Default FSIMS

That's where they're supposed to get the guidance (this is where the policies and procedures are) - see http://fsims.faa.gov/PICResults.aspx?mode=EBookContents .

Your conversations with the FSDO staff can be fun if you've dug through this and can cite sections of this document in support of what you want to do.

For example - see Volume 5, Chapter 5, Section 5.

Dan
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  #6  
Old 04-16-2012, 10:29 PM
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rvbuilder2002 rvbuilder2002 is offline
 
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Default So that's why....

People keep calling them conditional inspections...
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  #7  
Old 04-17-2012, 06:33 AM
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rocketbob rocketbob is offline
 
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Default

You will never find finer examples of incompetence in government than at your local FSDO. I've got so many stories that I don't have hours to type them all. There are some good ones but they're few and far between, and a lot of those guys are retiring. Paul if this was at the Ft. Worth FSDO I've had one ridiculous experience with them where I had to physically show up at the FSDO to literally "present myself". I'm not kidding! I spent a total of 30 seconds in the office meeting the inspector on duty. It took longer to get thru the layers of security they have.
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Last edited by rocketbob : 04-17-2012 at 06:36 AM.
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  #8  
Old 04-17-2012, 08:19 AM
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RV8iator RV8iator is online now
 
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Location: Saint Simons Island , GA
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Default I would quit flying

Quote:
Originally Posted by RV8R999 View Post
You've had 42 ramp checks? Please tell me this is in connection with your airshow stuff and not just everyday flying? If it is just everyday flying tell us where you are going and when so we can go the other way!
Yeah, it was all Airshow stuff. I've beem ramp checked exactly one time out in the real world and that was with the air lines.
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  #9  
Old 04-17-2012, 08:36 AM
tjyak50 tjyak50 is offline
 
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Location: Phoenix, AZ
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Default

Funny you mention the ELT thing, when the FSDO guy came to reinspect my Yak we had a similar, almost comical, exchange.

Looking through my logs: You don't have an ELT inspection, do you have an ELT, Where is your ELT paperwork? "Nah, I don't have one" I said casually. He thought for a few minutes and asked if there was any reason I didn't have one? "Not really, just don't". A few minutes later he opined I too was grounded, illegal, not safe for operation blah.

I remineded him: "Its a single seat airplane, no ELT required"

Oh, right I forgot, But you know you can't take any passengers!! he warned.
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  #10  
Old 04-17-2012, 09:33 AM
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Chino Tom Chino Tom is offline
 
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Default Must not see many repeat offenders

I too had a minor problem getting a second repairmans cert. They tried
to combine my -6 cert with my -8a. When I called asking why the new
hard copy had not arrived, they (Riverside FSDO) realised the problem.
After another trip, it was resolved. Now I have two.
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