July 2008 Issue

Are Some FAA Flight Regulations Too Lax?

The FAA allows pilots lots of leeway in its regulations but many times we shouldn’t take it.

There’s no way the FAA can come up with a regulation covering every possible scenario, which is a good thing. If they did, we’d rarely be able to roll our airplanes out of their hangars except on the clearest of days when no airliners were about. So, the FARs set certain minimum standards for pilots and once we determine we’re in compliance, it’s up to us to decide if the proposed operation is safe, morally acceptable and non-fattening. Or something like that. Frequently what we want to do complies with both the FARs’ letter and spirit. Sometimes it’s borderline; certainly legal but safe only if everything goes our way and nothing on the airplane breaks. And then, there are occasions when the proposed operation is both legal but really not smart.

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