Last post.

by Chuck Stanley

I am advising Professor Turley that I am out of here. There have been profound changes in my life this past week, and I no longer wish to play.

I will not be reading, nor responding, to any comments. If any are addressed to me, you will be talking to yourself. If this does not make sense to you, you can find my writings on Daily Kos (as Otteray Scribe) and Flowers for Socrates.

Have a nice day.

The FAA and NTSB vs. Common Sense: Part Deux

by Charlton (Chuck) Stanley, weekend writer

FAA logoLast August, I wrote a blog post entitled The FAA and NTSB vs. Common Sense. The reader can save time by going back and reading that post at the link, because it sets out the main premises of this article.

The FAA has been under growing pressure from all segments of the aviation community to relax the standards for a Third Class medical certificate. This pressure has come from recreational pilots, manufacturers of aircraft and aircraft components, small airport operators, and small businesses. Part of the reason for this pressure is that general aviation is slowly dying.

When the FAA was created, their primary mission was to promote aviation. That includes making it safe and affordable for the flying public. However, the FAA, being bureaucrats who hate to give up power and control once it is in their grasp, asked for comments on a proposed rule change.

That was back in 2009. The initial proposal was denied in 2010. The proposed rule was resurrected, but the FAA has been slow-walking the changes–for more than five years. There has been virtually no progress toward doing away with the Third Class Medical certificate.
Last year, while being questioned, FAA officials made some vague concessions, but would not be specific.

Instead of promoting aviation, I have come to the conclusion that some segments of the FAA resemble a certain character in the Dilbert comic strip; Mordac, the Preventer of Information Services, also known as Mordac the Refuser.

Exasperated, several members of the bipartisan House and Senate Aviation Caucus introduced H.R. 3708: The General Aviation Pilot Protection Act of 2013 (GAPPA). S2103, an identical measure, was introduced in the Senate.

This year, we have a new Congress, and the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act 2 was introduced in the House (H.R. 1062) and the Senate (S.571) last Thursday, Feb. 25, 2015. GAPPA-2 will protect general aviation pilots from liability on charitable flights, extend legal protections to FAA representatives, and require FAA contractors to provide information under Freedom of Information Act requests.

A group of aviation industry leaders sent identical letters to the Senators and Representatives who introduced the GAPPA-2 bills in Congress this week.

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Honorable Carlton W. Reeves gives epic lecture from the bench before sentencing three Mississippi men for the 2011 lynching of a black man

by Charlton (Chuck) Stanley, weekend blogger:

SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI_color3In the summer of 2011, James Craig Anderson, an African-American man, was the victim of one of the most brutal murders one could imagine. It was all caught on security cameras in a parking lot in Jackson, Mississippi. Ten white teenagers, motivated by blood lust and blind hatred of black people, set out to find someone to kill.  They went to Jackson, MS, which they called, “Jafrica'” Their paths crossed that of James Craig Anderson that evening.

 

The crime is well documented, and those security camera videos are horrific. I am not going to embed them here. If the morbidly curious want to see them, they exist if you know where to look. This post is not about the single murder, but about a single Federal District Court Judge. The Honorable Carlton Reeves presides over his courtroom for the Southern District of Mississippi. He is the second African-American to be appointed to the Federal District Court in Mississippi. The other is Judge Henry Wingate, who was appointed by Ronald Reagan.

 

Last Tuesday, February 10, 2015, Judge Reeves pronounced sentence on three of the convicted killers. It was a long speech. He told them to sit down while he read what has been called an “unflinching account” of Mississippi’s troubled past, making a direct connection between that past to the three defendants before him.

 

Judge Reeves’ sentencing remarks are reproduced in their entirety below the fold. He is blunt, honest, and willing to look into the abyss of Mississippi’s history. It is worth reading.

 

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FAA makes medical certification rule mandating sleep apnea testing.

By Charlton Stanley, Weekend Writer

FAA logoLast year, in a virtually unprecedented move, the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Aerospace Medicine ordered that all pilots who applied for a medical certificate would have their Body Mass Index (BMI) calculated. If the BMI was 40 or greater, a sleep study became mandatory in order for the medical certificate to be granted. In other words, the pilot has to prove he or she does not have Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).

This announcement of new rules bypassed completely a request for comments from the public, which is mandated by law. One day the rule did not exist, the next day there was a new rule requiring horrendously expensive and intrusive testing by a board certified specialist in sleep studies.

It got worse. The policy, published in the Federal Air Surgeon’s Medical Bulletin, Vol. 51, No. 4, goes on to say, “Airman applicants with a BMI of 40 or more will have to be evaluated by a physician who is a board certified sleep specialist, and anyone who is diagnosed with OSA (obstructive sleep apnea) will have to be treated before they can be medically certificated.” The kicker? The order makes it clear the standard will eventually be expanded to include pilots with an even lower BMI, whether they have any history of daytime sleepiness or sleep disorder. The order is based on BMI alone.

The FAA does not provide any accident or statistical data to justify this extraordinary rulemaking at all. Why? Because there isn’t any.

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The FAA vs. Model Airplanes

By Charlton Stanley, weekend writer

FAA logoAlmost everyone likes model airplanes. Kids and adults have been building model flying machines for centuries. In fact, the Wright brothers experimented with model helicopters as well as fixed wing airplanes. I built my first model when I was nine years old. It was a Guillow’s kit of a Grumman TBF Avenger, the same plane flown by Lt. George H. W. Bush during WW-2. It is amazing to me the same kit is still in production, although a bit more pricey than when my dad bought mine.

When Congress passed the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, they carved out an exemption for model airplanes and aeromodeling in general. As passed by Congress, §336 prohibits the FAA from promulgating any new rule or regulation regarding model aircraft, or an aircraft being developed as a model aircraft …” The law does specify that certain requirements must be met for an aircraft to qualify as a model airplane. However, that did not deter the FAA in its quest to amass more power over anything that can get off the ground higher than the Administrator can jump. After all, the space between the trees in your backyard, the local park, or your model flying club IS airspace, and they see their job as controlling airspace, dammit! All of it.

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Bleed on a Ferguson police officer? Get charged with destruction of public property. Oh My!

By Charlton S. Stanley, Weekend writer

We should have seen this coming. I believe it is going to get worse before it gets better, if ever. At some point there is going to be a “pitchforks and torches” backlash.

Ferguson MO logoIt may be starting in Ferguson, MO. Take a look at one of the latest stories to come out of there. It’s sad that we have to look overseas to get reliable and up to date news about what is happening in the good ol’ US of A. Because of the great sucking sound that is the US corporate mainstream media, people who want to get a more balanced read on the news check sites such as Al Jazerra, The Guardian, RT, The Epoch Times, and Der Spiegel.

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The FAA and NTSB vs. Common Sense and (a few members) of Congress — Updated.

By Charlton Stanley, weekend writer

FAA logoThe Federal Aviation Administration issues medical certificates for pilots. There are three levels of medical certificates. Class I, Class II and Class III. The most stringent is the Class I. That is an extremely rigorous medical standard, and must be renewed every six months. This level of certification is for Air Transport Pilots who haul airliners full of passengers. The Class II is for all other commercial pilots. Not as stringent as Class I, but still quite high standards. The Class III medical is for private pilots, and is good for two years. The Class III medical examination is still a strict examination. One of the requirements is to fill out a list of EVERY doctor’s visit not already reported.  That means every visit to your family doctor for anything from a runny nose or worse. Do as I did a couple of weeks ago. Gashed my thumb on a piece of glass, and went to the emergency room for some stitches. Required to report that? Oh, yes indeed!

That application form is submitted to the FAA “Under Penalty of Perjury,” so errors of both commission and omission can and do result in draconian penalties.  One thing that sets off alarms at the FAA is a visit to a psychiatrist or psychologist. Many veterans have not sought treatment for combat related stress problems for fear of losing their license. I know a number of former Vietnam and Desert Storm combat pilots whom I suspect suffer from untreated PTSD in silence because they know if they see a VA psychologist or psychiatrist, a PTSD diagnosis is a license killer.  Yet, some of these pilots have been flying safely since the 1960s.

The requirements for passing a Third Class medical are the least strict, but are nevertheless stringent, especially if the pilot reports having sought mental health counseling.

Several years ago, in 2004, the FAA created a new class of pilot called Sport Pilot. Sport Pilots and are not required to have a Third Class medical certificate. A current and valid driver’s license will suffice. A Sport Pilot’s license is required to fly a light sport aircraft (LSA), but doesn’t need a medical certificate. A state issued driver’s license is sufficient. A Sport Pilot may not fly aircraft exceedomg the limits set by the LSA rule.

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