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Thread: AC 90-116 Second Pilot Phase I

  1. #1

    AC 90-116 Second Pilot Phase I

    If you are building a gyroplane and hope to be flying your Phase I flight test 40 hours soon, you might want to review a new FAA Advisory Circular AC 90-116. This is a new advisory that allows a second pilot when flying some of the flight test hours - to be safer. But, it has a catch - doesn't work for gyroplanes!

    A couple years ago, the NTSB suggested to the FAA that there were too many accidents in E-AB aircraft. One of their suggestions was to allow an experienced pilot to fly along with the new builder pilot (BP) in the Phase I flight test period - a large percentage of E-AB accidents happen during the initial Phase I flight hours where the rules basically encourage the new or less experienced pilot to fly his/her own test flight hours - SOLO.

    Both EAA Sport Pilot (Nov 2014) and now Kitplanes (Dec 2014) magazines have published announcements of this new, approved AC. On the surface, this would seem like a good move..... But, not so much for the world of gyroplanes.

    I sent the following Letter to the Kitplanes Editor on this subject - also sent a similar letter to the EAA Editor:

    I didn't know there was a limit to posts. Here's the article:

    Article: Souls On Board:
    In my opinion, this is another glaring example of FAA fixed wing tunnel vision “solutions” missing the safety mark for gyroplanes. The NTSB rightly pointed out the accident potentials during Phase 1 test flights for E-AB aircraft. However, the AC misses a big mark. It requires that the Builder/Owner already have a Category/Class rating in the aircraft type. That is fine for FW rated pilots transitioning to a different FW type – even if that might mean getting their FW rating in a certified airplane first. But, owners/builders of gyroplanes (only E-AB available), often do not have the required gyroplane rating, and cannot meet the solo experience requirements for a gyroplane rating! This is especially a regulatory conundrum for students seeking an initial pilot rating for gyroplanes. Unless you own your own gyroplane first, you cannot accumulate the required gyroplane solo hours. And, you can’t fly your own gyroplane at all until it finishes its 40 Phase I flight test hours! Owners/builders requiring training or transition into a gyroplane especially need transition training into that aircraft by an instructor familiar with that aircraft. Since this is not allowed under the new AC intended to minimize such risks, that owner/builder still has few options to either achieve the required certification, or fly off the required 40 Phase 1 flight test hours. This is exacerbated further for initial student pilots because the regulations make accumulating the required solo flight hours for an initial rating impossible – can’t rent Instructor’s E-AB gyroplane and can’t fly your own gyroplane until someone else flies the 40 hours for you! The solution would have been to allow second pilot/instructor, after initial flight testing by the qualified test pilot, to prepare and solo the owner/builder/student in their gyroplane to then allow that owner/builder to fly their remaining 40 Phase 1 flight test hours under the authorized instructor’s endorsement. The tempting alternative, when rules prevent compliance with the rules, is to stretch the intent of the rules. This FAA oversight of the gyroplane world again further exacerbates the gyroplane safety issues that we are trying so hard to improve.

    Anyone have any suggestions how to get the required solo hours for a gyroplane rating? You can't fly in the gyroplane you just built until someone flies off the 40 hours for you. You can't rent your instructor's E-AB gyroplane. Instructors can't get insurance to cover students flying solo - even if it is for free! Can you say "screwed up"?

    Thanks, Greg
    Last edited by JOHN ROUNTREE 41449; 01-02-2015 at 04:48 PM.

  2. #2

    AC 90-116 continued

    I didn't know there was a limit to posts. Here's the article:

    Article: Souls On Board – December 2014

    In my opinion, this is another glaring example of FAA fixed wing tunnel vision “solutions” missing the safety mark for gyroplanes. The NTSB rightly pointed out the accident potentials during Phase 1 test flights for E-AB aircraft. However, the AC misses a big mark. It requires that the Builder/Owner already have a Category/Class rating in the aircraft type. That is fine for FW rated pilots transitioning to a different FW type – even if that might mean getting their FW rating in a certified airplane first. But, owners/builders of gyroplanes (only E-AB available), often do not have the required gyroplane rating, and cannot meet the solo experience requirements for a gyroplane rating! This is especially a regulatory conundrum for students seeking an initial pilot rating for gyroplanes. Unless you own your own gyroplane first, you cannot accumulate the required gyroplane solo hours. And, you can’t fly your own gyroplane at all until it finishes its 40 Phase I flight test hours! Owners/builders requiring training or transition into a gyroplane especially need transition training into that aircraft by an instructor familiar with that aircraft. Since this is not allowed under the new AC intended to minimize such risks, that owner/builder still has few options to either achieve the required certification, or fly off the required 40 Phase 1 flight test hours. This is exacerbated further for initial student pilots because the regulations make accumulating the required solo flight hours for an initial rating impossible – can’t rent Instructor’s E-AB gyroplane and can’t fly your own gyroplane until someone else flies the 40 hours for you! The solution would have been to allow second pilot/instructor, after initial flight testing by the qualified test pilot, to prepare and solo the owner/builder/student in their gyroplane to then allow that owner/builder to fly their remaining 40 Phase 1 flight test hours under the authorized instructor’s endorsement. The tempting alternative, when rules prevent compliance with the rules, is to stretch the intent of the rules. This FAA oversight of the gyroplane world again further exacerbates the gyroplane safety issues that we are trying so hard to improve.

    Anyone have any suggestions how to get the required solo hours for a gyroplane rating? You can't fly in the gyroplane you just built until someone flies off the 40 hours for you. You can't rent your instructor's E-AB gyroplane. Instructors can't get insurance to cover students flying solo - even if it is for free! Can you say "screwed up"?

    Thanks, Greg
    Last edited by Greg Gremminger 21336; 01-02-2015 at 11:22 AM. Reason: cuts off most of post - or italics do not work!

  3. #3
    This is bitter sweet Greg. I'm sure it will come up several times this year. It's a bummer the FAA always seems to leave us out in the cold.

    I hope to see you at Mentone.

    I will see about getting longer post.
    Last edited by BRENT DRAKE 38604; 01-02-2015 at 04:05 PM. Reason: Spell

  4. #4
    PRA Secretary JOHN ROUNTREE 41449's Avatar
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    Hi Greg and Brent!

    It is not a length problem; as I just copied and pasted what Greg wrote in the 2nd post and added it to the end marketing it one article.

    Greg if the 1st post is everything, please audit.

    Then you might wish to delete the 2nd post?

    Sorry for the inconvenience, but thank you for discovering special characters will truncate the members posting.

    Great to talk to you on the phone and thank you for stepping up to be one of our experts. I've learned so much from you and everything you have written!
    Last edited by JOHN ROUNTREE 41449; 01-02-2015 at 04:53 PM. Reason: spell

  5. #5
    Greg,
    I to want to thank you for agreeing to be one of our experts and share your knowledge with people here on our forum. Your articles that I have read in the past have made a major difference to me as I tried to understand how Gyroplanes fly. You certainly have a depth of understanding and an ability to share your thoughts in a way that we mere mortals can understand. Thank you for all you do for our sport.
    Doug Barker
    PRA Pres.

  6. #6
    PRA Secretary JOHN ROUNTREE 41449's Avatar
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    Greg's articles have taught me more than any other author about gyroplanes.

    He knows this so well he can explain in the simplest terms where even I can instantly understand!

    Greg is also the PRA Representative with the FAA and has been working then in your behalf for years.

    To say we have the best experts and are so fortunate to have Greg as a PRA member and he and Stephanie are the best friends you could have too.

    Thank you Greg for all you have done and all you are doing for us today!!!!

    Greg is one of my superheroes!!! There are not many of those..

    The above is just for newbies so you may know who is who in the zoo!

    Anyone who has been around for only 4 years as I have knows who Greg is!
    Last edited by JOHN ROUNTREE 41449; 01-19-2015 at 11:01 PM.
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  7. #7
    PRA Secretary JOHN ROUNTREE 41449's Avatar
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    Good morning I hope you do not mind Greg but I created a Forum for Flight Testing and moved your most excellent post there.
    It made me realize we do not have a flight testing forum so thanks to your post now we do.

    Besides I'll be needing advice as soon I'll be flying off my 40 hours and this really helps!!!
    PRA- Director
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    PRA31 - Vice President of S.D. Rotorcraft Club
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    U.S. Agent for Aviomania Aircraft... the most stable gyroplane on the market today.
    See: Aviomania USA http://www.AviomaniaUSA.com

    OEM Dealer for MGL Avionics - glass cockpit EFIS for Experimental aircraft Ask about DISCOUNTS for PRA MEMBERS

  8. #8
    All I can say is do not test it your self unless you have the right kind of experience.

  9. #9
    I flew my 40+ hours on my ...ultralight Bensen 503. Never numbered it, sold it in 2008 or so (wish I hadn't). I'm building another just like it, I have the N number for it. My plan is to have T Milton inspect it and fly the required hours my own self (I have 120 gyro hours). If one is building and flying a known and proven aircraft/engine/prop combination, are 40 hours still required before you can, say, trailer it to a fly-in and fly it? Can you get a sign off from the DAR to fly from a list of choice airports until the hours are completed? Kinda boring flying circles around the old grass strip...?

  10. #10
    Click image for larger version. 

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    I've attempted to attach a picture of my first gyro, the one I'm building another of. No experience with forums other that reading them, usually referred to as "lurking".

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