FSS saves the day...

Woah.... that is scary stuff. Good thing he made it out okay.

Anyone else think that guy sounded like Maverick at the end when he was on the phone for the briefing?
I'm wondering why in the hell he decided to go back up the same day after that kind of experience. Kid's got some large kahunas thats for sure!
Wow. Freaky. I think I would just be like "Oh [expletive deleted]..." as I rolled in clouds and wouldn't think to call for help. Although it doesn't sound like the FSS guy really helped him to get out of the incipient spin... just that he was lucky... then the FSS was invaluable for routing to clearer airspace, right?
The kid should never have made that full confession to the FSS afterwords. I could almost picture the guy jotting down everything the kid said on the phone for a future certificate action.

That's the golden rule: never trust the FAA!
The second golden rule: the FAA isn't your friend.

ATC is an invaluable resource and everyone should use them especially in an emergency. However, never admit you did anything wrong after the fact to the FAA. Never admit anything. Don't even talk to them! That's one thing I got out of my aviation law class.
He declared an emergency when he accidently got into instrument conditions that it sounds like he was trying to avoid...where's the possible certificate action in that? It sounds like you'd never want to declare an emergency because the FAA will know about it. I'm ready and willing to declare an emergency anytime I need to, I don't care about certificate action if my butt is on the line.


John Herreshoff
I have to agree - it is much better to go onto 121.5 and get on the ground and worry about what the FAA will do with both feet firmly on the ground.
A few confusing items:

1) Why was he talking to FSS and not Center? Another CFI not teaching flight following I guess.

2) What took them so long to get a frequency? Maybe a privatized FSS would be smart enough to have the center and approcah frequencies posted by the stations!

You know in my 17 years of flying I've heard a lot better examples of help from FSS and ATC than that. Very poor choice for an example.
Yeah..Scary stuff...I think I'll go do some more hood work with my private students tomorrow.

I'm happy the guy walked away.
He declared an emergency when he accidently got into instrument conditions that it sounds like he was trying to avoid...where's the possible certificate action in that?

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Reckless and Endangerment, for one. The FAA seems to love that one. Not being familiar with all pertinent information regarding the flight. There is no reason why anyone, however versed in weather, should find themselves in an overcast sky unprepared. Just one look at a satellite picture, in motion, should give you a clue. Various reporting stations should also give you an indication as to how low the bases are.

My point was that if the FAA wanted to go after this kid for anything, they have him admitting what he did ON TAPE! Unless they ask you for a written report -- SAY NOTHING!

The FAA tries sneaky tactics for revoking licenses. For one thing, they never need to identify themselves as FAA personnel unless asked. Unless asked are the keywords there. They also don't need much more than rumor to start an investigation into any action you may or may have done. Most of the time you won't know they're investigating you until 6 months, 1 year, or longer when they send you a written request to turn in your license.

The very first thing you should do after any type of anomoly is to talk a laywer before talking to the FAA.

This kid dug his own grave when he gave a full confession to the FSS, should the FAA decide to start an investigation.

Please don't take my statements to mean that you shouldn't declare an emergency when one exists. Declare an emergency when it is necessary. Do what is appropriate, in your opinion, at the time for the safe conclusion to the flight. Worry about the FAA on the ground, immediately following parking the plane.

Never, ever, ever, talk the FAA immediately after an anomoly. They can and will use your words against you. Whenever you violate one FAR, you always violate the reckless & endangerment one. So you violate two FARs.
I guess you never heard of the idea of taking ownership for your actions. When you make a mistake, answer up for it. Trust me, things are alot better when you own up and take your lumps than if you lie and deny. As a police officer, I have ten times the respect for someone owning up to their actions than I do for someone acting like a child and lying about their infraction. This is partly why we live in the world that we all currently do. Always blame others for mistakes that you make...... That is total BS...Do you teach that to your children too?

You must have talked to an attorney (whom make lots of money giving advice on how to lie and deny). But please come to your own conclusions about the FAA. I have met many of their people and more often than not, when a pilot needs to be jammed, they need to be jammed. The ones I have met have more often than not, gone easy on the pilot because they made a mistake, and owned up to it....Think people...
This brings up another question... OK I'll admit that FSS is an important service. But how does this audio clip they provide argue that the FSS should be governmental rather than private? As if a non-govt employee couldn't make the same radio calls as the guy on the tape...
The whole aviate, navigate, communicate thing is simple to remember I think, and should be taught early in training. I wonder how many hours he had?
From flightinfo.com...

I didn't listen to the recording until I read the posts about his crazy accent and the plane being a 172 from a flying club in Wisconsin. No.... can't be.... But it's him!
The guy was a fairly low time private pilot at the time. He admitted that when he checked the weather that morning it looked very marginal, but he'd gotten away with flying in marginal VFR before, right? When the clouds lowered on him, he tried the 180 degree turn, no luck; descended a couple thousand feet, no luck, climbed some, no luck. Said not sure exactly what happened, but was thinking about calling for help when the stall warning horn went off, the plane tumbled, he saw his bags on the ceiling. Couldn't figure out which direction the plane was spinning, tried to recover in one direction, no luck, tried the other direction, leveled out just in time to see the top of a radio tower flash by under the left wing.
He said he was going to sign up for some instrument training here, but so far hasn't made good on the promise.
By the way, that accent has baffled me for a long time. I think it's his own personal accent, not related to any particular area.
Because if it's a private company running an FSS station then WE will have to pay for FSS briefings. The fear is that some people won't get weather briefings before they depart because of the added cost. I sure as heck don't want to have a charge assigned to me every time I dial 1-800-WX-BRIEF or call up flight watch when the weather is closing in on me.


John Herreshoff