Welcome to my nightmare

Alchemy

Well-Known Member
Went to the FSDO for my CFI checkride on thursday. It didn't go well. All my paperwork was in order but when the maintenance inspector went to examine the aircraft (a c182rg) he came back with 7 (!!!!) discrepencies. To top it off, the plane had just come out of a 100 hour. Needless to say, the Examiner and Maintenance inspector didn't have too many nice things to say about the flight school or the mechanic after that.

Basically, my checkride turned into an incident investigation. Both my examiner and the maintenance inspector were taking numerous pictures of the aircraft and started writing reports. The inspector jumped all over me and asked if I had even done a preflight before I flew the plane to the FSDO. He told me that he should technically write me up for a violation or at least fail my checkride for bringing an unairworthy aircraft, but since I was "just a kid" he was going to let me off the hook. I had to give him a written statement about the condition of the airplane on a blank piece of paper. I wrote:

"The discrepencies pointed out on N***** by the FAA on February 22, 2004 were not observed to be present during my pre-flight inspection of the aircraft on February 21, 2004".

The discrepencies pointed out were

1. Oil in the cockpit due to a bad seal on the oil pressure gauge.

2. Low Nose strut (there was still about 1.5-2" of chrome showing)

3. Loose housing for the left nav light

4. Exposed safety wire in the nose gear door bay.

5. One missing rivet on the left mid-fuselage

6. One loose rivet and loose panel on the left-mid fuselage

7. Various screws missing throughout the aircraft.



I didn't recieve a letter of discontinuance and the inspector treated the whole thing as if the practical test had never started. The airplane is still in maintenance at the airport where the FSDO is located. With the approval of the owner, I opted to have the plane repaired there and drive myself back home rather than obtain a ferry permit.

Personally, I think the inspectors were put-off as soon as they saw the airplane....it had dead bugs on the front of the fuselage and the leading edge of the wings, and as usual, had quite a dirty underside. From the moment they laid eyes on the plane it was a down hill slide. They actually encouraged me to find another airplane to bring to the checkride next time, but my only real choice is to have all the discrepencies on this one repaired, have it cleaned spotlessly, and hope it recieves a warmer reception from the feds next time......
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
Went to the FSDO for my CFI checkride on thursday. It didn't go well. All my paperwork was in order but when the maintenance inspector went to examine the aircraft (a c182rg) he came back with 7 (!!!!) discrepencies. To top it off, the plane had just come out of a 100 hour. Needless to say, the Examiner and Maintenance inspector didn't have too many nice things to say about the flight school or the mechanic after that.

Basically, my checkride turned into an incident investigation. Both my examiner and the maintenance inspector were taking numerous pictures of the aircraft and started writing reports. The inspector jumped all over me and asked if I had even done a preflight before I flew the plane to the FSDO. He told me that he should technically write me up for a violation or at least fail my checkride for bringing an unairworthy aircraft, but since I was "just a kid" he was going to let me off the hook. I had to give him a written statement about the condition of the airplane on a blank piece of paper. I wrote:

"The discrepencies pointed out on N***** by the FAA on February 22, 2004 were not observed to be present during my pre-flight inspection of the aircraft on February 21, 2004".

The discrepencies pointed out were

1. Oil in the cockpit due to a bad seal on the oil pressure gauge.

2. Low Nose strut (there was still about 1.5-2" of chrome showing)

3. Loose housing for the left nav light

4. Exposed safety wire in the nose gear door bay.

5. One missing rivet on the left mid-fuselage

6. One loose rivet and loose panel on the left-mid fuselage

7. Various screws missing throughout the aircraft.



I didn't recieve a letter of discontinuance and the inspector treated the whole thing as if the practical test had never started. The airplane is still in maintenance at the airport where the FSDO is located. With the approval of the owner, I opted to have the plane repaired there and drive myself back home rather than obtain a ferry permit.

Personally, I think the inspectors were put-off as soon as they saw the airplane....it had dead bugs on the front of the fuselage and the leading edge of the wings, and as usual, had quite a dirty underside. From the moment they laid eyes on the plane it was a down hill slide. They actually encouraged me to find another airplane to bring to the checkride next time, but my only real choice is to have all the discrepencies on this one repaired, have it cleaned spotlessly, and hope it recieves a warmer reception from the feds next time......

[/ QUOTE ]

What a bunch of morons. FAA standard morons. Since when is a checkride a full-up ramp check? So the plane wasn't asthetically pleasing....I could point out any number of aircraft that have the MINOR discrepencies you point out on your aircraft. Hell, every A-10 I fly has some, all, or more discrepencies as you cited; I could even go to any airport and find a Cessna/Piper/Beech with missing rivets, low struts, etc.

And for the inspector to take the facist attitude of ".......you're young, so I'm GIVING you a break"....like the checkride never happened..

Kiss my a$$ FSDO.
 

E_Dawg

Moderator
That is horrible! What (other than BRAND NEW) airplane is NOT missing a couple of screws? It's stories like that which give the FAA and CFI rides in particular a really bad name.

Still, what a 'great' inspector for giving you a 'break' because you're so young (and therefore expecations are less??? - so much for fairness).

Can you go to a DE for the next one?
 

pilot602

If specified, this will replace the title that
If you could have I don't think you should have written down those things for them. Because, now, you're on record - under your own volition and handwriting, no less - as having not "caught" those deficiences in your pre-flight.

If they change their mind and violate you (did they put it in writing that they weren't going to violate you?) you'll have a hard time fighting it. I'd fill out an ASARS (NASA form) asap.

Not trying to scare you or double guess you but it's something to think about. It might very well be worth a call to AOPA's legal hotline!
 

Alchemy

Well-Known Member
How are they going to bust me on "not catching" those things during my preflight. Maybe I didn't make it clear that I hadn't yet done a preflight inspection for the checkride....I was going to wait until before the flight portion to do that. I had flown the airplane to the FSDO the day before and it had been sitting on the ramp overnight before the FAA maintenance inspector looked it over.

For me to not catch them, they would have had to existed before I flew the plane on the day before. There's really no way they can prove that those problems did exist prior to my flight down there, especially considering the airplane was sitting on the ramp overnight since my last flight in it. I worded my statement very carefully so as no to incriminate myself in that manner. I honestly do not believe that oil leak was there when I flew the airplane to the FSDO. That problem either developed in flight or on the ground overnight. Same for the rivets, safety wire, nose gear strut and all other problems noted.

In any event, I will fill out a NASA form just in case they do decide to turn around and violate me. I didn't make that written statement voluntarily.....the examiner told me I needed to make one and at that point I was just nodding my head and saying "yes sir" to everything he asked of me.

The examiner also told me "take a good luck at all those business jets on the ramp. There's no reason why your aircraft shouldn't be in just as clean and in the same condition as those airplanes."
 

DE727UPS

Well-Known Member
Nice job on the NASA report. Please tell us which FSDO this is. Also, I'd love to hear what the FBO's mechanics have to say and how the FBO chooses to handle this.

Now...run, don't walk, to the nearest DE and stay away from the FAA. Do you have to take your ride with the Feds? Beg your CFI to NEVER send another student to this FSDO.

Your nightmare is a sad commentary on the lack of common sense within some FSDO's and some FSDO inspectors. I just don't know what to say...there is no way you can really complain about this sort of thing. You are just.....screwed.

Do not go back under any circumstances....

I'd be sooo Fu*ken pissed if I was your CFI....
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
Sounds like the past is coming back again.

Anyone here (probably not) old enough to remember in the 80s when the FAA policy was "zero tolerance"? It changed in the early/mid 90s to "kinder and gentler FAA".

Guess we've gone back to the former.....
 

E_Dawg

Moderator
Give me a friggin break.

Yeah, like rental aircraft regularly beaten senseless by student pilots are going to be anywhere NEAR the quality of any given biz jet.

The thing that I don't understand is that these people are supposedly pilots too, and should therefore know from experience that in the real world airplanes aren't always perfect, but can still be safe.
 

pilotjww

New Member
I wonder if you became an inadvertant participant in a clash between the FSDO and the shop/FBO/school owner?
 

Alchemy

Well-Known Member
That possiblity did come up when I showed up to the flight school to bear the bad news. The owner of the flight school is also the mechanic and he isn't exactly "accomodating" when the FAA wants to come investigate his aircraft. I remember when we had a gear motor failure on one aircraft (no emergency was declared since the backup gear ext. worked fine) the FAA wanted to come "have a look see". The mech/owner basically told them to buzz off.....
 

MikeD

Administrator
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
can you really use the NASA report for this???

[/ QUOTE ]

It's one of those situations where you can protect yourself from potential certificate action, even if it wasn't of your doing. I don't believe it has to only be an "inflight", "intent for flight", or "post-flight" occurance in order to qualify; and this situation could conceivable fall under the auspicies of aviation-safety, IMO.
 

EDUC8-or

Well-Known Member
Why should the owner be accomidating to the FAA? Honestly, if they "asked" to look at his aircraft and I were him, I would also say no. I nearly had the same thing happen to me on my CFI ride. There wasn't more than 3 threads showing on all of the bolts on the flap hinges. One of them only had 2.
 

Alchemy

Well-Known Member
Yep, wish I would have seen that Jester. Get the airplane inspected before you take it to a FSDO, folks. I really wish someone at my flight school would've told me this before I went.

PS: it was the SAT FSDO
 

Looking4Lower

New Member
I agree that this is a bit extreme. However:

[ QUOTE ]
5. One missing rivet on the left mid-fuselage

6. One loose rivet and loose panel on the left-mid fuselage

[/ QUOTE ]

I think that missing and loose rivets are an attention-getter. I mean, we've all had screws pop out but you usually don't see rivets do that. Are these two rivets an airworthiness problem by themselves? Probably not, but you still gotta wonder why they are coming loose, especially on a low-stress location like the fuselage.
 

bluelake

Well-Known Member
These situations provide some balance to the arguments about going to accelerated CFI training programs....
 
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