Self certification is the back bone of the FAA’s safety culture.
If you don’t like the concept of self certification then don’t fly the airlines.
§ 117.5 Fitness for duty. (d) As part of the dispatch or flight release, as applicable, each flightcrew member must affirmatively state he or she is fit for duty prior to commencing flight
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The FAA understands a pilot may have been able to perform all the required tasks on check ride day, but must be mature and responsible and self certify themselves before each and every flight in their capabilities to be fit for duty to be safe.
I cannot tell you how many times I left a check ride examiner’s office with ink still wet on a new certificate with the words: "This is just a license to learn".
And I am still learning.
The I'M SAFE Checklist is taught early in flight training and is used throughout a pilot's professional career to assess their overall readiness for flight when it comes to illness, medication, stress, alcohol, fatigue, and emotion. Link
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There are FAA log book record requirements under various parts of the regulations for proof of currency requirements. These log book entries are recorded through the honor, truth, and integrity of the pilot, self certification.
A college professor, Howard Everhart, said, "You can follow all the rules and have a pocket full of certificates; but if you do not go beyond those requirements and use your head, you can still kill yourself. You can be legally dead
Every time we conduct a Part 103 operation we are self certifying the flight as a single occupant assuming the responsibility and risk for recreation or sport purposes only.
Preamble to Part 103
We have an immense amount of freedom if we just show responsibility following a set of minimum rules. The FAA is so great. I cannot tell you how fantastic the FAA is to us. Appreciate it.
Through the State Recreation Use Immunity Laws
the vast majority of Part 103 flights legally do not require insurance. If you are sponsoring a Flying Meet, Contest, or other open invitation with or without a fee there will be an insurance requirement. Just "Plain Jane" free flying, the land owner is legally protected under most State Recreation Use Immunity Laws. The land owner has no need or responsibility to check anyone’s ratings. There are no ratings to check.
There is no pilot licensing requirement for Part 103 by the FAA. Any rating program in the United States is a self certification program.
The FAA wrote:The USHGA's self-regulation program lacks the legal authority to enforce requirements to ensure the safety of others. There is no requirement for any hang glider operator to be a member of the USHGA. (Preamble to Part 103)
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So, as a self certifying community, what better way to document a pilot’s skills and abilities than to have an on-line "Pilot My Space" with personal affidavits, third party affidavits, log book entries, videos, and knowledge based tests? This can be stored on-line, in your phone, computer, or in the cloud.
May I point out, there is a totally different knowledge and skill set required to fly at a NPS site of Fort Funston than Yosemite. Fort Funston requires a ridge soaring experience while Yosemite requires high altitude no wind takeoff landing skills. If the NPS wants to determine if you have the skill set and experience to fly NPS sites, what better way than to just show them your experience? Show a video of your ridge soaring skills to fly the Fort and a high altitude takeoff and landing to fly Yosemite. The alternative could be a revision to Part 103 requiring pilot licensing. Let’s beat them to the punch.
This would be your Part 103 resume.
In this new day and age, this is what the millennials expect. Why hold on to some old antiquated self certifying system? As an alternative you can still hold on to the old with third party affidavits, the current rating system.
Just as he was at the beginning of the Hang Gliding movement, Joe Faust is still innovative with a progressive imagination, truly recycled into a millennial.
I humbly bow in honor of Joe Faust a founding father to the USHPA.