After suffering through 8 hours of legal mumbo-jumbo, a just reward was in order: Attending AOPA Expo! I took it in a couple of years ago when it was in Philly, and figured what the heck, I'm here, the show's here, might as well check it out. (JP flew 78S down with a couple of other folks, and had GREAT tailwinds!!!! Evidence stolen from www.FlightAware.com:
Nice trip, indeed!)
Couple items of interest. First, even though the IFR Pilot's medical is in limbo until an upcoming endoscope, it is actually permissible for him to fly and log PIC time, so long as there is another properly certificated pilot on board the aircraft. This is because the FARs recognize a distinction between ACTING as PIC and LOGGING PIC time. According to AOPA's Director of Medical Services, Gary Crump:
FAA distinguishes between the two, and logging PIC time is legal without a medical as long as the ACTING pilot in command is properly certificated.Yeah, baby, the IFR Pilot's goin' flyin' when he gets home. Learning this important regulatory nuance means that I can keep my passenger-carrying, night, and instrument currencies current pending return of the medical clearance. Yippe-kay-ya!
Second, a somewhat alarming statistic: only about 15% of Air Traffic Controllers are pilots. This means that a substantial majority of them are likely to have no freakin' idea what's going on in the cockpit of your plane when you've got a problem, sumble into IMC, have a vacuum failure, etc. I once heard someone observe that they give controllers voice authority training. I don't know if that's really true or not. The lesson here, though, is that YOU are the PIC. Don't assume that ATC knows what's best for you just because they deliver that next instruction with all the confidence in the world.
Third, if you are looking to spend money of aviation goodies -- go to Oshkosh. Sure, there's plenty of stuff to drool over at AOPA Expo, but it just doesn't even compare with the volume of stuff available at AirVenture. Having already experienced the crack once, however, the IFR Pilot wisely gave the pushers at the Bose booth a wide berth. (JP checked it out, but succumed to a different drug, found here. We'll see whether it actually works and suits his needs. Can you say "30 day trial"???)
Tomorrow returns to IFR Pilot to the friendly confines of a commerical airport to do battle with the TSA folks. I'll be sure to remove my belt, watch, shoes, and the steel plate in my head before going through the metal detector!