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#182 The Influence of One Elephant



“I said what I meant and I meant what I said”… says the elephant, “Horton”, in “Horton Hatches the Egg” by Doctor Seuss.

Sometimes I think that Horton’s wisdom should be heeded by all.  I shall certainly heed it when I say that I will take on no more Private Pilot applicants (with only a very few exceptions).  Because, like Horton, if I started someone, I’m going to finish them.  Why am I no longer recommending PPSEL applicants?  Primarily because of the FAA and their abomination, IACRA (IACRA stands for Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application, a fact I had to find through Google.  FAA doesn’t disclose that).

I will finish those who I started, including signing their 8710-1 forms on IACRA.  I will start certain private applicants, primarily in the Cessna 140 or other tailwheel aircraft.  Do I feel bad about this decision?  Yes.  Because, by quitting, I’m leaving some people to the clutches of the Acme Flying School, which will fill their heads with misconceptions, including “Step on the ball”, and “Don’t make steep turns close to the ground”, not to mention their teaching of incremental flap extension and power reduction.  They will carry those misconceptions with them for the rest of their flying careers and sometimes to the end of their lives, some of which will end as a result.  I’m sorry.  On the good side, most of the primaries I started will be able to fly with Outlaw’s new CFI, Same Monte, who is an imaginative young guy who will do well.  He’s very thorough and those he recommends will, no doubt, be far more ready for a checkride than those I would sign off.  He’s joined by Walt Lasecki, about who’s ground schools I hear raves!

What am I going to do with all that time I save?  I’m going to heed the call which has been pulling at me for years.  I’m going to work with my colleague and friend, Bert Garrison, to produce videos of which we both can be proud.  I’m going to finish the books I’ve started, including “Swoop”, “Swoop 2”, “Escape from Hollywood” and “Airshow Pilot”.  And I’m going to continue to teach tailwheel and fundamental precision flying, providing only endorsements and no PPSEL recommendations for checkrides.

Some people will lose because of this decision on my part, but it’s my hope that thousands will benefit (Hey, I said it was “my hope”!).  Although there will undoubtedly be an effect on the articles and videos which appear on the Tailwheeler’s Journal, it won’t be for a while and I think it will be minor.  More important is the fact that there will be more books, articles and videos to help slake the thirst for more which so many fliers have.

And it took the actions of a very ethical cartoon elephant to move me to act.

Your understanding is appreciated.



4 comments to #182 The Influence of One Elephant

  • Best of luck with the new plan. I hope to come take your tailwheel training soon. I have my endorsement, have a ragwing C170, but still want more really good instruction. You are the man for that. I was the president of EAA Chap 771 in Eureka/Arcata back in the 1980s when we put on the airshow a couple of years running, and I remember your show. Loved it, as did all who attended. I’m in Alaska now with the sailboat, but will make serious contact as soon as I am back in the lower 48. All Best! Rod Lambert

    • brian

      Thanks, Rod. It’s great to hear from you! I’ll look forward to flying with you when you get back to the lower 48. We’ll have some fun!

  • Ryan Lunde

    I agree that IACRA can be a bit of a frustrating hot mess at times, but what in particular about it is causing you to cease recommending applicants on it?

    • brian

      There’s actually a lot more to it than just IACRA. I can turn an Acme-trained pilot into a decent tailwheeler in six hours. To take a primary from zero time to a check ride is a lot longer than that and also requires the knowledge and ability to fill their heads with all the stuff they need to know in order to pass a check ride given by an Acme trained DPE. I no longer have the patience or inclination to do that and have found that Tailwheel Instruction is what I love to do. Since I feel that one should always do what they love to do in order to make a living, that’s what I do. My hat is off to those primary instructors who are gifted and have the follow-through to do a good job. We have one here at Sisters. I, however, have the attention span of a gnat. How’s that for an answer? For those who my not be familiar with Mr. Lunde, they should know that he is one of those teachers of aviation who I hold in pretty high regard.

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