Robert I McKenzie
San Bernardino CA 92404
Oct 20, 1983
William E. Sullins
General Aviation District Office
6961 Flight Rd.
Riverside, CA 92504
Dear Mr. Sullins,
You have requested that I surrender my Private Pilot Glider Certificate # 2345005 on the basis that the agency headquarters did not intend standard glider ratings to be issued in hang gliders and that I did not show competency in a tow procedure.
I was informed in July of 1983 by Inspector R.C. Morton of your office that 61.107 (d)(2) was optional and that a flight test applicant was "limited to the kind of tow chosen". Since many pilots have already received Private Pilot Glider ratings with flight tests in motor gliders becoming limited with a "No Tows Demonstrated" on their certificate, a precedent has been set to allow me to obtain an Airman Certificate with a "No Tows Demonstrated" limitation.
The Oklahoma City Office is supposed to check all Airman Certificate applications for any non-compliance with existing F.A.R. and to deny Certificates where non-compliance is found. Since I was issued my permanent Certificate, either Oklahoma City was not doing their job or I was found to comply with all existing F.A.R. and procedures. Furthermore, my permanent Certificate lists a limitation "No Tows Demonstrated" which guarantees that the Oklahoma City office was aware that I did not demonstrate a towing procedure and approved such as being in compliance with all F.A.R.
Should I be refused my retest, that I am legally entitled to according to F.A.R. 61.49 and should my certificate be revoked without due reason, I will make sure that all correspondence and refusals received from your office are brought up at my formal hearing with the Civil Aeronautics Board as I am entitled to according to section 602 of the F.A.A. Act of 1958.
You stated that your agency headquarters in Washington D.C. did not intend for glider Airman Certificates to be issued in hang gliders. If this is so, why were the F.A.R written to allow such an acquisition? Not only is it possible to do such, I can easily show that it was a probably repercussion of a logical chain of events which the Administrator had full control of.
When the N.P.R.M. on ultralights came out in 1981, many requests were made not to prohibit two-place hang gliding. I sent one myself. The issuance of F.A.R 103.1(a) provided ample incentive for experienced hang glider pilots to seek a way to legalize their vocation. This I chose to do by petitioning Washington headquarters for an exemption. A copy of the petition is enclosed as Appendix A in this brief. F.A.R. 103.1(c) implies that it is possible to have an "aircraft" that could meet unpowered ultralight vehicle status but by being registered and having an airworthiness certificate it can not be an unpowered ultralight vehicle but instead a certificated aircraft requiring a certificated pilot to fly it.
Since my flight test I've received 2.5 hours of instruction in 3 axis controlled gliders by a C.F.I.G. May I say that I have been humbled although my instructor was just as amazed at my abilities as well. There is almost no likeness in control though weight-shift as compared with 3 axis aerodynamic control. If F.A.A. headquarters is upset that one person may legally fly something that he has little or no experience in then they should be overwrought that nearly all presently certificated glider pilots are legally allowed to carry a passenger and pilot a glider that typically requires over a year to master and one in whichthey have little or no experience, namely N39248. My opinion of the difficulty in flying a hang glider (especially landing one) is based on the fact that I am an advanced pilot and Instructor certified by the U.S.H.G.A. as well as having over 1000 hrs. air time on log.
Let me summarize the sequence of events and pertinent facts.
1. The F.A.A was aware that two-place hang gliding existed.
2. The F.A.A made it illegal to fly an unpowered ultralight in a two-place configuration thus providing incentive for two-place participants to seek a legal solution.
3. The F.A.A. allows two-place hang gliding provided the glider is certificated and the pilot in command has the appropriate airman certificate.
4. In May of 1983 a hang glider was certificated as an experimental aircraft with two seat capacity.
5. The purpose of any flight test is for the applicant to demonstrate his skill as to how much and how well he controls the aircraft and not HOW he controls the aircraft. This is outlined in F.A.R 61.43 (a) subparts (1)(2)(3)(4)(5)&(6).
6. F.A.R 61.45 which deals with aircraft required for flight tests and their required controls does not restrict HOW the aircraft is controlled therefore not prohibiting weight-shift control.
7. Robert McKenzie after receiving 100% on his private pilot glider written exam, and obtaining all the proper instruction and endorsements according to Part 61 of the F.A.R. passed his flight test according to an operations inspector who did not observe from the ground but who actually rode in the aircraft.
I regret that these unfortunate circumstances occurred, and apologize for any inconvenience or embarrassment you may experience. I further regret to inform you that you have provided inadequate reasons for me to surrender my Private Pilot Glider Airman's Certificate. My intentions have never been to cause problems but rather to solve the ones which the F.A.A has given to me. I'm proud to have succeeded and am looking forward to earning my commercial glider and C.F.I.G ratings so I may exercise my skills as a professional according to Part 135 of the F.A.R. instead of being limited to charging only for expenses according to F.A.R.61.118(b).