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Is it just UK EASA CPL holders that are just clueless

Airborne_Again wrote:

The instructors could hardly repair an altimeter or gyro instrument either. Would you expect them to? When it comes to equipment that you’re not supposed to work on yourself, it is enough to know how it works in principle.

A good point. As an anesthesiologist I do of course know how an anaesthesia machine/a medical ventilator works, but could not service them and are not supposed to. There are some parts that are serviceable by the end user, but you never get to know the wiring or other parts in the heart of the machine.

I also consider myself a good car driver (as do most people, I guess) and yet the only things I can do under the hood of the car is to refill oil and water. And the former is not even necessary between the manufacturer mandated services at the shop, because this isn’t some stone age aero engine that consumes oil by the gallon…

Novice pilot
EDVM Hildesheim, Germany

I did my PPL in 2000/2001 and everybody back then was just as clueless; in fact even more because a lot of today’s owners have been on the internet and aren’t clueless anymore. Look at the crowd we have here on EuroGA; we don’t have the “is LOP bad” debate anymore, etc. The PPL, the CPL, are both useless for preparing one to operate an aircraft and fly it from A to B (other than trivial flights). This is why, if you wanted to produce a load of successful aircraft owners, you would need to do a lot of mentoring, and get them all on EuroGA

Also practically nobody with an interest in flying GA is doing the EASA CPL. Some will do the CPL theory so they can instruct, and a few more will do the whole CPL so they can instruct the CPL, but it is only a few. In the US, some do the FAA CPL because in the US there are scenarios where it can be used outside the AOC CPL/IR sphere. In the European FAA scene, some (like myself) did the FAA CPL for various reasons but they cannot make use of the privileges in Europe (it used to provide an avenue into the medical pipeline via the UK CAA “renewal initial” route).

The people who tend to remain as clueless about aircraft operation as they ever were are maintenance companies – probably because they have gone to great lengths to avoid any forum participation. And you can’t blame them; most GA forums are horrible.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

My 16 year old daughter started her PPL a couple of years ago (and went solo while she was still 16) and was working her way through the theory.

At one point she asked “Daddy, what’s a spark plug?”

The personnel requirements to work on (certified) engines and airframes are completely different than instruments, so I don’t see the commonality. I do virtually all the work on my aircraft (meaning engine and airframe) under the supervision of an A&P who eventually signs off the work and is ‘immediately available’, meaning he can come by immediately if I call him to have a look. Many pilots have such a relationship. The work on an engine can be everything up to a complete overhaul including machine work, as long as all of it is overseen by the A&P mechanic. Conversely, instruments cannot be repaired by me or the A&P and the work has to be done by a repair station in accordance with approved in-house procedures. Granted the people working at the repair station may have no qualifications or training other than those of the repair station itself, but few pilots or owners have an affiliation with a repair station that would facilitate their filing that role. Very different than working on an engine, and a main reason that I tend towards portable, non-certified equipment in the plane.

@MedEwok, manufacturer or dealer “mandated” service is illegal in the US, since the applicable consumer rights law passed in 1970. My 2017 car with 50,000 miles to date has never been back to the the dealer and will likely never do so. However, one of the reasons I stopped buying new European cars and motorcycles (of which I have eight currently, the newest of which is a 2001 model with 2300 miles registered, kept in reserve) is that they are now intentionally designed to prevent anybody but the dealer from working on them regardless of the intent of that law, a manipulative strategy that consumer rights law failed to predict and which it has yet to address. This is likely because vehicles from the relevant manufacturers are only a small fraction of the US market, the consumer having acted in his own interest and bought from others to avoid being manipulated.

Last Edited by Silvaire at 01 Aug 14:25

When it comes to equipment that you’re not supposed to work on yourself, it is enough to know how it works in principle.

In the context of the sort of aircraft which most private pilots can afford to own and operate, there is not much “equipment that you’re not supposed to work on yourself” which is likely to require maintenance. Indeed, there’s very little in any Cub, Maule or C1xx maintenance manual that a competent owner can’t do under 14 CFR Part 43.

I think the point which the OP is making is that PPL basic training does not adequately prepare pilots for ownership of such aircraft.

Perhaps it shouldn’t. Contrary to the nanny-state ethos in some countries, perhaps for any low third-party risk activity like rock-climbing, sailing or flying, people should assume responsibility for learning whatever they need to know.

Glenswinton, SW Scotland, United Kingdom

I don’t think I’m ignorant in engine stuff but I can’t answer any of your questions :s
CPL doesn’t teach any engine knowledge anyway ?

It must be the same about everywhere. The Youtuber Flightchops got his IR last winter and his checkride was 2 approaches 30nm away from base and back. Well 3 approaches are done but do you know how to fly A to B ?


Silvaire wrote:

manufacturer or dealer “mandated” service is illegal in the US

It is illegal in the EU as well. Court cases have confirmed it.

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

It it enforced only for scenarios which appear on the consumer rights radar and there is enough pressure. Almost all the stuff in aviation, as well as virtually everything in the B2B sphere, carries on as normal. Look at e.g. aviation part numbering, to conceal the OEM identity, here.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom
I don’t think I’m ignorant in engine stuff but I can’t answer any of your questions :s
CPL doesn’t teach any engine knowledge anyway ?

Aye, it does, but only basic theoretical principles. What is doesn’t teach is practical knowledge like (from recent experience) why a mag could still be live after switches are off, the whole LOP thing, or even sensible use of the mixture lever. But I guess if you are flying a Jet-A DA42 it’s more about ECUs.

I think the key thing (as an aircraft owner), rather than having a deep understanding of the mechanics of engines, is to have a good “relationship” with a maintenance person who you trust. That is worth its weight in gold.

Last Edited by NeilC at 01 Aug 20:46

“Not one and even heard of straight oil. No idea what D or W ment on the bottle. Not one had a clue which oil types you could put in an O-360 and when or why.”
The OP’s concern is with something every light aircraft owner needs to know, but not a hirer. As a hirer, if oil needed topping, I used the oil supplied.
As an owner, I have the option to buy/use the wrong oil for the current temperature.
I think the OP’s concern is employees not knowing this, and maybe allowing hirers to use the wrong oil.

EGPE, United Kingdom
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