This past week there was much discussion online regarding the surprising decision that the Riverside, California FSDO personnel would be performing ramp checks for inspector training during the Redlands Aerobatic Contest, hosted by IAC chapter 26. The FSDO also interpreted verbiage in the Certificate of Waiver to include verifying Flight Review currency at the contest.
The IAC Government Relations Chair John Smutny had numerous discussions with the Riverside FSDO and the regional representative of the FAA's National Aviation Events Program prior to the contest to clarify the actions of the inspectors.
The standardized Certificate of Waiver that are issued to IAC sanctioned contests have this verbiage in them: Each pilot participating in the aerobatic competition is properly certificated and possesses the currency and/or endorsements appropriate for the flight operation being conducted. While you will rarely see an FAA inspector ask you for proof of a flight review, they have the right to do so.
"The FAA has given the IAC a lot of latitude in doing these document checks and we must take them seriously,” said John Smutny. “We will be working with the National Aviation Events Program on the waiver verbiage towards removing any ambiguities. Through the review process with the FAA we hope to assist FSDO personnel with interpreting the verbiage of the waiver consistently throughout the nation.”
“Be prepared to show your proof of flight review to the contest director at every contest,” said the IAC president Jim Bourke. “We are holding off on modifying the IAC's Contest Tech Form to see if we can work something else out.”
Results of the work that John is doing with the FAA and the National Aviation Events Program will be announced.