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Author Topic: New FRO requirements  (Read 10613 times)
Live2Learn
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 570

« Reply #40 on: January 02, 2018, 02:42:38 AM »

This is an interesting thread. 

Maybe it could be even more interesting if one (or more) of the members who've been in CAP long enough to know the history of FRO's would discuss WHEN FROs and 'flight releases' were first required?  A brief discussion of WHY the BOG (or someone else?) decided FRO were necessary would also help with developing some perspective among those of us not 'in the know'.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2018, 12:25:05 PM by Live2Learn » Logged
Mitchell 1969
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 733
Unit: PCR-CA-051

« Reply #41 on: January 02, 2018, 04:14:26 AM »

The language in the requirements appears to be geared toward liability offset for the organization, accomplished by moving it to the FRO. Besides being a bad idea, if such is the case, it isn’t even a well written bad idea, because it is so vague and ambiguous.

How does a FRO “ensure the safety of all flight operations” without actually being on that flight and overseeing safety of the flight operations? Don’t get me wrong, there should be a process, but the end result simply can’t be for the FRO to “ensure the safety of all flight operations.”

And, how, exactly, does a FRO “act as the conscience of the PIC?” In fact, how does ANYONE act as the conscience for anyone else in any situation? There are psychiatrists who can’t achieve that with patients. Again, ask the questions, get the answers, but expecting somebody to serve as somebody else’s conscience is impossible - so why even say that?


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« Last Edit: January 02, 2018, 04:17:46 AM by Mitchell 1969 » Logged
_________________
Bernard J. Wilson, Major, CAP

Mitchell 1969; Earhart 1971; Eaker 1973. Cadet Flying Encampment, License, 1970. IACE New Zealand 1971; IACE Korea 1973.

CAP has been bery, bery good to me.
Live2Learn
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 570

« Reply #42 on: January 02, 2018, 12:41:59 PM »

...How does a FRO “ensure the safety of all flight operations” without actually being on that flight and overseeing safety of the flight operations? Don’t get me wrong, there should be a process, but the end result simply can’t be for the FRO to “ensure the safety of all flight operations.”

And, how, exactly, does a FRO “act as the conscience of the PIC?” ...


Good questions.  FWIW, the National Institute of Highway Safety in the US, and similar organizations in the UK, Canada, and elsewhere have found that drivers with impairing illnesses or self induced conditions (like drugs, fatigue, severe stress, etc.) do a very poor job of recognizing their impairments, then voluntarily avoiding driving.  Not very surprisingly, the FAA's Civil Aerospace Medical Institute (CAMI) has found similar problems among the US pilot populations.  We can find that by a few simple keyword searches of the NTSB accident DB.  There's also research that seems to offer strong support for the idea that a 3rd party intervention has a significant affect on drivers (and pilots) willingness to sequester themselves from driving/flying.  From my own observations of drivers (and pilots) I think the research is on point, and supports the use of FRO's by CAP.  However, the more remote the personal contact (Text, vs voice conversation by phone, vs in person contact) the less likely an impaired person will "do the right thing" and recognize their own impairment.  My read of the regulation as it exists in CAPR 70-1, and as it existed in CAPR 60-1 as far back as 2008 (the oldest copy I've found in my digital files) shows the responsibility and role of the FRO hasn't changed during the past decade  in any significant way.  Nor has the real problem, which is NOT 'ambiguity', IMHO.  I think the biggest issues facing an effective FRO is the tendency to say (and I quote from one FRO who released a very sick pilot) "XXX is a big boy..."  meaning he'll decide if he's impaired.  See the first part of the post for the likelihood of THAT taking place.  :(

IMHO, that FRO didn't do his job.  Fortunately no accident resulted and after-the-fact counselling of pilot and FRO occurred.  IOW, we had a 'teachable moment'.

Another assist to the pilot an FRO might offer could be to confirm pilots have checked NOTAMs.  :)   http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/local/trump-palm-beach-fighter-jets-intercept-private-plane/kCT81qjwL6RCl07uV7FG5J/  Whether TFRs or enroute runway closures, a little prior planning avoids a PP outcome.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2018, 12:57:12 PM by Live2Learn » Logged
etodd
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,045

« Reply #43 on: January 02, 2018, 01:17:32 PM »


Another assist to the pilot an FRO might offer could be to confirm pilots have checked NOTAMs.  :)   http://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/local/trump-palm-beach-fighter-jets-intercept-private-plane/kCT81qjwL6RCl07uV7FG5J/  Whether TFRs or enroute runway closures, a little prior planning avoids a PP outcome.

And that brings up a good question. Is the FRO asking the pilot if he has checked NOTAMS good enough? Or should the FRO after the seeing the info in WMIRS, and before the phone call, check the wx, NOTAMS, and all other info ... before talking to the pilot, in order to 'verify' the pilot knows what he is talking about?

How much pre-flight planning should the FRO do before the call? Otherwise, its just a trust the pilot issue.

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Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 28,358

« Reply #44 on: January 02, 2018, 01:50:27 PM »

How much pre-flight planning should the FRO do before the call?

Ask the questions, records the answers.

Otherwise, its just a trust the pilot issue.

Yes, it is.

This is indicative of a huge issue in CAP - people overthinking a problem, second-guessing, or
going beyond the requirement because...reasons.

Stay in your lane, do what is asked and then move on.
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Live2Learn
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 570

« Reply #45 on: January 02, 2018, 02:39:27 PM »


Stay in your lane, do what is asked and then move on.

Remember Sgt Schultz in Hogan's Heros, that pre-modern Soap Opera based on a German prison camp?  "Orders is orders..."  In other words, someone told me to do it so I'm absolved of any responsibility.   Maybe a fatal accident could be avoided if the FRO had asked the pilot about his alternate, current experience, etc.   I agree it's the PIC's responsibility to assess the flight risks and make the decisions.  Human nature, being as it is, often makes it tough for a pilot to make a "good" decision - even when faced with overwhelming evidence that 'powering through' is a really BAD idea.  I think that's called a "mission mind set".   IMHO, that's the essence of why the FRO is a key element in the decision to release... not a rubber stamp.  FWIW, the FRO can't offer the prospective PIC  a meaningful assessment of the risks if ignorant of the key facts (like NOTAMs, weather, aircraft maintenance condition, etc.).  Note also, the PIC ain't "PIC" until AFTER the flight is released.  'Til then there's no slam dunk to the launch.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2018, 02:47:14 PM by Live2Learn » Logged
Eclipse
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Posts: 28,358

« Reply #46 on: January 02, 2018, 04:52:18 PM »

Remember Sgt Schultz in Hogan's Heros, that pre-modern Soap Opera based on a German prison camp?  "Orders is orders..."  In other words, someone told me to do it so I'm absolved of any responsibility. 

Not only is that not an apt comparison, it's also a mischaracterizationof of the beloved Oberfeldwebel Hans Schultz.

He willfully ignored issues he actually saw or had knowledge of - that's the antithesis of the FRO's role,
and people doing that, or at least walking the line, are the reason the changes were made.

There's a big difference between negligent denial or overt ignorance and not turning a release into
a 45-minute flight clinic.

The FRO is one of many safety valves in the flight process, it just happens to be one of the last before
take off, that doesn't make them the secret police of flying, which I guarantee you is going to happen in some parts.

Squawks and airframe issues, properly noted, are listed and should be mentioned, pilot and aircrew qualifications
are there to see as well.  I agree 100% you have to make voice contact to judge the pilot, but beyond that,
FRO's are not dispatchers, nor ATC, they are more akin to the boarding gate - one last eyes-on to make sure no
huge red flags are missed, nothing more, nothing less.

Heck, I know now of issues where FROs and A/C POCs show up to "help", unannounced and unexpected, only
to have "issues" with the pilot.  Then the fun begins.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2018, 04:59:55 PM by Eclipse » Logged


TheSkyHornet
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,086

« Reply #47 on: January 02, 2018, 05:43:51 PM »

The FRO is one of many safety valves in the flight process, it just happens to be one of the last before
take off, that doesn't make them the secret police of flying, which I guarantee you is going to happen in some parts.

Squawks and airframe issues, properly noted, are listed and should be mentioned, pilot and aircrew qualifications
are there to see as well.  I agree 100% you have to make voice contact to judge the pilot, but beyond that,
FRO's are not dispatchers, nor ATC, they are more akin to the boarding gate - one last eyes-on to make sure no
huge red flags are missed, nothing more, nothing less.

Heck, I know now of issues where FROs and A/C POCs show up to "help", unannounced and unexpected, only
to have "issues" with the pilot.  Then the fun begins.

Highly agree.

This goes right back to the fact that FROs are not certificated flight dispatchers, and CAP does not mirror that role. 

"Alright, I've got 12000 pounds of fuel for you. Looks like there are some SIGMENTs along your route. Expect some moderate chop and possibly an ATC hold. TFR on your approach, so just be cautious on making that early decent or we'll need to reroute you around. Let me know if you want an amendment on your release for a new TLR for the alternates."

That doesn't exist here. The FRO is not a "catch everything you're doing" role. See something, say something; absolutely. Help provide information but understand that you are not an ultimate decision maker for the operation. It's an administrative job, part of the process. "Releasing" a CAP aircraft for flight is an administrative function, not an operational function. It's like filing a flight plan in a way.

The PIC is still the PIC all of the time, from the minute he/she walks up to that aircraft and starts a preflight, including a review of the weather and pertinent information regarding that flight. If there is an aircraft accident or incident, it goes right back to the PIC and the data he obtained before flight, not the FRO. If the FRO sees an unsafe condition, the flight should be held and reported as required, but the PIC has the legal responsibility here.

This is being way overcomplicated.
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OldGuy
Seasoned Member

Posts: 314
Unit: TBKS

« Reply #48 on: January 02, 2018, 05:45:02 PM »

This is an interesting thread. 

Maybe it could be even more interesting if one (or more) of the members who've been in CAP long enough to know the history of FRO's would discuss WHEN FROs and 'flight releases' were first required?  A brief discussion of WHY the BOG (or someone else?) decided FRO were necessary would also help with developing some perspective among those of us not 'in the know'.

Looking forward to the answers, great questions!
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RiverAux
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Posts: 10,958

« Reply #49 on: January 02, 2018, 07:26:39 PM »

The bigger question is whether there is evidence that the FRO and associated requirements have had a measurable impact on CAP safety.  Difficult to say since CAP safety stats are hard to come by these days. 

Obviously, we at some level need someone to approve whether someone can or cannot use a CAP aircraft.  If that is what we're concerned about, that could almost all be easily automated or at least the necessary human involvement could be lessened and perhaps make everyone's CAP life somewhat easier and less burdensome. 

But, if we truly believe that the FRO is a critical part of the safety program (rather than someone that more or less is a scheduler) then it would be nice to have some stats to prove it.

However, we have been using FROs so long that any pre-FRO data is probably meaningless since so much else in the program has changed since then and (thankfully) we have so few accidents that any improvements couldn't easily be tied directly to the FRO.  Because of this, I'm not exactly sure how to look at the data. 

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Live2Learn
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 570

« Reply #50 on: January 02, 2018, 08:53:32 PM »

The bigger question is whether there is evidence that the FRO and associated requirements have had a measurable impact on CAP safety.  Difficult to say since CAP safety stats are hard to come by these days. 

...

However, we have been using FROs so long that any pre-FRO data is probably meaningless since so much else in the program has changed since then and (thankfully) we have so few accidents that any improvements couldn't easily be tied directly to the FRO.  Because of this, I'm not exactly sure how to look at the data.

Every civil aviation accident is listed, and ownership of aircraft involved are for the most part also available on the NTSB accident db.  Accident records are posted since the early to mid 70’s.  If the date FROs became an OPS fixture is known it should be discoverable whether or not FROs are a positive, neutral, or negative contributor to CAP OPS safety on a fleet wide basis.   I doubt there are enough data points to reach down to Regions or below.

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Nick
Seasoned Member

Posts: 494
Unit: SWR-TX-001

« Reply #51 on: January 02, 2018, 10:49:07 PM »

I agree with all the comments that this is being way over-analyzed.

Go back to the basics. The FRO is a representative of the wing commander, “responsible for verifying appropriate information, authorizing a CAP pilot to fly as pilot in command in CAP aircraft, documenting the appropriate mission symbol, and confirming that the aircraft has arrived safely at its destination”. The authorizing a pilot to fly an aircraft bit extends to ensuring the requirements of 70-1 have been satisfied before authorizing the pilot to take the keys and put them in the ignition. That’s it.

It is not an FRO’s job (since an FRO is not necessarily a pilot) to enforce, or necessarily even know the FARs, to determine whether the PIC is in a position to safely act as an PIC by FAA standards. It is their job to know what CAP requires for a pilot to operate a CAP plane, and ensure those checkboxes are checked.

Or said another way... take the FRO out of the picture and assume a wing commander has to personally give the authorization to operate a CAP plane. Assume the wing commander is not a pilot. Since that wing commander is personally responsible for that piece of equipment, what would they want to be assured of before allowing someone to fly the plane?


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Nicholas McLarty, Lt Col, CAP
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RiverAux
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Posts: 10,958

« Reply #52 on: January 02, 2018, 11:47:48 PM »

Every civil aviation accident is listed, and ownership of aircraft involved are for the most part also available on the NTSB accident db.  Accident records are posted since the early to mid 70’s.  If the date FROs became an OPS fixture is known it should be discoverable whether or not FROs are a positive, neutral, or negative contributor to CAP OPS safety on a fleet wide basis.   I doubt there are enough data points to reach down to Regions or below.

Yes, information on accidents is available through that source and with enough effort you may be able to track down data on CAP-related ones, though it may not be as easy as you think.  What I probably should have said involved accident rates, which depends on flying hour data only available through CAP. 
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Eclipse
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Posts: 28,358

« Reply #53 on: January 03, 2018, 12:08:38 AM »

I agree with all the comments that this is being way over-analyzed.

Go back to the basics. The FRO is a representative of the wing commander, “responsible for verifying appropriate information, authorizing a CAP pilot to fly as pilot in command in CAP aircraft, documenting the appropriate mission symbol, and confirming that the aircraft has arrived safely at its destination”. The authorizing a pilot to fly an aircraft bit extends to ensuring the requirements of 70-1 have been satisfied before authorizing the pilot to take the keys and put them in the ignition. That’s it.

It is not an FRO’s job (since an FRO is not necessarily a pilot) to enforce, or necessarily even know the FARs, to determine whether the PIC is in a position to safely act as an PIC by FAA standards. It is their job to know what CAP requires for a pilot to operate a CAP plane, and ensure those checkboxes are checked.

Or said another way... take the FRO out of the picture and assume a wing commander has to personally give the authorization to operate a CAP plane. Assume the wing commander is not a pilot. Since that wing commander is personally responsible for that piece of equipment, what would they want to be assured of before allowing someone to fly the plane?

Exactly.
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MajTbird
Recruit

Posts: 18

« Reply #54 on: January 03, 2018, 12:36:06 AM »

I beg to differ.

This may be the perspective from a wing commander level but it does not account for membership liability exposure.  Predictably, wing and above level folks are going to try to implement policies and systems that benefit their command and control needs and desires.  Unfortunately, such has become routine in CAP while the rank-and-file members are taken for granted.  Members aren't asked for input (how many examples do you want?) and seem to be generally ignored as policies and demands on time are constantly burdened more and more.

But, the big issue with this new FRO implementation isn't the fact that PIC responsibility hasn't changed in the eyes of the FAA, it hasn't.  Nor is it that wing commander's need to account for the responsible use of CAP assets.  It comes down to one thing (for me):  Liability.  All the FAA and CAP "stuff" goes out the window when the aftermath of an accident becomes a civil issue.  That is, when people start suing.  When that happens the worst thing you could have done is having agreed to being "responsible for the safe outcome of the flight" and "becoming the conscience of the pilot."  You just made yourself responsible for the accident, you exposed yourself to significant liability, your life will become a living hell, you and your family will suffer, your reputation (deserved or not) will take a serious hit and all it will take to pretty much ruin you financially is the very low bar of showing "preponderance of the evidence" (not proving "beyond a reasonable doubt") to a jury.  A jury that is likely predisposed to reward grieving widows and children and these rich private pilots need to pay.  All the CAP platitudes of "for the wing commander" and blah, blah, blah, what we really meant for the FRO blah, blah, blah won't do you a bit of good.  And the preponderance of evidence is all there for the court to see in all that you entered for the flight release and the online FRO course where you agreed to all this exposure.

Just the reality of a litigious society, folks, and a dose of shock that CAP would even propose such for its membership.  I'm 100% for a reasonable administrative function but FRO liability must be strictly and completely eliminated.

I agree with all the comments that this is being way over-analyzed.

Go back to the basics. The FRO is a representative of the wing commander, “responsible for verifying appropriate information, authorizing a CAP pilot to fly as pilot in command in CAP aircraft, documenting the appropriate mission symbol, and confirming that the aircraft has arrived safely at its destination”. The authorizing a pilot to fly an aircraft bit extends to ensuring the requirements of 70-1 have been satisfied before authorizing the pilot to take the keys and put them in the ignition. That’s it.

It is not an FRO’s job (since an FRO is not necessarily a pilot) to enforce, or necessarily even know the FARs, to determine whether the PIC is in a position to safely act as an PIC by FAA standards. It is their job to know what CAP requires for a pilot to operate a CAP plane, and ensure those checkboxes are checked.

Or said another way... take the FRO out of the picture and assume a wing commander has to personally give the authorization to operate a CAP plane. Assume the wing commander is not a pilot. Since that wing commander is personally responsible for that piece of equipment, what would they want to be assured of before allowing someone to fly the plane?


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Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 28,358

« Reply #55 on: January 03, 2018, 12:55:18 AM »

...FRO liability must be strictly and completely eliminated.

Done. (Actually never existed, so it was pretty easy...).

Assuming you're a Major, you, of anyone, should know who makes up the majority of the
command echelons in CAP...I'll wait...

...correct...and as such, and considering those same people are FROs, would they take on
"FRO liability" without considering the ramifications to, first and foremost, themselves?

Citing that this is a "litigious society" is like an answer from Micorsoft Tech Support technically correct,
but of no value to the actual problem.

No one would argue the raw point - in an incident involving death, injury, or significant property
loss, the lawyers are going to go after literally everyone. So?  If that's a real concern then
your only option is to quit CAP, because, you know, you could get sued, like every minute of every day.

Also quit driving, eating
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Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 28,358

« Reply #56 on: January 03, 2018, 01:14:35 AM »

I went back to see if I was missing something - all this over a non-regulatory slide in a
presentation - it's called "rehtoric".  Nothing more, nothing less.

The actual regulation says this:

"9.10.2.3. The FRO is responsible for verifying appropriate information, authorizing a CAP pilot
to fly as pilot in command in CAP aircraft, documenting the appropriate mission symbol, and confirming
that the aircraft has arrived safely at its destination. If not notified that the flight was safely concluded or
extended, the FRO is responsible for initiating missing aircraft procedures two hours after the estimated
landing time."


Same as it ever was - no "safety of all", no "conscience", etc., and certainly no flight planning or second-guessing the
PIC.  In fact other verbiage indicates that it is the PIC's job to notify of new conditions, change the ORM, and
request a new release when appropriate.

That's it - anything else is just hair on fire for the sake of being outraged. 
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jeders
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 2,057

« Reply #57 on: January 03, 2018, 10:57:27 AM »

That's it - anything else is just hair on fire for the sake of being outraged. 

Welcome to CAPTalk.
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If you are confident in you abilities and experience, whether someone else is impressed is irrelevant. - Eclipse
Ohioguard
Recruit

Posts: 48

« Reply #58 on: January 03, 2018, 01:56:23 PM »

For those who asked, the FRO first came out in 1977 or 78, it has been around a long time.  I remember reading the letter from the wing commander on it and I am sure if your go back through the Monthly Bulletins for that time frame you will find the info on it.  I remember there being a lot of push back when it first came out.  Of course back then in the stone age, no cell, no text or computer.

JCW
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Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 28,358

« Reply #59 on: January 03, 2018, 02:19:13 PM »

For those who asked, the FRO first came out in 1977 or 78, it has been around a long time.  I remember reading the letter from the wing commander on it and I am sure if your go back through the Monthly Bulletins for that time frame you will find the info on it.  I remember there being a lot of push back when it first came out.  Of course back then in the stone age, no cell, no text or computer.

JCW

Getting a release in those days could be very dangerous...

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