Here's an interesting note for those of you with a 701,750, or 801.  My good friend just got a violation in his RV4 from a "Friendly" FAA examiner at our local airport.  The violation was for exceeding 30 degrees of pitch on takeoff, which requires all occupants of the aircraft to be wearing a parachute by the FARs if you are carrying a passenger.  Even though the RV4 was not equipped with an attitude indicator, the examiner's judgement is going to be enough evidence to support a 30-day suspension of my friend's license.  So be careful of steep takeoff attitudes in your Zeniths if you are carrying a passenger, unless you both are wearing parachutes.

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My impression is the FAR's are pertaining to the airport traffic area. ie. 5 miles  radius centered on the field. Those specs are NO aerobatic flight, without a waiver........ Aerobatic flight is considered  anything in excess of + or Minus 30 degrees nose up or down and 60 degree bank. It does not matter if your alone or have a passenger........ And yes...... Sometimes I exceed the 30 degree number...... But the tower here understands the fine details of what a STOL plane really is.  As for your buddy... Unless there is a video or a still pic they can use to determine climb angle I would contest the " estimation" from the FAA examiner. IMHO.


My friend has the AOPA legal assistance plan, and their attorney says that the law that applies to the FAA is called "Regulatory Law" and the burden of proof rests with the pilot.  The AOPA attorney says to expect a 30 day suspension, and he can possibly get it reduced to 15 days.  The bad part is my buddy is an airline pilot and he will lose a month's pay as a result of this.  Evidently the FAA examiner's word is all the proof that is required to result in a suspension.  It seems like a rigged deal to me, the judge who hears the case is an FAA judge.


  I looked at the FARs and aerobatic flight is "an intentional maneuver involving an abrupt change in an aircraft's attitude, an abnormal attitude, or abnormal acceleration, not necessary for normal flight".  FAR 91.303  The only mention of 30 degrees of pitch is in FAR 91.307 " unless each occupant of the aircraft is wearing an approved parachute, no pilot of a civil aircraft carrying any person (other than a crewmember) may execute any intentional maneuver that exceeds...(2)A nose-up or nose-down attitude of 30 degrees relative to the horizon."  Doesn't matter what airspace you are in or what altitude. 

Good info sir..... Sounds like I need to drop my AOPA legal assistance program as it appears to be ineffective.  And,  maybe on my next flight I will wear a chute and do some aileron rolls on the downwind leg to jazz up the pattern for the tower guys. <G>
I dropped it several years ago, after I had a problem, and tried to use the legal assistance program. They would only pay $200 under the program, which was enough for 4 hours of one of the attorneys they recommended. Needless to say, any real legal action or work would need a lot more time than that. It came across to me as a waste of money.

In my friend's case, AOPA is going to pay for 10 hours at $200 per hour (and it is going to take more than 10 hours according to the attorney) , so $2,000 for a $33 annual premium.  It still sounds like a good deal to me. 


I'm just amazed at how the FAA can get away with this kind of stuff! 

no stalls or slow flight  in the 701 then
In my Kitfox I tend to do a climbout at about a 40% angle to mid field which puts me at patern alt then level out and turn at the end of the field or when the tower tells me to, we also have a FSDO on field and they have never said a negitive thing about it (only  amazement) they seem to all be good people for Feds. Hard to make a turn in a stol aircraft that isn't 45%. On ck rides to make turns around a point I just point the wing at the point on the ground an make a 360. Makes canyon flying fun. In case you dont know Kitfox's have full lenth flaperons also and if I make a full flap landing I would be at about a 30% nose down on final just to keep the airspeed above 40mph. I do prefer to slip which would also put me outside the 30% mark. Hope I never see a Fed on the runway with a protractor in his hand as I'm sure when my 750 is done the angles wont get any less, guess we could just blame it on wind gusting??

Here's a follow-up to this story.  My friend just settled with the FAA, and got a formal "WARNING" letter put in his file for 2 years.  The AOPA-paid attorney wanted to fight the charge, but the risk was, worst case, losing his pilot's licence for one year, and subsequently his job as an airline pilot, so he elected for the warning.  So watch those pitch attitudes on takeoff if you are carrying a passenger!

I guess we tend to want to show off our aircraft and its abilities. An innocent mistake by your friend broughtout the worse in an examiner. Sad really. But taking off from a paved runway should rarely require a bank angle in excess of 30 degrees. I guess we're going to have to practice our STOLs in an actual situation. I was not there but it's hard to support the Examiner from the info presented at this time.

My two cents.

Chris, he is talking pitch angle, not bank angle. For a bank angle to be considered aerobatic (and therefore, require a parachute for each occupant if there is a passenger on board) the limit is 60 degrees of bank. Aerobatic pitch angle is 30 degrees nose up or down. A high performance (or STOL type) plane can easily exceed a 30 degree nose up pitch attitude on initial climbout.
I know he was talking about pitch angle. In my opinion you do not HAVE to pitch that much for a normal take off.
Sorry. When you said bank angle in your post above, I thought you meant bank angle. I guess you meant to type pitch angle. I am therefore in total agreement with what you said above in the context of pitch angle. It is sad that one always has to think like a lawyer when flying in order to avoid the appearance of impropriety, as the politicians say.


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