Flight Training - April 2011 - 44

FLIGHT LESSON

By Johnnie J.G. Poole III
FLIGHT LESSON offers the opportunity for pilots to learn from the experiences of others.

MY MOMMA SPELLED MY NAME WRONG, AND IT NEARLY COST ME MY CERTIFICATE

PAPERWORK PROBLEMS

t’s the morning of my checkride. I’ve been spending money like a drunken sailor in Singapore, dragged my wife along to Florida to train, passed the knowledge test, and done all that the FAA and my instructor required. The weather is perfect as only Gulf Coast Florida spring weather can be. The crosswinds and
turbulence that play hob with light sport aircraft won’t be a problem this morning. I’m as ready as any student can be. Calm, rested, prepared. The bright pink line on the sectional chart is backed up with a plan that tells me exactly how fast, how far, how long, and how much fuel the checkride cross-country will require. Answers to questions about regulations are rolling around in my head and all is right in my aviation world. By midmorning I’ll have my paper sport pilot certificate and begin packing up for the trip home. Two miles to go to the flight school and my cell phone rings with the flight school manager’s harried announcement, “Don’t bother to come in! There’s a problem in the FAA computer with your name and it can’t be fixed!” Overconfidence is as bad as ignorance when it comes to flying, but I really had done well. Now all the sweat and money was swirling down the drain. And it was my momma’s fault!

I

I have lived with this problem for six decades and completed two careers, multiple FCC licenses, and college with only minor inconveniences, but post-September 11, 2011, all that is changed. The FAA is on high alert to prevent fraudulent pilot certificates. I agree with them. I don’t even care which version of my name they prefer. My mistake was in using the driver’s-license spelling on the test (per the request for a picture ID) and the birth certificate/passport/military ID spelling otherwise. And my instructor and I could not change the spelling in the FAA’s arcane, tightly secured computer system. Fortunately, the wise designated pilot examiner had seen such tomfoolery before. As one of the trusted sources of information for the FAA, he could actually change the spelling of my name on the

GET SLOPPY WITH THE SPELLING OF YOUR NAME AND THE GOVERNMENT WILL RAIN ON YOUR PARTY.
I’m the third iteration of my name and probably the last. Like most people, Momma taught me to spell my name. And I obeyed to the letter. Johnnie, period. No “Y” for us. My father’s gravestone said “ie,” Momma said “ie,” church and school records agreed. Driver’s license? Yup, “ie.” Right up until I went into the Marines in the late 1960s. My mother, probably drugged silly by the common painkillers used in childbirth in the late 1940s, had signed my birth certificate with a Y! errant documents (after a careful examination of them) and we could go fly! OK, miss an altitude by 50 feet or a heading by five degrees and nobody will care very much. Get sloppy with the spelling of your name and the government will rain on your party. Trust no one. Even your sainted mother can get it wrong. Use the spelling that’s on your federal papers every time. No initials, no shortcuts, and no nicknames—ever! Besides, names like “Buzz,” “Crash,” or “Flip” don’t belong on a pilot certificate.

LESSONS LEARNED
FAA procedures and policies can be hard to follow. Be vigilant on paperwork. Prepare far in advance for your checkride, including the paperwork. Sometimes Momma can be wrong.

MARIO WAGNER

44 /

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Flight Training - April 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Flight Training - April 2011

Flight Training - April 2011
Contents
President’s Perspective
Right Seat
Flight Forum
The View from Down Low
This Weekend
Tech Tip What It Looks Like News
Training Products ASI News
AOPA Action
Since You Asked
Final Exam
Member Products
Success Story
News Member Products
Insights
Flying Carpet
REVVING UP THE REVIEW
EXIT STRATEGY
TECHNIQUE
Weather
Accident Report
Flight Lesson
Flight Deck Roles
Career Advisor
Career Pilot News
The Owner/Mechanic
Male Students
Say What?
Advertiser Index
Debrief
Flight Training - April 2011 - Flight Training - April 2011
Flight Training - April 2011 - Cover2
Flight Training - April 2011 - Contents
Flight Training - April 2011 - 2
Flight Training - April 2011 - 3
Flight Training - April 2011 - President’s Perspective
Flight Training - April 2011 - 5
Flight Training - April 2011 - Right Seat
Flight Training - April 2011 - 7
Flight Training - April 2011 - Flight Forum
Flight Training - April 2011 - 9
Flight Training - April 2011 - The View from Down Low
Flight Training - April 2011 - 11
Flight Training - April 2011 - This Weekend
Flight Training - April 2011 - Tech Tip What It Looks Like News
Flight Training - April 2011 - Training Products ASI News
Flight Training - April 2011 - AOPA Action
Flight Training - April 2011 - Since You Asked
Flight Training - April 2011 - 17
Flight Training - April 2011 - Final Exam
Flight Training - April 2011 - Member Products
Flight Training - April 2011 - Success Story
Flight Training - April 2011 - News Member Products
Flight Training - April 2011 - Insights
Flight Training - April 2011 - 23
Flight Training - April 2011 - Flying Carpet
Flight Training - April 2011 - 25
Flight Training - April 2011 - REVVING UP THE REVIEW
Flight Training - April 2011 - 27
Flight Training - April 2011 - 28
Flight Training - April 2011 - 29
Flight Training - April 2011 - 30
Flight Training - April 2011 - 31
Flight Training - April 2011 - EXIT STRATEGY
Flight Training - April 2011 - 33
Flight Training - April 2011 - 34
Flight Training - April 2011 - 35
Flight Training - April 2011 - TECHNIQUE
Flight Training - April 2011 - 37
Flight Training - April 2011 - Weather
Flight Training - April 2011 - 39
Flight Training - April 2011 - 40
Flight Training - April 2011 - 41
Flight Training - April 2011 - Accident Report
Flight Training - April 2011 - 43
Flight Training - April 2011 - Flight Lesson
Flight Training - April 2011 - Flight Deck Roles
Flight Training - April 2011 - Career Advisor
Flight Training - April 2011 - 47
Flight Training - April 2011 - Career Pilot News
Flight Training - April 2011 - The Owner/Mechanic
Flight Training - April 2011 - 50
Flight Training - April 2011 - Say What?
Flight Training - April 2011 - Advertiser Index
Flight Training - April 2011 - 53
Flight Training - April 2011 - 54
Flight Training - April 2011 - 55
Flight Training - April 2011 - Debrief
Flight Training - April 2011 - Cover3
Flight Training - April 2011 - Cover4
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