"Your Legal Eagle"

T.J. via Email: I was recently issued a SODA for a color blindness condition. I was able to demonstrate that I can operate safely within the confines of my condition. Will I have to repeat the evaluation for a SODA at my next medical?

Sal’s Law: Your question is making me thirsty (you knew I couldn’t resist that). The SODA that you speak of is what the FAA calls a Statement of Demonstrated Ability. It can be issued when a non-progressive condition exists in an applicant who then shows that the condition does not substantially impact his or her safe operation of an aircraft. Most SODAs are issued for color blindness and allow the designated examiner to issue a medical certificate, despite the deficiency. The good news is that, unlike bottled soda, a medical SODA does not expire. Under FAR 67.401 however, it can be withdrawn at any time if you fail a medical or the condition changes adversely. That is not quite as refreshing.

L.G. at FRG: I heard from a tower controller that the TAF reports are about to change. Will we have to re-learn all the codes from scratch?

Sal’s Law: Don’t fret LG! There is a plan in the works to change the TAF weather reports from the present format to a new thirty-hour format. This will give us a better long term view of the weather and reflects what the weather service believes is their increased ability to forecast the elements. Of course, if you have ever planned your day based on a good weather forecast, only to have to shovel six inches of partly cloudy from your driveway, you might doubt their success. The new format will require one minor code change. Instead of only indicating the effective time for the report, the forecaster will insert the date and time of the forecasted period. That is necessary of course, since the forecast is for more than a full 24 hour day and therefore it must specify the relevant date of the report. You will see a report that looks like this: “2315/2403”, which would read that the report is for the 23rd day of the month at 1500 zulu to the 24th day of the month at 0300 zulu. How about that, precisely thirty hours.

F.T . via email: I recently contracted for the purchase of a used airplane. I signed a contract with the Seller and began making payments toward the purchase price. Now that I have finished paying the full amount, I have learned that the seller does not really own the aircraft at all but was a third party purchaser. Month after month is elapsing and I have still not received delivery of the aircraft. What can I do?

Sal’s Law: Too many times I see that people handle the sale and purchase of aircraft as if they were buying fruit at the supermarket. Aircraft can cost as much as your house, and I’m sure that you went through a very formal process before being given a deed. In addition, an aircraft has one more attribute that I haven’t seen in too many houses - they fly - and can be moved many miles away without your permission. Your case is very complicated and will no doubt include a bit of intervention from the criminal sector as well as some civil litigation. The key is to avoid having to go through such headaches by better planning. Be sure that there is a contract to purchase that is properly crafted. Be sure to obtain a full title search including judgments and liens. And be very sure that the restrictions of payment are included in the agreement. In your case, holding the money in escrow until payment was made in full would have no doubt made the outcome more certain. Buying an airplane is just a little bit more difficult then buying apples at the local shop mart. Be careful.
Blue Skies to all!

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