What rules must pilots & students follow when learning to fly?

Pilots who fly private planes need a physical every two to five years

courtesy of thinkstock photos
courtesy of thinkstock photos

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — A flight instructor and a student were inside the small twin engine plane that crashed in East Hartford on Tuesday. News 8 did some digging to find out what rules pilots and students must follow when learning how to fly.

Dr. Michael Teiger is an experienced pilot and former flight instructor. He also owns a small plane that’s similar to the plane that crashed in East Hartford. He does physicals for pilots for the FAA; he makes sure they’re healthy enough to fly.

“Having experience as a doc who is also a pilot I know the types of things that happen up in the air that a pilot has to go through in order to be fit,” he said.

Pilots who fly private planes need a physical every two to five years, depending on how old they are. Airline pilots need them more frequently. The physical gives an idea of how healthy they are physically.

“We aren’t required to do a mental status exam,” said Teiger. “We aren’t required to delve into a deep psychiatric history and pilots could actually lie if they wanted to.”

NTSB: East Hartford plane crash was an intentional act

Besides being physically fit, pilots have to have a license. Students must have a medical certificate and a student pilot certificate when they start flying by themselves. They have an instructor there to help them when learning to fly. There are controls on both sides of the plane. If there’s a problem, the instructor can step in and take control.

“He has entire control, unless he’s overpowered, unless there’s something that’s weird that’s happening in the cockpit,” said Teiger.

Teiger used to take control of the plane at times when he was an instructor. However, he says if something happened at a low enough elevation that could be tricky.

“If something were to happen, a deviation were to occur, it might have been impossible for the instructor to have taken over that quickly,” said Teiger.

Teiger says if something seems amiss while he’s doing a physical, he notifies the FAA, which then follows up on it.

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