|The TSA Sux...|
As regards to flying, I've had a lot of bad luck this past couple of months. The TSA [Unites States Transport Authority] had decided that I wasn't allowed to fly anymore, until myself and my CFI were registered with them. This is a relatively new process that came about due to the 9/11 tragedy...
All non-U.S. 'alien' students have to now go through a security vetting process. The problem was, was that my CFI is pushing 80 years old, has never owned, or used a computer, and of course doesn't have e-mail - and the registration process is 99% INTERNET based. Not to mention instructions on the web site and from the local TSA representative were not that intuitive.
I basically had to register myself [a 3 hour experience with much file uploading of passport and I.D. paraphernalia etc], then I had to help my CFI by creating an email addy for him and facilitating him with his registration - this was easier said than done: We were initially given wrong info as to where to register him...I ended up completing a series of web forms that looked suspiciously like the student forms I had recently completed, but I thought hey, maybe they are using one generic form for collecting data...I finally found / stumbled across the correct web site [thanks to a poster on studentpilot.com] 3 weeks later after almost giving up on the whole deal, with thoughts of looking at a Part 141 flight school who were already registered.
I wasn't keen on a Part 141 school basically because I knew there would be a lot of changes: different plane/ young hour-building CFI's [no offense guys] more costs, and more importantly, my hours / experience would have to be evaluated, and for all I know I could have been stepped back a fair bit.
I then had to wait until his name appeared on a 'providers' list within my own apply for training Alien Student Program Application Web Interface. When his name eventually appeared I shouted Eureka!! I could at last maybe not fly with him AS YET, but I was on to the next hurdle of applying formally for training with my CFI.
The current situation is that I have to now go visit a local Police precinct in order to get finger-printed [even though I am already on the FBI / INS database due to my old Permanent Resident / 'green card' process - why can't these federal bodies simply talk to each other?]. So I should be up and learning again within the month....fingers crossed.
The crazy thing is, in the interim, I am still allowed to rent the plane for solo's!!! Which is another piece of bad luck, because our plane has been down due to a major over-haul during this same period, and took longer than it should. The plane is now back, and I did my first solo flight [pattern-work] in 8 weeks today.
Was my training and are my current solos legal? I have looked into this, and yes they are it seems. Apparently, during my initial training last year, the TSA Alien Student program was not at that time compulsary, so my training was in good standing. I can still solo because the TSA have no interest unless there is training involved.
...nice to be back on the horse
Latest: The TSA has granted me permission to fly with a CFI from 3/24/06! Hooray!