First, check the Feds ID...he has to show you his ID if you ask. He will want to see your medical and pilot certificates. He may want to see that the airworthiness is in plain view and ask to see the registration and other required aircraft documents. You don't have to show him your logbook or the aircraft logbooks, these only have to be made available to him in a "reasonable" time frame. To me, that doesn't mean that day. If he wants to see the aircraft logs he can make an appointment with me at a mutually agreeable time. Also, they are not supposed to go inside an aircraft unless you invite them to.
Answer his questions politely but don't make conversation. It's like your flight test oral. You answer the question in the shortest possible manner and let him dig if he needs more information. Don't volunteer information that you aren't specifically asked for.
I've never been ramped in small aircraft but average about once a year at the airline. The Feds have never caused me any trouble.
I've been ramped a couple of times - no biggie. Most of the time they(FAA guys doing ramp checks) aren't out to screw ya' - they're just out doing it to either fill a quota or get out of the office on a nice day. That having been said - as DE said - don't be evasive of the questions but don't volunteer any information. Unless you're a student pilot(to show evidence of sign offs etc) you are not required to carry your logbook and you're never required to carry the aircraft logbooks so I don't. Don't make it a confrontational experience but don't give them anything other than the minimum info you're required to.
How they act depends on many, many things. First, why are they out there? Is it political? Are they receiving pressure to "bust" someone? Has your airline recently been in the news? If so, watch yourself!
Most of the time it is routine, just filling a monthly quota. Sometimes it can be a surprise and startling.
I was on one of my very first charter flights, about a week after my checkride back in 1992. I dropped my passengers off at Merrit Island and a fed walks up to the Shrike Commander and says, "Excuse me, is this a charter?" He was obvioulsy expecting me to say no. I said, "Yes it is." He says, "Oh? I don't recall any Shrike Commanders on 135 in our district. Let me see your manuals."
He wasn't satisfied until he found our Ops Specs that showed this particular airplane on the certificate. Then he was very congenial. Good thing, too, because I was so flustered I started the left engine, only to have him wave at me and point at my back door (it was still open!)
In all cases, however, the ASIs (Aviation Safety Inspectors) have been polite and professional.
Yep been ramp checked a few times. Usually very non-confrontational, but always ask to see thier ID. They asked for Liscense, and Medical. Some friends of mine coming back from Intl. flights have been asked for thier Radio Liscense. If you get ramped by your own company POI or assistant POI they may get a little bit more in-depth with Jepp and FOM revisions, as long as it does not cause undo delay. But it's always fun to have a fed in the jumpseat with you......
The first company I flew for did not have a check airman in the Ce-500, so everything was done with the local FSDO, initial training checkride, annual, semi annual.
The FAA would ask questions about operations and so on.. If I answered the question right for part 135, and the part 91 reg was different, he would say is that always the case? ...Remember I am in a 135 check here... I would say yes. he would shake his head.... So in your own airplane you need to do XYZ?
My fav question was, on the deice/antiice
How is the Leading Edge deiced?
It is anti Iced to about 4ft, then it has a boot.
How is the leading edge heated?
How many Heating elements are there?
How many heating elements are there and how many amps do they draw each?
I don’t know?
Ok lets move on...
Give me a break I was a new hire to a SIC position with 28hrs Multi time. I love playing stump the chump…. AS soon as he found where my knowledge ended, we were fine, and moved on, some of it may have been, him wanting me to know how much he knew…
I shoulda had a type rating by the time that check ride was done.
The Federalies can't enter aircraft that are sitting on the ramp unattended. If they catch you at the plane, you'd be hard pressed to not let them in for a look if they want to do that. At the same time, they have no business inside an unattended aircraft or entering an aircraft without the owners/pilots permission. If they ask for permission and you deny it, you'd be opening up a huge can of worms...not a good idea.
I also know inspectors can "red tag" an aircraft on the ramp if they find that the aircraft is unairworthy based on an exterior inspection.
Thanks for your responses all, but now for questions that are more specific. If they ask for the aircraft weight and balance data, do they expect you to hand them just the basic empty weight info or do they want a calculated WB, even if you're the only person on board a 4-seater aircraft and you don't have any baggage? Has anyone ever been asked what length the runways were at the airport, and what did they do if you answered incorrectly?
Under part 91, the airplane need only have a copy of the aircraft's W&B. This is a paperwork issue only. In 135 (and somehow in 121 but I don't know how they do it) youhave a W&B sheet worked out every single flight leg. Ours includes landing weight as well because some aircraft can not land at their max takeoff weight. or with too much fuel OB. I'll look for a copy scan the sheet and ask Doug to post it. it is pretty much a mess to look at but somewhat interesting.