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Recent Updates

CHECK RIDE COMPLETE! Nagorski joins the ranks of ATPs on 18 June 2016.

Please note Paragon's phone number change. New number is 406.530.TomN (8666)
406.388.4158 is no longer in service.

Check out AOPA Air Safety Foundation's Mobile Flight Risk Evaluator here!

Please feel free to contact Paragon using the "Email Us" button in the top right yellow menu bar.

FAA modifies Student PIlot Certificate policy to accommodate birthday solos

July 26, 2016 - From AOPA: The FAA has once again made it possible for student pilots to solo on their fourteenth or sixteenth birthday, depending on the type of aircraft they are operating. Changes to the application process implemented in April meant that pilots-in-training couldn't apply for a student pilot certificate until the first day of eligibility--their fourteenth birthday for gliders and balloons or their sixteenth birthday for all other aircraft. Because of Transportation Security Administration security vetting requirements, applicants could not get the certificate the same day they applied, making it impossible for them to solo on their birthday.

The FAA announced on July 26 that, now, a student pilot can submit a paper application up to 90 days before his or her eligible birthday, allowing time for the application to be processed and the student to be vetted by the TSA before his or her birthday. Once approved, the FAA will provide the student with a temporary authorization to exercise the privileges of a student pilot certificate. The temporary authorization will be available on the student's birthday and remain valid for 60 days. The FAA will mail a permanent certificate to the student pilot within that 60-day window.

[Could the government have made the process any more complicated?]

Source: AOPA Flight School Business, Vol 6, Issue 16 of 08/09/2016

FAA: Cockpit Photos Are OK -- Or Maybe Not.

December 17, 2014 -- A widely cited story posted on the blog Quartz on Friday raises the question whether airline pilots who post aerial photos online are violating FAA rules against using "personal wireless devices" in the cockpit, but the FAA told AVweb picture-taking is OK with them -- as long as pilots use the proper equipment. "A pilot at the controls is permitted to take a picture with a non-wireless camera and not be in violation of this regulation," the FAA wrote in an email. "However, a pilot at the controls is not permitted to take a picture with a cell phone." Tablets and personal computers also are not permitted, and no photos of any kind are allowed during aircraft operations when the "sterile cockpit rule" is in effect, typically below 10,000 feet.

 ...The Quartz story notes that GoPro video cameras that are WiFi enabled also are apparently forbidden by the FAA rule.

Source: AVwebbiz, Vol 13, No. 49, 17 Dec 2014 (

AOPA Offers Free Survival Course

January 16, 2015 - AOPA's Air Safety Institute has produced a new video and a printed guide to help educate pilots and passengers about the skills they need to survive a forced landing in an aircraft. "The safest pilot is one who prepares for any eventuality," said George Perry, senior vice president at ASI. "That includes preparing for an off-airport landing. You need to take the right steps, have the right equipment and know the right techniques to ensure a successful outcome." The program, "Survive: Beyond the Forced Landing," was developed with funding from the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association. It's posted online and available free.

Among the topics covered in the program are survival communications, preferred gear, advice for detection from rescuers, and the importance of flight plans and flight following. Once on the ground, the program covers how to communicate with air traffic control and other authorities, first aid, and the use of basic survival equipment, such as emergency locators, strobes and space blankets. The 13-minute video is posted here, and the 16-page guide can be downloaded here (PDF).

Source: AVwebflash, Vol 22, No. 2b, 16 Jan 2015 (

FAA Announces Change in Special Issuance Medical Certification

April 11, 2013 - This week the federal air surgeon announced a major change to the medical certification process for several common diagnoses that have previously required a special issuance and a review process by the FAA prior to issuing a medical certificate.

Under the new policy, termed "Certificates an AME Can Issue" or "CACI," applicants with arthritis, asthma, glaucoma, chronic hepatitis C, hypertension, hypothyroidism, migraine and chronic headache, pre-diabetes, and renal cancer can receive their medical certificates directly from their AME. Further diagnoses are expected to be announced in the coming months.

The AME will require certain documentation but this does not have to be forwarded to the FAA as in the case of a special issuance. The resulting medical certificate is good for the normal duration, depending on the age of the applicant and/or the class of medical.

Members of the EAA Aeromedical Advisory Council were heavily involved in bringing about these changes. "We are incredibly fortunate to have the Aeromedical Advisory Council at EAA," said Sean Elliott, EAA vice president of advocacy and safety. "These six AMEs are among the most experienced and respected doctors in the aeromedical business, and this announcement represents the culmination of several years of hard work on this policy they have done on behalf of our membership."

Source: EAA News, 11 Apr 2013 (

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