Federal Aviation Administration
14 CFR Part 61
(Docket No. 75487345, Notice No. 88-523040306)


ACTION: Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM)

SUMMARY: This notice proposes to require additional qualifications and testing before a certificated pilot may engage or continue to engage in Mile High Club Operations (MHCO) while also exercising the privileges of a pilot certificate.

DATES: Comments should be received before December 31, 1999.

ADDRESSES: Comments may be mailed or delivered in sextuplicate to:
Federal Aviation Administration, Office of Chief Counsel,
Attention: Rules Docket (AGC-204), Docket No. 75487345, 800
Independence Avenue SW, Washington DC 20591.
Comments may be examined in the Rules Docket weekdays, except Federal holidays, between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.


Need for Rulemaking

Under the provisions of the East Chitlin Switch, Kansas, Wheat Silo Subsidy Act (P.L. 100-872398-A), Congress has mandated the FAA to regulate the activities of the formerly unregulated Mile High Club (MHC). Under present rules, anything accomplished at an altitude of one statute mile (5,280 feet) above ground level (AGL), regardless of the degree of difficulty or the level of expertise demanded, earns a certificated pilot a scroll illustrated by Milton Caniff and a three-color bumper sticker. Through a procedure of self-regulation, the organization has set forth requirements that activities take place at an altitude of at least 5,280 feet above ground level to prevent Denver pilots from messing around on the ramp. Although the organization has adopted rigid admission requirements for its pilot members, a recent National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report disclosed an accident in a light training aircraft (LTA) caused by pilot error in the form of disorientation of a student pilot (sex unknown) after the Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) (sex un-known) attempted to introduce the student to a maneuver not included in the MHC syllabus. Similarly, the crash of a corporate-owned Learjet in western Pennsylvania was thought to have been caused by the absence of the crew from the cockpit at the time the aircraft arrived in Pittsburgh. Further, evidence suggests that some hitherto unexplained accidents may have been due to pilot fatigue following Mile High Club Operations (MHCO) activities. These accidents have amply demonstrated that there is a compelling need for regulation of MHCO activities for the protection of the public and property under the flight paths of such aircraft.

The FAA is proposing to expand the scope of Part 61 of the FARs by the addition of paragraphs 61.300 through 61.305 to prohibit the propositioning of any occupant of a certificated aircraft by any licensed and current pilot who has not first demonstrated the ability to execute the duties of pilot-in-command and/or co-pilot to the satisfaction of an Operations Inspector or a designated Pilot Examiner. It is further proposed to establish minimum experience, age, and skill levels for the issuance of MCHO ratings to pilots' certificates. To ensure that a satisfactory level of proficiency is maintained by certificated pilots possessing MHCO ratings, it is proposed that biennial proficiency reviews be mandated.

Environmental Impact Statement

The adoption of these regulations is not anticipated to have a significant impact upon the environment including an impact upon population pressures.

Economic Impact Statement

The proposed rules would not materially impact the economics of MHCO activities, including those conducted for hire under Part 135.


For the purposes of this NPRM, the following Definitions are established:

PILOT: An applicant for or possessor of a MCHO rating regardless of sex, creed, color, political affiliation, proclivities, or physical dimensions.

CO-PILOT: Any person regardless of sex, creed, color, political affiliation, proclivities, or physical dimensions assisting a certificated, MHCO-rated pilot in carrying out MHCO activities.

PASSENGER: Any reliable witness to an MHCO flight test who does not actively participate.

FLIGHT ENGINEER: Anyone other than a co-pilot who assists the pilot in establishing the proper conditions for accomplishing the minimum requirements of MHCO activities.

AIRCRAFT: Any vehicle aloft suitable for MHCO activities. Does not include automobiles or parachutists falling from high places.

GLIDER: Anyone performing an MHCO activity entirely in mid-air such as during the free-fall period of a parachute jump.

HANG GLIDER: Glider with above-average equipment.

SOLO FLIGHT: A practice session where the pilot is the sole manipulator of the controls.

DUAL FLIGHT: An MHCO activity during which the pilot uses both hands.

AUTOPILOT AUTHORIZATION: An authorization from the FAA permitting someone else to do it for a shy pilot.

The Proposed Rule

For reasons set forth above, the FAA is proposing to amend Part 61 of the Federal Aviation Regulations as follows:

1. The authority citation for Part 61 continues to read as follows:
Authority: Secs. 313(a), 314, 601, 602, Federal Aviation Act of 1958, 49 U.S.C. 1354(a), 1355, 1421, 1422; sec. 6(c), Department of Transportation Act, 49 U.S.S. 1655(2), unless otherwise noted.
2. Section 61 would be amended by adding the following:
61.300 An applicant for a Mile High Club Operations (MHCO) rating on a pilot certificate must meet the following minimum qualifications:

(a) The applicant must have reached his/her fifteenth birthday or possess a deep voice.
(b) The applicant must present a high school diploma or equivalent indicating a grade of Failing or better, or a notarized statement proving the applicant has compromised at least one substitute teacher.
61.301 An applicant for an MHCO rating must pass a written examination on the following applicable aviation subjects:
(a) Care, operation, a periodic maintenance of articulating seats in certificated U.S. civil aircraft.
(b) Basic anatomy and other considerations in selecting a co-pilot.
(c) Dangers associated with the destruction of aircraft panel instruments by bare feet.
61.302 An applicant for an MHCO rating will be tested on the following maneuvers:
(a) Takeoffs. Applicant will prepare the co-pilot for MHCO activities.
(b) Stalls. Applicant will demonstrate any acceptable and workable method of delay maneuvering to avoid premature results.
(c) Approaches. Applicant will demonstrate at least six (6) precision or three (3) non-precision approaches to a co-pilot who does not suspect the purpose of the flight.
(d) Soft Field Landings. Applicant will show proficiency in selecting procedures to be utilized under soft conditions.
(e) Short Field Landings. Applicant will show proficiency in utilizing the proper procedures under short conditions.
(f) Forced Landings. Applicant will accomplish the minimum MHCO activities despite co-pilot's objections.
(g) On-pylon Eights. Applicant will select two prominent landmarks and maneuver between them. If the co-pilot is not endowed with sufficiently prominent landmarks, the activity may be performed in a flight simulator approved by the Administrator.
(h) In-flight Emergencies. Applicant will conduct a suitable approach with the zipper jammed in the "up" position and will demonstrate the smooth emergency extension of gear before contact.
(i) Holding Patterns. The Applicant will show proficiency in covering all points of interest with only two hands.
(j) Radio Navigation. Applicant will insert the radial into the omnibearing selector and achieve station passage before the "off" flag appears.
(k) Back Course Approach. Not an approved procedure.
(l) Diverting to an Alternate. Applicant will make an approach to a passenger when it becomes obvious that the original destination has gone below minimums because of a cold front.
(m) Maneuvering with an Inoperative Engine. Self explanatory.
(n) Weather Recognition. Applicant will readily identify cold fronts and warm fronts with the cockpit lights inoperative.
(o) Lost Communications Procedures. Applicant will show proficiency in blocking the co-pilot's voice channel using a broad-band antenna with great frequency.
61.303 Proficiency Review.
(a) No person may conduct MHCO activities unless, within the preceding 24 months, that person has --
(1) Accomplished a proficiency review given to him, in an aircraft for which the person is rated, by an appropriately certificated flight instructor or other person designated by the Administrator who possesses a valid MHCO Inspection Authorization.
(2) Had his/her log book endorsed by the person conducting the review certifying that the person has satisfactorily accomplished all the required activities of the review.
(3) However, a person who has, within the preceding 24 months, satisfactorily completed an MHCO proficiency check conducted by the FAA or otherwise been satisfactorily screwed by the FAA need not accomplish the flight review required by this section.

61.304 General Experience. No person may engage in MHCO activities as pilot-in-command of an aircraft carrying passengers, nor of an aircraft certificated for more than one required pilot flight crewmember unless within the preceding 90 days that person has satisfactorily carried out MHCO activities and has made suitable log book entries attesting the fact. This requirement does not apply to persons holding an airline transport pilot certificate or to activities conducted while operating under part 135 of this chapter.

61.305 Instrument Experience. No person may engage in MHCO activities unless, during the preceding 6 months, that person has conducted MHCO operations in the immediate vicinity of cold fronts and successfully logged at least 6 hours under actual or simulated IFR conditions which involved at least six approaches.

Shamelessly stolen by Steven Schlossman
I'd like to give the author credit if he/she will step forward.
Date originally posted: Dec 16, 1996