You have to know everything about everything...

When I was studying for each of my practical tests, I always felt like I was expected to know everything in every FAA publication intended for airmen. That's a good goal, but there's an absurd amount of information included in Advisory Circulars--and some of that information is itself, absurd.

AOPA publishes some newsletters I subscribe to, and one of them has a quiz question at the end of each message. The question at this end of this week's newsletter was (paraphrasing somewhat): "If you're thinking about growing a beard, where can you get guidance from the FAA?" I thought the answer was "You need to contact your local FSDO, because if you think there's any consistency between FSDOs, you haven't been playing this game long enough. The Oakland FSDO is advising handlebar mustaches, whereas the Seattle FSDO currently recommends you model yourself after the scary neighbor in Home Alone." I was wrong.

Advisory Circular 120-43 is all about beards! If you're going to be flying above FL180 in an unpressurized aircraft, you're going to need to wear an oxygen mask, which won't play well with a full-face beard. Don't worry: if you just want to rock a thick, curly neck beard, the FAA says that's A-Okay!

Geoff Rapoport

Safety and Training


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