Think deaf people shouldn't fly airplanes? Come on in.

happyheathen wrote in

If you are asking if I am related to the people that wrote the procedure for no-radio flight into Class D (the FAA), then no.

We weren’t talking about people in old airplanes, we were talking about deaf pilots.

I am not talking about the craft, I am talking about deaf pilots. Find ONE instance of the pilot being deaf being a factor in an aircraft accident. There aren’t any, as far as the NTSB goes back (1962).

What?! WTF does that have to do with anything?

I do not have “nordo forever” thinking. I believe in using the radio when possible. Sometimes it isn’t.


How many midairs were caused by a deaf pilot? NONE.

The only people discrediting GA are asshole bigots like you who think that because someone can’t hear, that they can’t fly an airplane. Fortunately, people smarter than you make the rules.

You think you are helping GA by discouraging deaf people from flying? Why don’t you find a a few deaf city council members or voters and tell them that they should pay for an airport that you don’t think they should use.

And this has what to do with deaf pilots?

I am sure a deaf person can operate a starter/alternator/lights.

I am pretty sure a deaf person can operate a transponder too. As for the radio, only 8 percent of the airspace below 18000 feet, and 2 percent of the airports, require one.

Some deaf or hard-of-hearing people can still speak, and can self announce their position at a non-towered field. Others can have their passengers do it for them. Doesn’t matter anyways, ops at non-towered airports are called “see and avoid”, not “hear and avoid”.

I’m sure you do. Why don’t you go back and read the link you posted? Nevermind, I will quote the relevant part here:

The ATC Facility you would contact is the air traffic control tower overseeing the airspace. The pilot should call the particular ATC tower responsible and submit his request including the estimated time of arrival, type and color of the aircraft. The tower will typical then ask the pilot to enter the airspace in a particular manner and within a specific time frame

They are operating in accordance with ATC instructions, and with a clearance. That is, “under atc”.


Once again, this has nothing to do with guns. Flying is a privilege, not a right. A privilege that the hard-of-hearing can enjoy.

Fortunately for you, the hard-of-thinking are welcome too.

happyheathen… dude… what the fuck are you on about?

Ordinarily, I think you’re the bees-knees, but… uh… what the hell?

What an asshole.

What Mr. Heathen doesn’t mention, of course, is the radios that break down, the radios malfunction, and so forth that can leave a hearing pilot NORDO.

Not to mention that some small airplanes are so loud that hearing anything on take-off is problematic for anyone.

It is the unfortunate form of bigotry that feels a person disable in one thing is disabled in all… and it’s just not true.

The title of this thread is a little misleading… I thought one of the major airlines was now banning deaf people, or making them buy an extra seat or something.

Well, I have to admit that when I read the thread title my first thought was “Deaf pilots? No way.”

Thanks to you Joey G (and especially Broomstick’s post in the linked thread) I stand corrected.

[sub]Broomstick, I don’t know if you have a CFI rating, but if you don’t, you should get one.[/sub]

Well, I have to admit that when I read the thread title my first thought was “Deaf pilots? No way.”

Thanks to you Joey G (and especially Broomstick’s post in the linked thread) I stand corrected.

[sub]Broomstick, I don’t know if you have a CFI rating, but if you don’t, you should get one.[/sub]

Hell, I flew a Stearman for years. We never had a radio, and just stayed out of controlled airspace and controlled fields. The engine noise drowned out any meaningful conversation anyway.

However, the sense of hearing was helpful when the engine acted up, as one could hear an immediate change in the pitch or rhythm, long before the gauges indicated anything.

Not that we could do much with that info. Besides, the engine was so loud, I suspect the engine changes could be felt, as well as heard.

I see no contraindication to a deaf individual doing that kind of flying.

This trainwreck is a continuation of a simple:

“I could not learn to fly because I couldn’t hear ATC”.

“The deaf CAN fly airplanes”

“Look into the feasibility of flight - where I live it would not be feasible”

it then deteriorates into a discussion involving people advocating No Radio (nordo) and no transponder (a beeper which tells ATC your altitute - fairly important for collision avoidance) in downtown Chicago.

At this point, it occurred to me that the good OPer’s reference to “engine-driven-electrical” system indicated that he/she may be one of the troglodytes who preach that the 1930’s - 1940’s planes (which were/are hand-propped - started by hand (think: “Contact!”)) should not be restricted.

This position is backed by an exception, written into the rules years ago, that “airplanes certificated (yep, that’s the word) without engine-driven electrical systems…” would not have to be equipped with radios. Hence the phrase “engine-driven electrical system” is, for these folks, equivalent to “right to keep and bear arms” for another group.
These people are more annoying than the “I have a right to own any damned gun I want” crowd.

As stated repeatedly, operation by the deaf (the test of a pilot is the ability to operate solo - not with someone else working the radio, so drop the ‘a passenger could help’ bit) in high density airspace would be dangerous and irresponsible.

If you can find a non-tower airport more that 30 nautical miles from any class “C” (or whatever the current rule is) airspace, as I said - check with the local instructor(s) and/or FS/DO (pronounced ‘FIZZ-dough’) regarding the feasibility of flight in your area.

Most people in the US live in urban areas. The odds of ATC approving nordo ops in such airspace is nil.

(yeah, we’ll sterilize the air so you can approach, and give you a light signal - it’s not like we have anything else to do).

To recap: If the deaf wish to operate aircraft (so far, no problem with ballons or sailplanes) - see the local authorities.

Private pilots (and above) are required to have medical certificates. Part of the ME’s (Medical Examiner) tests are vision and hearing. If you cannot pass the test, you are an exception, and need special authorizations at just about every step.

And please, if you do get a license, do not overfly me - I am within 50 miles of 3 international airports, 9 general avaition airports, and 1 Coastguard heliport, and 1 (remaining) military airbase. This is not a place for nordo ops.
Thank you.

Even before the whole issue of deaf pilots was brought up, I thought you were acting a bit harshly in that thread, happyheathen.

**Broomstick - **

thank you for the kind words. yes, nordo happens.
tell me, when was the last time you heard a departure clearance for a craft that was ALREADY nordo?

in controlled airspace, nordos a problem - they divert ATC resources, cause undue anxiety among other pilots, etc.
this is why ‘2-way radio communication’ is mentioned so prominently in the airspace descriptions.

p.s. - ever hear of headsets? they work wonders in improving one’s communication. I recommend Peltor (yes, you do need an i/c - planes are just so darned complicated, aren’t they?)

p.p.s. - with small planes now exceeding 100 mph, your 3 mile visibility doesn’t buy you much time, does it? Traffic advisories are real nice. Ever see heavy iron up close? Those puppies close in REAL fast.

You need to go back and read that thread again. Noone said anything about not using a transponder. And noone said a damn thing about flying into downtown Chicago until you posted some article you found online.


The only thing anyone said about an electrical system was me, when I pointed out that it wasn’t necessary in Class E. YOU started off on this whole other tangent about older planes flyng in downtown Chicago. Totally irrelevent to the discussion. Noone said a damn thing about older airplanes flying around unrestricted.


Older airplanes without electrical systems have nothing to do with a deaf pilot getting his pilot certificate. Why do you keep dwelling on this?

Here you go with the gun analogies again. Firearms have nothing to do with the discussion.



Noone said a damn thing about operating in high density airspace. I suggested that they fly in E and G, and the you went off on some downtown Chicago/electrical system rant.


What 30 mile rule are you talking about? The 30nm mode-c veil? That is a transponder requirement, not a 2 way communications requirement.


Is that what the link said? A link YOU posted?


ATC is not obligated to provide seperation for VFR traffic. Therefore, if it is too busy or they think it is unsafe, they will simply tell you “NO”.


Yeah, you have to get what is called a SODA (Statement of Demonstrated Ability). The same thing you would have to get if you were color blind. Big deal.


Where do you live anyway? I would love to check out this area where the airplanes are as thick as mosquitos in the air. If you tell us in what area you live, we can compare midair accident rates, nordo vs. radio. I am sure it will be quite enlightening.

Better keep your eyes open then, because it’s going to happen with or without your approval. If your area is so congested, why isn’t it a huge Class D?

The best thing for you to do now is admit you were wrong. Everyone is seeing how you evade every point made, and you are just making yourself look like an ass with your irrelevant gun-babble and “older airplane/electrical system” ranting.

The more you post, the more I am going to tear it up line-by-line with facts (not opinions) that you can’t dispute, just like all your nonsense up until now.

Apologize for being a dick and be done with it.

So what about driving, hh? The Deaf drive, or haven’t you noticed that?

I live in san francisco - knock yourself out with those stats.

and yes, deaf = nordo, per the FAR’s.

Once again, if you want ot fly a plane, turn off the damned computer, go to an airport, find an instructor and a plane.
If you are deaf, you may find that it is not practical for you to fly in the local airspace.

Maybe you were completely innocent in your suggestion of class ‘e’ and ‘g’, and meant to address such airspace far from ATC - if so, I apologise for thinking you were suggesting operations I would find appalling - if there is a deaf person (still) reading this (trainwreck): again - consult your local FS/DO for recommendations.

yep. and, if you are going to be told “NO” every time, why go to the trouble and expense to get a license.

and, I think that sequencing and separation are provided for VFR ops within ‘b’ and ‘c’ airspace, but am not certain.

One more time:

(all together now!)

*If there is any question of passing the medical exam, see your local FS/DO!

(how many times do I have to say that?)

and who is the “dick” here?


I want to support people with disabilities being able to engage in activities of their choice. But… I have a problem here. Not with the deaf flying planes per se - but with NORDO in general.

I hold a commercial ticket, and most of my flights originate from non-towered airports in Class E airspace. I’m just about fed up with pilots who do not self-announce their intentions and positions.

Having flown a number of planes that were NORDO, I quickly developed my own policy of having a hand-held comm unit with so I could self announce. Many of the airports in my area, while non-towerered, are quite busy. One I go into a lot is a freakin’ zoo on the weekends, and not broadcasting your position there is foolish in the extreme. Twice I’ve had near misses in the pattern with planes that were NORDO, and it’s starting to tick me off.

Lately I have had the idea that maybe the FAA should require some sort of self-announcing at non-towered airports. I’ve run into a fair number of people who are angered by the idea. But frankly, I can’t see why. Hand-held units are readily available for planes with no radio equipment. It’s like signalling a turn in a car - it takes so little effort, and can save so much trouble. But lazy people don’t want to do it.

So to get back to our discussion in this thread, I don’t have a particular problem with deaf pilots as long as they could self announce. They wouldn’t benefit from hearing such announcements obviously, but at least everyone else could look out for them and be warned.

May, 2002

I was at Gary Regional (GYY) when a plane based there discovered his radio was inoperable. He called the tower, requested permission to take off so he could visit the radio repair shop of his choice, and departed with light signals. No problem.

Um… why should I be anxious because someone else doesn’t have a radio? When I flew out of Palwaukee (PWK - definitely an urban airport, 300,000+ ops a year, 8 miles from Big Bad O’Hare) we had two NORDO instances, and in both instances ATC identified the plane to the rest of the traffic and continued to provide normal guidance. Uh, what was diverted here? Who was anxious? Well, yes, I was a little concerned that the folks in the malfunctioning planes might have something else wrong besides the radio, but frankly, it was largely a non-event for the rest of us. Truthfully, in controlled airspace with adequate radar coverage a NORDO is less a potential problem than in uncontrolled because ATC will inform you of the problem plane if necessary even before you see it. Does that mean I promote unnecessary NORDO at tower fields or “positive control areas”? No - but the system is more than capable of handling the occassional NORDO even in a heavy traffic area. And a deaf pilot calling in (presumably via TDD) to a tower ahead of time will be considerably less of a problem than an unannounced, radio-malfunction NORDO

Nope, don’t need an intercom - really, only the pilot needs to hear the radio. Granted, there are a lot of advantages to intercoms, but they are not vital in the same sense as, say, fuel on board or a crankshaft now are they?

Excuse me - what leads you to think I make a habit of flying VFR in 3 mile visibility? Just 'cause it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s safe. I might practice pattern work in 3 miles (WITH a working radio) but I sure as heck don’t go away in less than 5-7. If I’m leaving the local area I want 10 miles or better. Lots better.

Yes. As I said, I flew out of PWK for a couple years. It’s located in a cut-out/under O’Hare’s Class B. We routinely flew under the commercial jet routes at minimum separation. Your point is…what? I was on PWK radio frequencies, NOT Chicago Center or O’Hare’s so I certainly didn’t hear the Big Iron. And as long as you were where you were supposed to be ATC didn’t mention them either. It was my vision (and the occassional nudge from a distant wake) that told me a 757 was overhead, NOT the radio.

In what way does deafness render a person unable to use a transponder? You turn it on and pretty much that’s it unless you’re given a specific code. In the case of the deaf pilot - who would have to communicate with ATC before he left the ground he might be given a code prior to the flight to use. Again, NOT a problem, ATC will know that that plane with that code is NORDO.

And - go back and read the ENTIRE FAR/AIM - you CAN enter the Mode C veil without a working transponder IF you ask ahead of time and ATC approves. Will they always approve? Of course not. But if you’re not going to a big, honkin’ place like an airline hub, and you’re willing to be flexible about arrival/departure times, you certainly can do this. There are also instance where airplanes without transponders based at airports within but on the edge of a Mode C veil ARE permitted to take off and land - in my area both Lake-in-the-Hills and Waukegan (which has a “stick and rudder” club) have people in this situation. Yes, there are rules they have to follow in regards to route an altitude, but this is by no means the impossibility that you imply it to be.

By the way - the ONE mid-air we’ve had in recent years at Waukegan did NOT involve any of these airplanes but rather two transponder-equipped airplanes with working radios and hearing pilots. Maybe we should ban the hearing? They seem to be the majority having accidents (that, by the way, is sarcasm, just in case anyone is humor impaired around here).

Untrue. A deaf person is not FORBIDDEN to use the radio to the extent that they are capable. For instance, a deaf pilot (perhaps someone gone deaf late in life) with clear speech IS able to broadcast at uncontrolled fields. There are boxes sold that hook into a headset jack that light up when someone is transmitting on the frequency. They wait for the light to go out, then announce. Likewise, if they did have an occassion to fly into a controlled field they might inform ATC that while they can transmit they can’t hear a reply. Not all deaf pilots can use these, but those that can are certainly permitted to do so. Other people may be so hard of hearing that they can’t understand speech over the radio, but retain enough hearing to, again, know when there is a transmission and then speak when the transmission stops.

I lived 15 years in Chicago, and started my student training at Palwaukee which, if you look on a sectional or the Chicago TCA, is plainly just a sneeze away from O’Hare, which at the time was the world’s busiest airport and airspace. Are we done with that particular pissing contest yet?

You think? You think? YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO KNOW Get thee to your FAR/AIM and review the relevant portions thereof! ESPECIALLY if you fly in a traffic-dense area.

Have you ever cracked a FAR/AIM? You claim to be a pilot. You claim to fly in a high-traffic area. You are supposed to know this!. No wonder you’re so dependent on the radio - you don’t know the rules and need someone to tell you what to do. Please do stay under ATC control - I find great anxiety at the thought of you having to go it alone.

Uh, right - I couldn’t (quite) pass the vision test, went and took my SODA, no further problems. Oh, yes, I have to wear my glasses while flying - well, hell, I have to wear 'em to drive to the airport, too, so what’s the big deal, here? I’m not even sure a deaf pilot even requires a SODA at all, they might just have a restriction on their license (just as most people with “defective vision” have a must wear corrective lenses restriction and no SODA requirement) A SODA is a one-time event. A medical checkride is too, unless there is a significant change in the condition that required it in the first place.

Heathen, pull out a Chicago Terminal Area Chart. That’s my backyard. Get a Chicago sectional, too - count how many international airports WE have, and how many GA, and how many private strips and helipads and how much military airspace. Please. We’ve got you beat. AND we rountinely handle handle NORDO ops. Not in the actual Class B, no - but certainly within 50 miles of Chicago.

Now, Gassendi DOES bring up a legitmate question, the question of safety. There are two, and only two, standards that ANY person must meet to become a licensed pilot. They are:

  1. Can this person control the aircraft?, and
  2. Is this person a hazard to others?

The answer to both must be yes. However, the FAA does recognize that some people suffer from physical limitations. Thus, a person who is severely colorblind may NOT fly using light signals - it wouldn’t be safe. A person who is deaf is not permitted to fly where two-way radio is required. They can, like anyone wishing to make an exception to a rule, apply for a waiver. Interestingly enough, I do know people who have flown NORDO into Meigs field (that’s in Chicago, for those who may not know). They applied a month in advance to two separate FSDO’s. They had to specificy the date, the planned times of take-off and departure, route of flight, and designate emergency procedures and landing fields in case something went wrong. Aircraft type, color, and license had to be specified. They had to call ATC on the day of planned departure to inform them they were, indeed, leaving. They were required to travel in a group, at a designated airspeed and altitude. In other words - yes, you can do this, but it is not done on the spur of the moment, and when it is done it is done in a highly controlled and structured manner. For safety. Any deaf pilot requesting to travel to an airport such as Meigs, or a Class C (or even, in theory, Class B) would have to be just as thorough in order to obtain approval. Does that satisfy your need to know where such an aircraft is, Gassendi? Or do you still have concerns?

:smack: Damn! The answer to standard #2 should be NO, they are NOT a hazard to others!

Broomy, dear -

who said I am a pilot? hint: my charts are dated 1994.

You like the idea of nordos buzzing around? stay there - we have enough crazys here.

Deaf = nordo? the medical is limited to areas in which 2-way radio communication is not required. Sounds pretty much like nordo to me.

Just out of curiosity, what was the destination of the craft with the busted radio, and why didn’t anyone lend the shmuck a hand-held?

Glad that you do not, routinely, endorse nordo over Chicago. :rolleyes:

a whole flock of nordos? what was other traffic supposed to do, avoid the approach area from an hour out until the twits were sighted?

never mind - to recap ONCE AGAIN:

  1. this is not about deaf - it is about lack of 2-way radio communication, for whatever reason (including the “nordo forever” morons who insist on being “special” for no good reason)

  2. Urban areas are not nordo-friendly.

  3. If you are deaf, you will be, effectively, nordo.

  4. If you are deaf, save yourself some time/trouble/expense and check with the local FS/DO before undertaking flight training. (if for no other reason than to find a CFI who signs - a translator is fine for ground school, but few small planes have 3 front seats.)

  5. If you are deaf, expect even more difficulties in the flight environment than you already experience.

(Broomy -

know what happens to the stall horn on planes used by the deaf?

note: this is my last post on the subject of "learning to fly a 747 via MS Flight Simulator 2002/deaf and/or nordo operations in urban areas.

Pissing contest may now resume

zero-niner-lima NOT looking

I don’t know if you guys can fly a plane, but you’re sure driving me nuts! Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

Never claimed otherwise. Even a deaf person who can speak clearly is just not able to fully utilize a radio and must be considered NORDO. Where we disagree is how much of a liability that is for a pilot.

If your radio or electrical system quits en route, how in the hell are you going to be able to ask for or receive a radio while in flight? The destination of at least one of the above NORDO’s over Chicago was, in fact, Palwaukee and his radio quit only 10 miles out. The other I don’t know - he diverted on his own to a non-towered strip.

Absolutely not. The point of all the monkey-business was so that ATC knew where and when they would be in a certain location, allowing other traffic to continue to move in the area with little or no disruption. They were also routed in such a manner as to avoid the commercial and IFR routes. ATC radar will pick up non-transponder equipped airplanes, if they know to look for them and adjust the settings to pick them up, which also allowed them to be tracked.

You are the one who keeps bringing up the “morons” in the vintage airplanes. Even so, just for the record, if they fly in low-traffic areas in a cautious, curteous and rule-abiding manner I have no issues with them.

No one said they were. I just pointed out that there are methods of accomdating the ocassional NORDO operation.

No one said otherwise.

If you check with my FSDO you’ll find them quite encouraging (although realistic about radio issues). YOU are far more discouraging than they have ever been - and, as I have pointed out we are right next door to the Chicago terminal area.

Why do you assume all deaf people know how to sign? If you woke up deaf tomorrow, would YOU know? Not all deaf people are deaf from birth or childhood.

Also, although it’s helpful to be able to talk during flight training it is not necessary. From talking to a couple instructors who have taught deaf students, they do require a much more thorough preflight briefing than a hearing student. Aside from that, a few agreed upon hand signals are sufficient. People learned to fly airplanes decades before intercoms and headsets, after all, in things like Stearmans where, as Qagdop has pointed out, you can’t hear the other person anyway.

Have you ever spent any time with a deaf person? I think you’re exaggerating just how much of a handicap it is in most areas.

Well, if they own the airplane they might consider replacing it with a stall warning light. I don’t know about you, Heathen, but I was taught how to recognize an incipient stall before the horn comes on. After all, stall horns can malfunciton, just like anything else on an aircraft.

No one said anyone NORDO for any reason should go larking about in high traffic areas - but the fact is, 98% of the airspace over the United States does not require a radio. Saying someone shouldn’t consider flying because they can’t use a radio is like telling someone else they shouldn’t learn to fly because they have a vision problem that prevents them from flying at night. There’s a lot of flying to be done outside of the “forbidden zone”

If someone does have a reason to fly NORDO there are already procedures in place to allow for it, provided it can be done safely. So sorry if that nasty little fact cramps your argument.

The vast majority of flying I do myself could be done without a radio, but it’s nice to have. The weather I fly cross-country in could be navigated with just a map and compass - but it’s still nice to have VOR, NDB, and GPS. And, if you’re smart, you’ll learn how to fly without those nice toys because they do, occassionally, let you down - sometimes over heavily urban areas like Chicago, or San Franciso.

Frankly, I find it somewhat of a relief that you imply you aren’t flying, Heathen.

Every time I’ve flown in a small plane, I’ve wished i was deaf.