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Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to our Frequently Asked  Questions page.  For questions about a specific division of the response Department use these links:

Q: What exactly is the Auxiliary?

A: Created by Congress in 1939, the U.S.Coast Guard Auxiliary is the all volunteer, civilian, non-military component of the U.S. Coast Guard.  Standing shoulder to shoulder with the Active Duty and Reserve members of Team Coast Guard, over 30,000 men and women Auxiliarists volunteer their time, their expertise, their boats and planes, to advance boating safety and to provide direct operational and administrative support to Coast Guard missions and units.  The Auxiliary can assist the Coast Guard in the performance of any function, duty, role, mission or operation authorized by law.  Auxiliarists teach boating safety,  stand communication watches, perform harbor and pollution patrols, and assist in recruitment, among many other things. The Coast Guard Auxiliary, including Auxiliary aviation, is a Force Multiplier and an integral part of the Coast Guard team.

Air TBO Requirements Clarifications

NOTE:  These FAQs are intended to help members understand some of the key points of the revised policy. They are not intended to substitute for the policy statement or to provide a comprehensive explanation of the entire policy.  Any conflict between this information and the Coast Guard document shall be resolved in favor of the Coast Guard document.

Q. I have an AuxAir facility… exactly what does this mean for me?

A. When you get to the recommended hours-in-service or calendar TBO, you will no longer have to choose between:

a)    Overhauling your engine, irrespective of it’s actual condition, or;

b)    Withdrawing your aircraft from the program.

Instead, the new policy requires that you monitor your aircraft’s condition on an ongoing basis, by complying with one of two FAA inspection programs: the annual/100-hour inspection program or an FAA approved progressive inspection program.  In either case, the new policy also requires regular engine oil analyses, also at a maximum interval of 100 hours.

Q. I know what an Annual inspection is, but what’s the difference between an annual inspection and a 100 hour inspection?  

A. These inspection are all described in the Federal Aviation Regulations, 14 CFR 91.409 and in Appendix D to 14 CFR 43.  Briefly, both are very thorough, detailed inspection of the entire aircraft.  A 100-hour inspection covers the same things as an annual inspection, however a 100-hr inspection may be performed by an Airframe and Powerplant Mechanic (A&P), but an Annual Inspection must be performed by an A&P with Inspection Authority (IA).  

Q. And what’s a progressive inspection?

A. A progressive inspection (described in 14 CFR 91.409) allows for more frequent but shorter inspection phases, as long as all items required for the annual and 100-hour are inspected within the required time.  Think of it as an annual or 100-hour inspection, broken up into smaller pieces.  For example, a progressive inspection could use four inspection phases at 25-hour intervals, as long as all of the items required for the annual or 100-hour inspection are inspected within the required time.  The FAA must approve each progressive inspection program.

Q. I just had an overhaul… am I exempt from this new policy?

A. No, you must comply with this revised policy.  It applies to all aircraft facilities offered to the Coast Guard for use.

Q. When do I have to comply with the new policy?

A. The policy is effective immediately.  By the time of your next offer for use, you must show compliance with the new policy.  At that time, you will need to have done at least one oil analysis within the last 100 hours and be within 100 hours of your last annual or 100-hour inspection (or be on an FAA approved progressive inspection program).

Q. I fly around 100 hours each year.  How does this new policy affect me?

A. If you fly 100 hours or less per year, this new policy will have no effect on when or how many inspections you must do.  All it would add is the requirement for oil analyses.  Your annual inspection resets the 100-hour inspection clock.  

If you don’t fly much more than 100 hours per year, you may wish to move up your annual to when you reach 100 hours, so you can continue to fly missions for the Coast Guard.  Or, you could simply “sit out” for a month or so, and not fly under orders until after your annual inspection.

The vast majority (80%) of our facilities fly 125 hours or less per year, so the additional burden to those between 100 and 125 hours/year would be an annual in the 11th month instead of the 12th month since the last previous inspection.  

Q. I fly around 200 - 300 hours each year.  Does this mean I’ll have to do more inspections?

A. For those who fly more than 200 hours/year, we suggest looking into an FAA approved progressive inspection program for your aircraft, in order to minimize down time, spread out the work, and minimize costs.  

Q. I fly between 150 and 200 hours/year.  This policy means I will have to do twice as many inspections as I have been doing.  Is the Coast Guard going to help me pay for this extra inspection?

A. Yes, at least to the extent that you fly those hours for the Coast Guard.  Here are two examples, using hypothetical aircraft and the SAMA table:

Type 2 aircraft, 180HP

SAMA = $41/hr
Engine life expectancy = 2000hrs
Overhaul = $30,000
Engine reserve = $15/hr
That leaves $26/hr to cover other maintenance and inspections
At 100 hrs of CG operation, that generated $2600 towards the inspection, not counting engine reserve

Type 7 aircraft, 2 engines, 210HP each.

SAMA = $82/hr
Engine life expectancy = 2000 hrs
Overhaul = $40,000/engine, $80,000 total
Engine reserve = $40/hr
Remaining = $41/hr
At 100 hrs of CG operation, that generated $4100 towards the inspection

Q. Will this really improve safety?

A. Yes.  More frequent monitoring of the condition of aircraft, especially engines, propellers, and accessories, has proven over time to increase safety and reliability, as well as reducing overall operating costs.  From World War II to the present, numerous maintenance and reliability studies have shown this to be the case.  

Q. Are there any other factors that improve safety?

A. The single most important tool in this kitbag is routine spectrographic oil analysis.  This, combined with the other factors in an annual or 100-hour inspection (compression checks, etc.), provides maintenance professionals with improved oversight and insight into the health of aircraft and their major components.  This program of keeping a closer eye on the actual health of our aircraft has well-proven benefits.  For more information on this, you are invited to read our white paper, “Auxiliary Aircraft Maintenance Standards – The Case for A Fresh Approach”.

Q. Are progressive inspections allowed now?

A.  Yes.  The revised policy makes it clear that the Coast Guard recognizes FAA approved progressive inspection programs as acceptable, along with annual/100-hour programs.

Q. What’s SOAP?

A. SOAP is an acronym for Spectrographic Oil Analysis Program.  It consists of samples of engine oil that are sent to a laboratory for spectrographic analysis for traces of various metals and other relevant compounds.  The lab then generates a report with the results of that analysis.  There are several labs around the country that specialize in this kind of analysis for general aviation engines.  The cost is nominal, ranging from about $15 to $30 per sample, depending on the lab.  (Ask if your lab offers discounts for members of aviation organizations, such as AOPA or others.)

Q. How does SOAP work?

A. You (or your mechanic) buy a sampling kit from one of the labs that provides this service.  You take a sample of oil from each engine, put it in the vial they provide in the kit, and send it to the lab.  You include basic information such as make/model of engine, hours on the engine, hours since last oil change, etc.  The lab considers these factors along with the results of tests on many other engines like yours.  After analyzing your oil sample, the lab compares your test results with what is considered to be “normal” for your engine.  The lab provides you with a report with that information, along with their interpretation of how that applies to your engine.  They may make recommendations, such as more frequent sampling or other suggested actions that may be called for depending on your results.  You and your mechanic then review the report and decide how to address whatever concerns may have been raised therein.  The vast majority of reports will come back with no action recommended.

Q. Do I still have to overhaul my engine when I get to TBO?

A. As far as the Coast Guard is concerned, no.  The decision on when to overhaul is now up to you and your mechanic and should be based on the condition of your engine.

Q. I stopped flying for the Coast Guard because it was over 12 years since my last overhaul.  Even though I don’t have a lot of hours on my engine, it was over “calendar” TBO.  Does this mean that I can offer my plane for use again?

A. Yes.  All you have to do now is be in compliance with the new policy: be within 100 operating hours of your last annual or 100-hour inspection (or be on an FAA approved progressive inspection program) and have done (and document) at least one oil analysis on each engine.

Q. What do I have to report and how do I report it?

A. You must report to the designated ADSO-AVM when you have an inspection done (annual, 100-hour, progressive) and when you have an oil analysis done. The Coast Guard requires the Auxiliary to track these items so that we can demonstrate that, at any time, our facilities are in compliance with the new policy.  The ADSO-AVM will make periodic aircraft maintenance status reports to the Air Stations to keep them informed.  

In addition, before launching on an Auxiliary mission, you must make make a call to your Air Station to report the current aircraft time remaining until the next required inspection is due.

Q. How do I complete the 7005 (offer-for-use) form when it asks about TBO but has no place for the required new data?

A. Until the revised form is published, omit checking the “TBO checked” box.  Then use the “other special equipment – remarks” box to insert what inspection program the aircraft is on (100-hr or progressive), the current aircraft time, when the next inspection is due, and that the oil analysis has been submitted.

 

FAQ Air Operations - AUXAIR

Q: Why Join US Coast Guard Auxiliary Aviation?

A: AUXAIR offers several very worthwhile ways to be part of a valuable team. One can serve as Observer, Air Crew, Copilot, First Pilot or Aircraft Commander and participate in a number of mission areas including: Logistics, Aids to Navigation, Marine Safety and Pollution, Ice Reconnaisance, Ports, Waterways and Coastal Security, and Search and Rescue.

Q: So how do I get started in Auxiliary Aviation?

A: First one joins the Coast Guard Auxiliary and becomes a "Basically Qualified" (BQ) member. This involves getting some education about the Auxiliary, its structure and organization. As the Auxiliary  predominantly deals with boating safety, some background knowledge about boating is a necessity. New Auxiliarists therefore take an Auxiliary boating safety course, another qualified course or self-study, and then pass an examination.  Once Basically Qualified, they may undertake study in any of several Auxiliary programs including Auxiliary aviation (AUXAIR).  Members involved in AUXAIR must earn their qualifications through advanced training. This training is designed to develop observers and pilots for Auxiliary service.

Q: I’m just a private pilot. Can I be an Auxiliary pilot?

A: Of Course!! Persons who hold FAA Pilot Certificates may participate in AUXAIR either as Auxiliary  pilots (depending on certificates and experience) or as Observers. The Auxiliary does not offer flight training; rather, it builds on what certificated pilots already have learned.  Pilot applicants learn about search and rescue (SAR) techniques and patterns, Coast Guard communications, and Coast Guard flight safety rules and procedures.  Pilot candidates must successfully pass a written open book test and take water survival training, as well as pass a SAR procedures check ride.  Pilots with 200 hours or more logged as Pilot in Command (PIC) may be eligible for Auxiliary aviator designation as Copilot. Pilots with 500 or more hours as PIC may become First Pilots, and aviators with at least 1000 hours PIC and an Instrument Rating may be designated as Aircraft Commanders.  Pilots with fewer than 200 hours PIC may become Observers or qualify as Air Crew.  Auxiliary flight crews have an important job to do and are held to high standards of training and safety.

Q: I’m not a pilot. Can I help Auxiliary Aviation?

A: Non-Pilots may participate in AUXAIR as Observers or Air Crew. Observers are generally assigned to handle the communications between the aircraft and Coast Guard units, keep records in the air, and  be the active searchers on SAR and other missions.  Observers receive aviation orientation and training in observation techniques, communications, search techniques and patterns, and safety and survival skills. Observer candidates must successfully pass a written open book test and take water survival training.  Experienced Observers and pilots with less than 200 hours PIC may be eligible to earn the Air Crew rating. The training for this rating rounds out the Observer's knowledge with more instruction on aviation and aircraft operations, Crew Resource Management,aviation communications and navigation procedures. The water survival training required of all Auxiliary aviators and Observers includes a 75 yard swim (with PFD on), training in life raft usage and emergency aircraft egress.

Q: Can I use my plane in Auxiliary Aviation?

A: Pilots may offer their airplanes for use as Coast Guard Auxiliary operational facilities. Planes are inspected to verify that they meet requirements and that all paperwork is in order. A marine radio must be available for use in the plane and an external antenna must be installed.  All aircraft used in AUXAIR operations must be approved facilities.  The Coast Guard does not make any assurances that aircraft will be accepted as operational facilities nor does it suggest that all qualified Auxiliary members will be accepted into the aviation program as pilots.  Fiscal, operational and geographical needs of the U.S. Coast Guard are the controlling factors in the AUXAIR program.   Auxiliarists using their own aircraft on ordered missions may be reimbursed for fuel and maintenance expenses. They are also covered by Federal insurance and liability protection while in the performance of their official Auxiliary duties. Qualified Auxiliary pilots, while assigned to duty, are considered to be Coast Guard pilots, and Auxiliary aircraft, while assigned to authorized duty, are deemed to be Coast Guard aircraft.

Q: Do Aviators require TCT training to maintain their qualifications? Is the CRM class they are required to take equivalent to TCT? In other words, do pilots and observers have to take TCT and the one hour refresher? If they are both a Surface Operator and an Aviator, do they have to take both TCT and CRM, or will one substitute for the other?

A: TCT is a requirement for Surface Operators, not for Aviators. CRM is a requirement for Aviators, not for Surface Operators. TCT and CRM are not interchangeable. Individuals who have both Aviation and Surface qualifications must fulfill the requirements for each qualification, thus must meet the requirements for both TCT and CRM.

Note: The requirements for TCT for Surface Operators are found within the Auxiliary Boat Crew Training Manual M16794.51A (series), Chapter 5, Currency Maintenance.

The requirements for CRM for Aviators are found in the Auxiliary Operations Policy Manual M16798.3E (series), Annex 2, Air Crew Qualification and Training, Section C, Certification and Currency Maintenance.

Q: Can a Beech Bonanza with a throw-over yoke be accepted as a facility? Is it considered to have dual or single flight controls? Is there any restriction on its use as a facility?

A: When in doubt, take a look in "the book." In this case, the Operations Policy Manual (OPM) is the correct "book."  According to the OPM, there is no blanket requirement for dual flight controls in order for an aircraft to be accepted as a facility. However, there are a couple of situations which do require dual controls, as follows:

  1. The first restriction is in Annex 1, Section I, 2. b. - "Dual flight controls, but not flight instruments, are required for night or IMC flight."
  2. The second restriction is found in Annex 1, Section J, 2, which outlines facility requirements for performing Air Intercept Exercise Support Missions. Dual controls are required for all of those missions.

The intent of the dual control requirement is to insure that the safety pilot is able to intervene quickly when necessary, should the first pilot lose situational awareness in these demanding flight conditions. Thus, an aircraft with single controls may be a facility, but it is restricted from being used in IMC or at night. Also, it may not be used for AI Exercise Support Missions.

Q: Is the Bonanza with a throw-over yoke dual or single control?

A: If you count the number of flight controls, there's only one set, isn't there? That single set of controls may be used in either the right or left seat, but not in both at the same time. That doesn't lend itself to having the second pilot assist in an immediate crisis. Thus, it would appear that the Bonanza with throw-over yoke is a single flight control aircraft. It may be used as a facility, but it may not be used at night, nor in IMC and not for AI Exercise Support Missions.

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Aviation Fuel

Q: How are AV fuel costs reimbursed?

A: Expenses for aviation fuel used on missions are reimbursed according to COMMANDANT NOTICE 16798 AUXILIARY AVIATION FACILITY REIMBURSEMENT, dated March 6, 2006 (http://www.uscg.mil/hq/cg3/cg3pcx/missions/AUXAIRRateReimbursement.pdf. It states that "…operators of Auxiliary aircraft issued patrol orders will be reimbursed for their expenses based on actual fuel costs and standard maintenance rates." A table detailing the maintenance rates is included as part of the instruction.

Q: Why was the fuel reimbursement system changed from the fixed rate tables used in the past?

A: To ensure that every AUXAIR facility owner is fully reimbursed for every cent that they spend on aircraft fuel while flying Coast Guard Auxiliary missions and not one cent less.

Q: Why not just raise the fixed rate reimbursement schedule?

A: Because any fixed rate schedule would be incorrect as soon as it was published. Fuel rates rise quickly, and fuel prices vary widely through the country. If the fixed rates are based on average prices, by definition, some prices will be higher, and some lower. It is inherently impossible for any fixed rate plan, based on averages, to be accurate for everyone. Someone will end up being reimbursed for less than they actually spent, and some people will get more than they actually spent. While those who get more will probably not complain, their overage should be used to reimburse those who had a shortfall. Accurate reimbursement for all is the goal.

Q: The fixed rates always worked out pretty well for me. How big a problem was it, really? Weren't some guys just complaining over a couple of bucks?

A: Well, yes, they were. Sometimes the problem was just a couple of bucks; a couple of bucks per gallon that is, multiplied by many gallons. When the current fixed rates were set in May of 2005, the reimbursement was based on a national average AV gas price of $3.06 per gallon. It's currently $3.85 per gallon (April 2006), and rising. Prices vary widely across the country, with a high of $6.76 per gallon. Now consider the case of an Auxiliarist flying on a mission to a large airport in the New England area. He may have to pay over $6 per gallon, but under the fixed reimbursement plan, would only be reimbursed at the $3 per gallon rate. If he puts 50 gallons into his plane, his reimbursement will be $150 dollars short. Do you want to be that guy? If you were, would you want to fly another mission like that? This is exactly the kind of problem that this new plan will correct.

Q: Then why not just raise the fixed rates more often?

A: Changing the fixed rates involves rewriting an official Commandant Notice. In the Coast Guard, that is a big deal. There are several steps of review and approval, and this is not done lightly or quickly. In the several months it may take for a revised rate schedule to work its way through the approval process, the rates may change enough to require the whole process to begin again.

Q: Why not have fixed rates, indexed to the specific region that we fly in?

A: Indexing the fuel prices to "the specific region we fly in", as suggested, would be unworkable. There are 16 Auxiliary regions, with wide variations in fuel prices within many of those regions. Should the CG have 16 (or more) different fuel reimbursement schedules? What about flights which cross regional boundaries? What happens when fuel prices rise at a rapid pace in some regions, but not in others? Do some get updates, and others not? Who keeps track of all of this, and does all that updating? Such a plan would create many problems and errors in reimbursement. The CG requires one plan for reimbursement nationwide.

Q: With fixed rate reimbursement, pilots knew that they had to buy the most inexpensive fuel they could, and that they had to operate their aircraft at the most economical power settings possible, in order to try to come out even. Now, they will just be able to operate however they want, and buy fuel wherever they want. Won't this lead to abuses, such as people inflating their fuel expenses?

A: No reimbursement plan, fixed rate or not, is a substitute for good program management and oversight. Pilots will still be expected to operate prudently. However, many pilots have little choice as to where they must buy fuel, or the rate at which they burn it. Different aircraft burn fuel at different rates depending on many circumstances. Some operations require higher power settings than at other times. This plan will accommodate all of that. And yes, this plan trusts that pilots will report expenses honestly. The old fixed rate schedule relied on pilots to report their hours honestly, too, didn't it? After all, there were no "Hobbs meter police" who came out to verify that the number entered on the orders was the actual number of hours flown. Auxiliarists are always expected to be honest.

Q: Won't all of this additional paperwork clog up the system and cause delays in reimbursement?

A: That's unlikely, as this is the system that the CG Financial Center prefers. This is what they are used to dealing with for most other reimbursements, such as hotel and travel expenses, and this is how the surface folks are reimbursed. When you complete your orders in POMS, you will enter the dollar amount you are claiming as fuel reimbursement. You will print out and sign your orders, as usual. When you send them in to your Air Station for reimbursement, you will attach receipts showing an expense equal to (or greater than) the amount being claimed. When the signed orders with receipts arrive at the Air Stations, they will be cross checked with the information already entered in POMS, and the claim will be verified. Your verified claim is electronically sent via POMS to FINCEN for reimbursement. Auxiliarists are strongly encouraged to keep a photo copy of the receipts (and the orders).

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Q: I flew a mission today, and, because of the weight I plan to carry on my next mission, I didn't refuel after this mission. I don't always fill up my tanks before or after a mission, because I often must trade fuel for payload, and I don't always know what my next flight will be. I may not refuel for a few days after my CG mission. How do I submit receipts for this situation? How do I complete my orders if I don’t refuel my plane after my mission? I have to enter the quantity of fuel used, and the cost. How can I figure that if I don’t refuel after my mission? Do I have to wait until I refuel to complete my orders? That may be several days? I can't afford to wait that long! Help!

A: OK, let's see if we can help clear this up. The fuel reimbursement policy states that you need to submit "documentation" regarding your fuel usage and costs. That means that you need to have a receipt (or receipts) to show the cost of the fuel that you used, for which you claim reimbursement.

You have to buy gas before you can burn it. Presumably, each time you buy gas you'll get a receipt for it. Save the receipt and use it for your claim.

Don't worry about buying gas after your mission. Gas purchased after the mission wasn't burned on the mission, so it's irrelevant. But if you do buy gas after your mission, hang onto the receipt. That's the gas you'll be burning next time you fly, so you're likely to need that receipt for your next mission.

Q: But if I don't buy gas after I fly, how do I know how much I used? How do I come up with a quantity to complete my orders?

A: To complete your orders after a mission, you need to know how long you flew, how much fuel you used, and how much that fuel cost. Obviously, how long you flew is easy. Simply get that from your Hobbs meter or recording tachometer.

All FAA certified aircraft have a Pilot Operating Handbook, (POH) that contains accurate, FAA certified data on fuel consumption for that aircraft. Use the POH fuel consumption data to determine the quantity of fuel used during your mission. Of course, if you have a fuel totalizer, you can get the fuel consumption figures from that.

Now, just use the cost per gallon from your fuel receipt(s) to figure out the cost of the fuel consumed on your mission. Attach receipts which document the cost for which you seek reimbursement. The receipts do not have to be dated the same day as your mission, they may be from the same day, or prior to the date of the mission. (Obviously, they may not be dated after the mission, because you could not have used fuel purchased after the mission on the mission.) The receipts do not have to be for the same quantity of fuel that you consumed on your mission. The receipts, or combination of receipts, must document expenditure equal to or greater than the amount that you are claiming for reimbursement.

Q: I buy fuel in bulk on a monthly basis. I don't get a receipt every time I add fuel. How do I handle this?

A: When you buy fuel in bulk, you still get some sort of a receipt or invoice which shows the price paid for the fuel. Simply attach a copy of that to your orders.

For example, if you buy 500 gallons at $3 per gallon, you'll get a receipt or invoice for $1500. Then, as you use the fuel, claim the amount that you use on each mission, and attach a copy of that bulk receipt. If you fly a mission and use 50 gallons, you'll claim $150 on your orders. You'll attach a copy of your receipt for $1500, but if your claim is for $150, you'll get reimbursed for $150.

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FAQ Surface Operations

Q: How do I get orders to train as a PWC operator if I am not yet certified as a PWO?  Same question if I am a PWO but in REYR?

A: You become a PWOIT (Personal Watercraft Operator In-Training).  See article in UpTop in Operations from August 2006, for details.

Q: Do I get reimbursed for the wear and tear on my boat in addition to fuel and oil while on patrol?

A: The SAMA (Standard Auxiliary Maintenance Allowance) program provides assistance here.  See http://cgauxsurfaceops.us/SAMA.htm for details.

Q: When do the revised manual and qualification guides become effective?

A: 1 January 2007

Q: What if a member is partially through one of the older qualification guides?

A: A. All tasks completed in an older guide may be transferred to the new guide by the mentor, FC, VFC, FSO-MT, or FSO-OP provided they were performed less than 2 years ago. The original date and mentor’s name must be used.

Q: What are the new annual currency maintenance tasks and what is the deadline?

A: The member must have 12 hours underway each year and attend a 1-hour TCT refresher provided by the National Operations Department. These tasks must be completed (and recorded in AUXDATA) by 31 Dec or the member will go into REYR.

Q: What will the 3 year QE check ride be phased in?

A: For members due a check ride under the old program in 2007 or 2008, their QE check ride is due by 31 Dec 07. If due in 2009, due in 2008 and if due in 2010 or 2011, the check ride is due by 31 Dec 2009.

Q: If a member missed tasks and/or hours in 2006, what do they need to do for 2007?

A: The missing hours (up to 8) are made up as a trainee. Missing tasks are not required.

Q: Do crew hours spent underway by a coxswain count toward coxswain time?

A: Yes, crew time now counts as coxswain time.

Q: Does Crew or Coxswain underway time count toward PWC Operator currency (or vice-versa)?

A: If a member is qualified on both, they need to do 12 hours underway on each platform.

Q: Do I have to take the TCT refresher and 5th year 8-Hour TCT in the same year?

A: No, the 8-hour course will suffice for taking the annual refresher in a given year.

Q: Does the annual TCT refresher replace the 5th year 8-hour TCT course?

A: No, the annual refresher does not replace the 5th year TCT course.

Q: Who has to take the Ops Policy Test for initial qualification?

A: Only Coxswain and PWC Operators have to take the open book test.

Q: Where can I take the Ops Policy Test and what is the passing score?

A: 90% is passing. The test is available on-line at: http://cgexams.info/testing/. OTOs have hard copies of the test. If the hard copy is used, it must be proctored.

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FAQ Tele Comms

Q: Where is the Instructor Guide for TCO/PQS?

A: There is no Instructor Guide for TCO/PQS as this qualification is driven by tasks and mentoring is the most effective method to teach tasks. There is however an extensive Mentoring Guide that describes the role of the mentor and the candidate.

Q: How many TCO/PQS candidates may a mentor work with.

A: A mentor may work with more than one candidate at a time and a candidate may have one or more mentors over time.

Q: WHEN CAN THE “ASSIGNMENT TO A TRAINING PROGRAM” OR THE ACTUAL COMPLETION OF THE TCO PQS BE RECORDED IN AUXDATA?

A: AUXDATA IS NOW CONFIGURED TO RECORD BOTH THE TASKING OF A MEMBER TO THE TRAINING AND MENTORING EFFORT FOR THE PQS AND TO RECORD THE SUCCESSFUL COMPLETION OF THE PQS THROUGH CERTIFICATION BY A DISTRICT DIRAUX.

Q: WHO ENTERS EITHER THIS TASK OR QUALIFICATION INTO AUXDATA?

A: THEY ARE ENTERED BY EACH INDIVIDUAL DISTRICT’S DIRAUX.

Q: THE PQS DOCUMENT REFERS TO “GRANDFATHERING” FOR THOSE INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE SUCCESSFULLY PASSED THE AUXCOM TEST ON OR BEFORE 31JUL08. DOES THAT MEAN THAT SOMEONE WHO HAS PASSED THE AUXCOM TEST WILL AUTOMATICALLY BE ENTERED INTO AUXDATA AS “TCO QUALIFIED”?

A: NO. IN THE CASE OF THIS PQS, “GRANDFATHERING” REFERS ONLY TO THE AUTHORIZATION OF AN INDIVIDUAL TO ACT AS THE OWNER OR OPERATOR OF AN AUXILIARY RADIO UNIT. IN ORDER TO BE IDENTIFIED AS BEING TCO QUALIFIED, ALL MEMBERS MUST COMPLETE THE PQS.

Q: ONE OF MY CM (COMMUNICATIONS) STAFF MEMBERS HAS MANY YEARS OF EXPERIENCE IN TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND HOLDS BOTH A HAM LICENSE AND AN FCC COMMERCIAL LICENSE. CAN HE OBTAIN A WAIVER OF THE PQS AND THEREBY BE CERTIFIED AS TCO QUALIFIED?

A: NO. THE ONLY PATH TO ACHIEVE TCO QUALIFICATION IS BY PASSING THE PQS AND BEING CERTIFIED BY DIRAUX. THIS PATH IS EXACTLY PARALLEL TO BOTH THE BOAT CREW QUALIFICATION AND THE AIR CREW QUALIFICATION. FOR SOMEONE WITH THE KIND OF EXPERIENCE AND KNOWLEDGE YOU DESCRIBE, THE PROCESS OF QUALIFYING SHOULD BE EASY AND QUICK.

Q: IN MY FLOTILLA, WE HAVE TWO MEMBERS WHO ARE QUALIFIED “WATCHSTANDERS” AT A CG SMALL BOAT STATION. WILL THEY BE ABLE TO OBTAIN A WAIVER OF THE PQS AND BE CERTIFIED AS TCO QUALIFIED?

A: NO. THE ANSWER IS BASED ON THE STATEMENT IN ANSWER TO THE QUESTION # 5, ABOVE. THE RATIONALE HAS TWO PARTS – FIRST, NOT EVERY AUXILIARIST CURRENTLY CERTIFIED AS A “WATCHSTANDER” HAS NECESSARILY SUCCESSFULLY COMPLETED THE FULL CG M16120.7A TRAINING . THE SECOND IS THAT THE TCO PQS INCLUDES MATERIAL THAT IS NOT IN THE CG’S “WATCHSTANDER QUALIFICATION GUIDE”.

Q: IS THERE A “STUDY GUIDE” OR AN “INSTRUCTOR’S GUIDE” AVAILABLE FOR THE TCO PQS?

A: CURRENTLY THE TRAINING MATERIAL IS UNDER DEVELOPMENT. THE REFERENCE DOCUMENTS LISTED IN THE FRONT OF THE PQS SHOULD PROVIDE THE GUIDANCE REQUIRED TO PERFORM THE TASKS LISTED IN THE PQS.  BECAUSE THE PQS COMES INTO EFFECT AS OF 01AUG08, THERE HAS NOT BEEN TIME TO COMPILE THESE DOCUMENTS INTO ONE GUIDE; HOWEVER THEY ARE ALL AVAILABLE ON LINE. SEVERAL AUX DISTRICTS ARE CURRENTLY CONFIGURING THE DOCUMENTS AND A SYLLABUS FOR TRAINING SESSIONS TO ASSIST MEMBERS IN COMPLETING THE PQS.  AS WE PROGRESS, INFORMATION WILL BE GATHERED FROM THE FIELD AS TO WHAT WORKS BEST AND THEN WILL BE USED TO CREATE THE STUDY GUIDE AND INSTRUCTOR’S GUIDE.

Q: WHEN WILL THE DSO-CM’S HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO SHARE THE INFORMATION ABOUT WHAT WORKS BEST FOR TRAINING?

A: THE TELECOMMUNICATIONS DIVISION HAS BEEN INVITED TO ATTEND THE NTRAIN JANUARY 2009 CONFERENCE IN ST. LOUIS. A MAJOR PART OF THE WORK TO BE COMPLETED IN THE TWO AND ½ DAYS OF TRAINING WILL BE FOCUSED ON THE PQS.

Q: I UNDERSTAND ABOUT THE ROLE OF THE TRAINEE AND THE “MENTOR”, BUT I AM UNCERTAIN ABOUT WHO CAN ACT AS THE “QUALIFIED CM STAFF OFFICER” WHO SIGNS OFF BEFORE THE TRAINEE SUBMITS THEIR PAPERWORK TO THE DSO-CM

A: AS OF RIGHT NOW, ANY CURRENT CM STAFF OFFICER (FLOTILLA, DIVISION OR DISTRICT) OR ANY NATIONAL OT (TELECOMMUNICATIONS DIVISION) STAFF MEMBER, WHO HAS SUCCESSFULLY PASSED THE AUXCOM EXAM OR IS TCO QUALIFIED, CAN SIGN OFF BEFORE SUBMISSION TO THE DSO-CM. AS TIME GOES ON, AND MORE MEMBERS ARE QUALIFIED AS TCO, WE ENCOURAGE THE DISTRICTS TO USE THOSE INDIVIDUALS AS THE “SIGN OFF”.

Q: What is the SHARES program all about?

A: In March of 2007, the Auxiliary National Executive Committee (NEXCOM) and the Office of the Chief Director of the Auxiliary (CG-3PCX) approved participation by CGAUX HF Stations in SHARES (SHAred RESources) which is a part of the National Communications System. For further information click on this link for the announcement memo

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