Easier is NOT Necessarily Better, BUT…

The FAA has made a bold move and dropped the requirement for a complex aircraft for the single-engine commercial and CFI tests. Dr. Donna Wilt, a professor at FIT in aviation and our SAFE representative on the ACS working group, alerted me to this change as it was being written earlier this week. We had heard hints of this when we met Brad Palmer at Sun ‘N Fun a few weeks ago. His team at AFS 800 was very concerned about the safety of our aging fleet of complex planes. To be clear the requirement in 61.129(3)ii for 10 hours of experience still is in place (only an NPRM process can change a regulation, and this has been pending for over a year). With a stroke of the pen however, the complex requirement in testing is gone.

So what does this mean for flight training and safety? For flight students there was a collective sigh of relief for reduced requirements and cheaper acquisition of their certificates. For older pilots there was a lot of justifiable grumbling about “lowering standards” and future safety implications. Obviously there is always a compromise between safety and proficiency in all our training standards but I think the recent Piper Arrow accident in Florida tipped the scales on this decision.

SAFE clearly stated our position on the proposed NPRM  changing comples standards in August 2016; lowering the training requirements is not commensurate with greater safety. But given grave concerns about the Piper Arrow wing spar issues, many flight schools are already operating under an FAA Waiver that eliminates the complex requirement. Why should Part 61 candidates not have this same relief from this regulation for a complex A/C on tests?

Pilots in training will inevitably seek the easiest and cheapest pathway to their certification. But those pilots who truly value safety and proficiency will go  further and seek out tail wheel, glider and other categories to build additional skills and proficiency. (Witness the recommendations from senior aviators at the NTSB LOC Roundtable yesterday.) Our job at SAFE is to inspire, encourage and enable the latter pathway; toward the voluntary pursuit greater proficiency and aviation excellence. We continuously work with the FAA to achieve reasonable solutions. We have all seen pilots that despite regulations, cut every corner and take the “low road” satisfying every requirement. Join and support SAFE to inspire and enable aviation excellence and professionalism. Your thoughts?


Please “follow” our SAFE blog to receive notification of new articles. Write us a comment if you see a problem or want to contribute an article. We are always seeking more input on aviation improvements and flight safety. There are many highly qualified aviation educators out there! If you are not yet a SAFE member, please Join SAFE and support our mission of generating aviation excellence in teaching and flying. Our amazing member benefits alone make this commitment worthwhile and fun. Lastly, use our FREE SAFE Toolkit App to put pilot endorsements and experience requirements right on your smart phone and facilitate CFI+DPE teamwork. Working together we make safer pilots!

NTSB Loss of Control; April 24th

Loss of control in-flight is the #1 causal factor of general aviation fatalities. Though largely a catch-all grouping encompassing many diverse sources, the majority of these accidents implicate insufficient pilot situational awareness and maneuvering skills during critical phases of flight. For this reason, deeper analysis of this phenomenon is of particular interest to flight educators. Should pilot training and testing standards be higher or skill levels more stringent? Our SAFE Pilot Training Reform Symposium in Atlanta in 2011 led to embedding judgment and risk management into flight training with the new FAA ACS standards. Did this initiative go far enough? What can we do as educators to reduce these all-to-common fatal accidents?

Doug Stewart; Community Aviation (.com)

This Tuesday, April 24th, the NTSB is assembling a roundtable meeting of subject matter experts in the field of flight training. Veteran pilot and master educator Doug Stewart, one of the founding members of SAFE and former Executive Director, will represent the flight training community in this important gathering. Doug has over 12K hours dual given, is a FAA DPE, 10 time Master CFI, and also FAA CFI of The Year in 2004. This gathering will be covered live on the NTSB channel. (You can earn FAA Wings for watching)

Loss of control inflight has been on the NTSB “Most Wanted List” for many years. We believe that a deeper investigation of these accidents and greater understanding of root causes can help prevent these occurances. But the key lies in more vigilant and aware pilots with increased skills in maneuvering and upset recovery. As educators, we must sharpen our educational focus and build these pilot skills. SAFE has been integrally involved in these discussions with both educational articles and national seminars to inspire and motivate pilots to improve skills.  But the solution also requires every educator to commit to increased abilities both in initial certification and in recurrent training; especially in areas of basic control and maneuvering flight. Focusing on greater professionalsim and excellence to create safer pilots is a key SAFE mission mandate.

As a long-time flight instructor, I also encourage every pilot to access the excellent training materials from the Air Safety Institute. Their Essential Aerodynamics course is an comprehensive (and fun) tutorial that will benefit every pilot, both student and veteran (no Greek letters). Every pilot absolutely must understand the fundamental forces for our flying to be safe in the air.

Our many hours of straight and level cruising simply do not prepare us adequately for the surprise emergency events that cause accidents. We all must commit to study and train more often at the edges of the flight envelope to stay safe in aviation. The EAA Pilot Proficiency Center at Airventure is free and open to all, presenting surpises that test and train your skills and thought processes. (and we need proficient CFIs at all levels to staff this initiative) Please follow this blog for future updates and commentary.


Please “follow” our SAFE blog to receive notification of new articles. Write us a comment if you see a problem or want to contribute an article. We are always seeking more input on aviation improvements and flight safety. There are many highly qualified aviation educators out there! If you are not yet a SAFE member, please Join SAFE and support our mission of generating aviation excellence in teaching and flying. Our amazing member benefits alone make this commitment worthwhile and fun. Lastly, use our FREE SAFE Toolkit App to put pilot endorsements and experience requirements right on your smart phone and facilitate CFI+DPE teamwork. Working together we make safer pilots!

 

 

Sun ‘N Fun Challenge: Grow, Learn, Share!

For many pilots all over the country, Sun ‘N Fun is the welcome launch of warmer weather and the “fun flying season.” It has been an endless winter for those of us in the north.  Sure, you can shovel your plane out of a snowbank  all bundled up–or even fly on skis–but this April show in Florida is the historic delineation for pilots to end “winter fun.” Sun ‘N Fun is also a great opportunity to grow, learn and share.

S.A.F.E. will be there for you, with a double booth and a complete live studio to present celebrities and record a promotional video for your school or business. We welcome everyone to visit and participate! Just fill out this form to get on the schedule and walk away with a professional video of your business on a flash drive!

Sun ‘N Fun is a great opportunity to join together as a community, network and build your business and partners. The team at Gold Seal Ground Schools (who brought their amazing DC3 to Oshkosh) is providing the technical wizardry to make this opportunity happen at Sun N’ Fun. Success in aviation can be a tough road and promotion and affiliation are necessary to succeed. Come join S.A.F.E. at Hangar C, booths 54 & 55 and watch for updates on our Facebook if you cannot attend.

In addition to our aggressive show presence (and affiliation with Gold Seal Ground Schools), S.A.F.E. is finally launching our new website. Thanks to Eric Hake at The Modern Pilot, we now have a beautiful new user-friendly appearance. This is still in Beta (notice the ww2 adress) needing a few minor changes, but we will be developing this portal for all educators and members to share and learn aviation excellence. This site will also accelerate our growth into live shows and training tools for members  to build their aviation skills and professionalism. Watch for new courses available on the site and regular video segments. Members joining or renewing at the show get a FREE FIRC!

The S.A.F.E. toolkit app has also been updated for the Sun ‘N Fun show and we will post and push messages about exciting events and opportunities throughout the festivities. We are building out the interview calendar here. Aerobatic champion Patty Wagstaff will grace our booth for an interview April 12th at 10am. Update on your your toolkit app by simply closing and reopening it on your mobile (if you don’t the toolkit yet, download it here; all the tools for the CFI!)

For those at the show, please join me and other S.A.F.E. members every morning 8-9AM at the Sunset Grill for breafast under the S.A.F.E. banner. Lots of “pilot talk,” some airshow camaraderie and share your airshow and piloting experiences.


Please “follow” our SAFE blog to receive notification of new articles. Write us a comment if you see a problem or want to contribute an article. We are always seeking more input on aviation improvements and flight safety. There are many highly qualified aviation educators out there! If you are not yet a SAFE member, please Join SAFE and support our mission of generating aviation excellence in teaching and flying. Our amazing member benefits alone make this commitment worthwhile and fun. Lastly, use our FREE SAFE Toolkit App to put pilot endorsements and experience requirements right on your smart phone and facilitate CFI+DPE teamwork. Working together we make safer pilots!