by Lynnwood “Woody” Minar
As we went through our initial flight training, safety was drilled into us on the ground and every time we flew. We went on to earn our Private Pilot Certificate, which is often referred to as “a license to learn.” That’s when we fully digested and learned what our instructors and the experienced pilots were talking about during those early days of training. As the years have gone by, we became more competent and more proficient. Sound familiar?
But as competency and proficiency improves, complacency creeps in and that’s when things can start to go wrong unless we put them in check. This is also why continuing education is so important because the once-every-24-month flight review is just a bare bones band aid to break some of the bad habits. Flying is like the golf swing. To make that really good shot (flight maneuver), you just have to do 17 things correctly, but at any given moment, three will be wrong; which ones, we don’t generally know. The more we try to figure it out and attempt to correct the unknown problems, the more things go wrong. The chain of potentially catastrophic events has now started.
“Safer Skies Through (Continuing) Education” is the theme adopted by the FAA and is headlined on FAASafety.Gov where there’s a plethora of courses you can take on line and seminars you can attend in person. You can design your own in-flight training curricula on a continuing basis that results in a rolling flight review.
There’s also quite a bit of information on FAASafety.Gov about the FAASTeam, which is short for FAA Safety Team. Succinctly, its mission is “to improve the nation’s aviation safety record … and encourage continual growth of a positive safety culture within the aviation community.”
We FAASTeam Representatives are pilots, generally flight instructors and Aviation Maintenance Technicians (AMT), from all over the country who are passionate about actively promoting and creating a unified effort to prevent accidents and “tip” the safety culture in the right direction. This is done through educating the pilot and AMT communities by volunteering our time, resources, and knowledge.
We FAASTeam Representatives in Minnesota and western Wisconsin meet quarterly with our Minneapolis FAASTeam Managers Alan Hoffert and James Niehoff. They provide the overall guidance, our group suggests ways to implement that guidance, and individually and collectively we implement the program.
One of our major challenges is this: “How do we get more pilots, especially newer ones, and AMTs involved with continuing aviation education?” ‘Continuing’ is the key word here.
What’s our challenge to you? We are reaching out to encourage every pilot and AMT who attends seminars and takes online courses to “adopt a pilot (or AMT)” and to introduce that pilot or AMT to the many avenues of continuing aviation education. And that adopted person should be encouraged to reach out and do the same. Become a mentor to new pilots and AMTs. Spread the word. Be pro-active.
Let’s not forget the www.AOPA.org/asf/online_courses website,which also has a lot of online courses.
Email me at Woody.Minar@Gmail.com.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Lynnwood “Woody” Minar is a Master CFI, CFII, MEI, CFI-G, IGI, AGI, FAA Gold Seal CFI, and a FAASTeam Lead Representative for the Minneapolis FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO). Minar provides flight instruction through Osceola Aero in Osceola, Wisconsin, as an independent contractor.