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From the Logbook: Aviation Safety Programs . . . And What Makes Them Work!

© Jim Trusty 2008

The success of the latest offerings from the Federal Aviation Administration is absolutely astounding and growing by leaps and bounds as others daily get on board. The continued success of the newest offerings by the FAA will be guaranteed if all the other alphabet groups adopt aviation safety as one of the important steps to be a part of their organization. And why shouldn’t they? Isn’t that really what aviation is all about?

What an accomplishment it would be if every single member of the aviation industry were made aware of the information that FAASTeam has to offer and how easy it is to become a part of all this safety stuff. Unless they come on board, they will never know how much their participation would be welcomed and appreciated.

As of the date of this article, over 500,000 people have joined www.faasafety.gov in order to receive information about upcoming safety seminars in their immediate area or zip code. There is no cost to join and it is open to the general public. You simply put in your e-mail address and add your chosen password and that’s it. It couldn’t be any simpler. The site, accompanied by offerings from the Federal Aviation Administration Safety Team (FAASTeam), has on-line training, flight review classes, credit for classes taken, a chance for the user to have some input, and much more.

Completion certificates and lapel pins (AVEMCO) are also offered; again, all free. We get to use that word “free” quite often. Our meeting sites are generally donated, along with most of the equipment, speakers, food and refreshments, and handouts. Even the travel expense for the volunteers is an out-of-pocket item, and certainly all the time that an FAA Safety Team Representative donates is free and voluntary. So if this program looks like it is going under, the cutting of funds won’t be the cause.

The access we as volunteers have to those in the upper brackets from the Safety Program Managers all the way to those given credit for getting all this started and keeping the mistakes to a minimum, or at least taken care of in a timely manner, is another key to a successful program as widespread nationally as this one has quickly become.

The membership is granted access to all the information collected about the FAASTeam volunteers and management, so if you have something to say to either group, there are phone numbers, addresses and e-mail information to do just that. We gladly accept complaints, compliments, questions, and suggestions on how we, as a group, can improve what we are trying to accomplish with this program.

We are looking for national sponsors (The Ninety-Nines, Avemco, National Aviation Safety Foundation) to help get the word out, and more information can be obtained on the requirements by calling your local Flight Standards District Office and asking to speak to the FAA Safety Program Manager. They can also answer any questions you might have about becoming a Representative, having a meeting in your area, give you the phone number of an active FAASTeam Representative nearby, and answer any other safety questions you might have. We are all eager to help make this program a success.

Now that we have covered a lot of the positives that are needed to guarantee success, let’s talk about what can lead to failure. You not becoming an energetic partner with the FAA and taking an active role in the program is probably number one. I know just exactly how busy you are because at my age I still work as a Corporate Pilot/ “Gold Seal” Flight & Ground Instructor/ FAA Safety Team Lead Representative and write for several publications on a regular basis.

I make the time for what I think is important, as you do, also. We really do a good job bringing safety meetings and seminars to your area. There are well received speakers with brand new, up-to-date information, and if nothing else, the question and answer sessions at the end are well worth the time spent. I guarantee that you’ll learn something at every gathering. If not, I’ll give your money back!

What we can look forward to in the future if we don’t get the required support and attendance will be signs in your airport saying: Are You Current? Did You Enjoy Your Flight Review? How Did Your Instrument Proficiency Checkride Go? May I See Your Logbook? This can be the FAA talking to you, or even worse, your insurance carrier telling you that without proof of currency they will not insure your airplane or you as the pilot. Have you gotten your touch & goes down for this period? How about night currency? Is your medical up-to-date? Is your annual inspection completed and signed off? Are you sure?

Who needs the hassle when all they are trying to do is cut down on the number accidents and incidents. Is that so bad?

With the cost of airplanes, maintenance, insurance, fuel, and hangars all reaching record highs, why are you fighting something that is being offered to our industry FREE of charge? I’ve included my bio at the end of this article just so you can get in touch if there are still questions. I’ve been a part of this type of safety program for over 20 years and can answer most of your questions or can find the person for you that can. I promise!

I look forward to seeing that you have registered on www.faasafety.gov and are planning on attending a meeting in your area. I’ll be there. Just come up and say hello. I’ll save you a seat.

Written permission from the author required to reprint this copyrighted article (2008).

JAMES E. (Jim) TRUSTY, ATP~IGI~CFI~AGI was named the FAA/Aviation Industry National Flight Instructor of the Year for 1997, and the first ever FAA Southern Region Aviation Safety Counselor of the Year in 1995 and then again in 2005.  He still works full-time as a Corporate 135 Pilot~ “Gold Seal” Flight & Ground Instructor~ FAA Safety Team Program Lead Representative~ National Aviation Magazine Writer. You have been enjoying his work since 1973 in publications worldwide. If you have comments, questions, complaints, or compliments, please e-mail them directly to him, and he will certainly respond. Take a moment and visit his new website listed below. I think you’ll find it useful. Thanks.

Lrn2Fly@Bellsouth.Net, www.jimtrustycfi.com

JUST REMEMBER, ACCIDENTS ARE CAUSED AND THEREFORE PREVENTABLE