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SPANS - Safety Program Airmen Notification System

Spanning the gap between airmen and the FAA

by James E. Pyles
Reprinted with permission from FAA Aviation News

The Federal Aviation Administration's Aviation Safety Program has been producing safety seminars, pamphlets, advisory circulars, videos, and many other safety related items for years. The U.S. Postal Service has been our primary way to deliver notices about the availability of these items and information about when and where seminars would be held. This method of delivery is very slow and costly. With the growing popularity of e-mail and its magnificent suitability for delivery of this type of information, we have developed the FAA's Safety Program Airmen Notification System or SPANS. A user friendly web site that one can use as merely a place to 'see' what events are coming up in your local area or any area throughout the country with just a few simple clicks of the mouse. You may find it more convenient to register with the site and receive this information and important safety alerts right in your e-mail box in a timely manner. It's your choice and our way of spanning the gap between the FAA and our customers.

Since its launch on March 21, 2004, the SPANS site has had over seven million hits and averages over 700 visitors daily. We have been delightfully surprised at its overwhelming success. Over 3,500 seminar registrations have been received. Safety Program seminars in some areas have seen an increase of over 15% in average attendance and all in two short months. The online registration, for most events, has helped the FAA plan better and save resources, which can be put into bringing you even more safety events and materials.

What has made it so successful? Airmen have told us that it is not your typical site, hard to navigate and find what you need. Rather it is user friendly and simple in form and function. Many have said it is the timeliness of the information. Almost all have said, 'it's about time' the FAA has done something to make finding the safety information they need easy, fast, and effortless.

Part Of A Larger Effort

SPANS are a part of a much larger effort to bring safety information to you electronically via the web and e-mail. will soon bring you a safety library, aviation-related links, online training on safety topics, and a one-stop shop to order FAA safety-related publications and materials like videos, CD's, and DVD's. We are not trying to compete with the many great organizations that already provide airmen with safety information. Our goal is to bring to you FAA information that will help you fly safely and legally. We aim, at, to bring you up-to-date pertinent safety information and span the gap between the FAA and all airmen using the National Airspace System.


Event Search: This is the heart of SPANS. You can search for events by specifying parameters like Zip Code and mile radius, state, airport, FAA district/region, or keywords. If you are registered on the site, when you log in all events within 50 miles of your home or office will appear on the screen automatically. Or perhaps you are willing to go a little further away from home to gain a little more information on that trip to the mountains you are planning. Simply type in 'mountain flying' or similar keywords to find all the events in that part of the country where your topic of choice will be discussed. Pick the event you want to attend and then register online to receive a reminder of the event delivered right to your e-mail box.

Preferences: Here is where you can customize SPANS to suit your personal needs. Change your e-mail address, password, or which ratings you would like to receive pertinent safety information on. Customize the type of notifications you wish to receive automatically or completely opt-out of the SPANS system.

Local Contact Information: Have you ever wanted to know who your Safety Program Manager was? or, perhaps a local Aviation Safety Councilor to ask a question of? Do you know which Flight Standards District Office is in your area? You will find this and other items your local Safety Program Manager deems appropriate to add to the list.

Site Suggestions: We are always looking for ways to improve SPANS and This is your opportunity to let us know how we can. First you can let us know what type of seminar information you wish to have in your local area. Or what kind of online training would help you most. Pick from the list of National Emphasis Items or give us your own thoughts and ideas.

As the Safety Program transitions into the twenty-first century, come make the transition with us. Bring your ideas of how we can help you fly safer and is the place to be. Tell all your friends to bring their ideas with them and let's continue to SPAN the gap between the FAA and airmen. Help us rebuild a new robust safety team by taking part in this great effort to reduce general aviation and all accidents in the greatest airspace system in the world. For more information, register at <>.

James E. Pyles is the Northwest Mountain Region Safety Program Manager and the Team Leader

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