2001 Annual Report of the AOPA Air Safety Foundation

An Ongoing Commitment

May 1, 2002

Safety is not a one-time event

No part of U.S. society or activity escaped the events of September 2001. General aviation, in particular, garnered special attention. The AOPA Air Safety Foundation worked alongside AOPA to keep up with a rapidly changing situation. In the days and weeks following the terrorist attacks, pilot education needs reached an all-time high. ASF assisted AOPA on the Web site by graphically representing temporary flight restrictions, translating complex notams into plain English, explaining intercept procedures, and keeping pilots abreast of their responsibilities. We also posted a special self-tutorial course online ( www.aopa.org/asf/online_courses/know_before/) to reach all pilots quickly with information about airspace and intercept procedures.

From September 11 through the end of the year, more than 300 fixed-wing GA accidents occurred. None of these had anything to do with security or terrorists — it was the safety business as usual. It is also a reminder that pilots and ASF should remain focused on the usual problem areas and not be distracted by high-visibility, low-probability occurrences.

In ASF's longstanding tradition, not one single Flight Instructor Refresher Course (FIRC) or safety seminar was canceled. The need to provide you with the latest information was critical, and while travel was difficult, especially with air carrier security challenges, the staff and instructor teams rose to the occasion. Special focus segments were presented at every course and seminar explaining operations in the new environment. Information changed daily and the instructors were faxed the latest updates, sometimes only 30 minutes before taking the lectern. The updates were also compiled weekly and made available to the ASF field instructors on CD-ROM.

Online courses

By any measure, 2001 was a banner year as ASF introduced four online courses. ASF's first interactive program was on runway safety ( www.aopa.org/asf/online_courses/runway_safety/) and became the first such online offering for which the FAA granted seminar credit toward the Wings program. It also won an award from the FAA for helping to stem the rising tide of runway incursions.

A new partnership with Jeppesen resulted in a new online FIRC ( www.cfirenewalonline.com) that allows CFIs to revalidate their certificates on the Internet from their home or office. The program won an industry award for its technical content, innovation, and user-friendliness.

SkySpotter ( www.aopa.org/asf/online_courses/skyspotter/) encouraged pilots to give more pireps and provided a quick review on weather. This was a joint effort by ASF, the National Weather Service's Aviation Weather Center, and FAA Flight Service. Although it wasn't introduced until early November, more than 2,100 pilots had participated by year's end and were ready to help improve en route weather reporting and forecasts. Look for more interactive programs in the coming year. They are a very effective way of reaching tens of thousands of pilots.

Live programs

ASF led the way with the FIRC program 25 years ago and remains the industry leader in weekend CFI certificate renewal courses. That tradition continues for 2002. Safety seminars are also one ASF's hallmark efforts and are offered throughout the country free to all pilots, not just AOPA members. In 2001, "Collision Avoidance," "The Big Red Knob" (fuel management), and airspace seminars played to enthusiastic pilots in 175 locations. "Spatial Disorientation," debuted at AOPA Expo in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and is running nationally now. The seminar program represents a major effort and shows an outstanding collaboration between ASF, the FAA, and the states of Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, and New York with whom we have matching grant agreements.

A program that is really gaining strength is the Seminar-in-a-Box. ASF cannot make live presentations everywhere, so we offer a free program that lets flight schools, FBOs, and CFIs use our materials for the cost of shipping and handling. For more information, visit the Web site ( www.aopa.org/asf/seminars/sib.html).

Pinch-Hitter® again leads as the top nonflying companion course and is available in multiple locations around the country. If your companion has not yet had a chance to attend one, resolve to do it this year. At least give them the videotape — it makes a great Mother's Day or Father's Day gift.

Publications and video

New Safety Advisors, our popular 12- to 16-page color pamphlets on a single subject, were published for Spatial Disorientation, Collision Avoidance, Fuel Awareness, The Cessna 182, The Bonanza/Debonair, and of course, the annual Nall Report. ASF's analysis of GA accidents continues to receive accolades for a concise, early look at the prior year's accidents. The FAA, NASA, and the NTSB use it as a standard reference. All of these ASF publications are available online ( www.aopa.org/asf/safety_topics.html) or in print. Individual copies are free.

Almost all of our live seminar programs are offered on videotape and available for home viewing. They may be purchased for a nominal investment through Sporty's Pilot Shop ( www.sportys.com/shoppilot/).

For the third year running, ASF sent out more than 35,000 videotapes to new private and newly rated instrument pilots. Project V (for video was again funded by AOPA and is designed to reach many more pilots than we can address through seminars alone. I know of no other industry association-foundation team that makes this type of effort to promote safety. Remind GA detractors of this the next time they start to blast light-aircraft safety.


A distinguished roster of industry leaders and aviation enthusiasts comprise the ASF Board of Visitors, which is chaired by former FAA Administrator David Hinson. They provide guidance in all areas with particular emphasis on financial support. None of the Air Safety Foundation's efforts would be possible without tax-deductible donations from individual pilots. While many think that AOPA dues pay for ASF programs, in fact, just slightly more than 10 percent of ASF's annual budget comes from AOPA. More than 30,000 pilots contribute to the support of the Foundation, many making pledges by telephone when contacted by ASF. Others are part of our prestigious Hat in the Ring Society, which counts supporters at various levels, from $1,000 annually to the new Platinum $100,000 endowment. AOPA members who contribute $2,500 and become life associates receive lifetime membership in AOPA. All but $500 of this donation is tax-deductible. Many members have named the Air Safety Foundation as a beneficiary in their estate planning. The effort to fund, develop, and field major GA safety programs is significant. Partnerships with the FAA's Aviation Safety and Runway Safety Programs are significant for their longevity and support. Along with several progressive states mentioned earlier, the teaming of public and nonprofit resources has led to an extremely efficient distribution system. On the corporate side, UPS Foundation, MBNA, Minnesota Mutual Life, U.S. Aviation Underwriters, Sporty's, Phillips Aviation Fuels, Air BP, and several others, who are listed in our annual report to donors, deserve hearty recognition.

Despite many challenges and other pressing needs in the country, you responded to the fact that safety is not a one-time situation but an ongoing commitment, and it is more important now than ever. On behalf of the ASF staff and the entire GA community, thank you for your support and interest in general aviation safety.

Safe Pilots. Safe Skies.

Bruce Landsberg, Executive Director

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