May 1, 2005
When it comes to aviation safety programs and leading the charge for general aviation safety, no organization outshines the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. As a result of years of concentrated efforts, our safety education efforts to reach more pilots are paying off in some very tangible ways. In addition to an improved accident picture, we also look at the number of pilots who use our services. Outreach was increased significantly, as you will read.
"As a newcomer to the AOPA Air Safety Foundation I am amazed at the passion of our donors. It's exciting to meet with these impressive pilots and understand how general aviation has impacted their lives."
— Jill Shumate, campaign director for ASF's Hat in the Ring Society, is a 500-hour commercial instrument pilot. She has a bachelor's degree in tourism management and a master's degree in business management from North Carolina State University.
"ASF has, on average, five seminars or instructor refresher clinics each week. We coordinate hotel meeting rooms, university lecture halls, and work with FAA safety program managers and volunteers to make sure that the safety message is available to all pilots."
— Robin Sharitz is manager of ASF Safety Programs and Services and is responsible for the marketing and coordination of seminars and weekend CFI refresher clinics. She has been with the foundation since 1989.
"Helping to create the AOPA Online Safety Center is one of the most exciting aspects of working here. The job mixes creative and business disciplines as we produce online courses, print publications, and live seminars. It's a great blend of technical aviation skills and program management."
— David Wright, ASF's director of training, is a former regional airline pilot on the de Havilland Dash 8 and a CFI with more than 2,500 flight hours. He has an aeronautical sciences degree from the University of North Dakota and is currently working on an executive Master of Business Administration.
Best of all, according to NTSB preliminary numbers, total GA accidents dropped to 1,542, an 8.4-percent decline compared to 2003. Fatal accidents declined 11.4 percent, to 312. Midair collisions were unchanged at 11. ASF's annual Nall Report is just being published for accidents in 2003 and is the first look at GA accidents for the prior year. The numbers also improved for instructional flying, with total accidents down 11.7 percent and fatal instructional accidents down 50 percent. (There are very few fatal instructional accidents in any year. Last year there were 17.) Instructional flying was a source of concern for the FAA a few years ago and, through a coordinated effort that included a special-emphasis program by the FAA and some publications by ASF, CFIs were reminded that nothing should be taken for granted around aircraft.
Certainly one of the greatest advances in training is the ability for pilots to access safety courses online 24 hours a day at their own pace and convenience. No more excuses that live seminars are not convenient or local. Recognizing the power of this technology, in 2004 ASF's team of curriculum developers introduced three new online courses: "Say Intentions," a pilot's guide to interacting with ATC in an emergency; a completely revised "Runway Safety" program; and "Single Pilot IFR." This brings our total free course offerings to seven with the addition of a new course early in 2005, "Mission: Possible — Navigating Special Use Airspace." Most of our online courses are accepted for the ground portion of the FAA Wings program. Look for five more courses to come online this year.
With continued assistance from the NTSB, FAA, and the Emil Buehler Trust, safety products based on the ASF accident database expanded rapidly with more than 90,000 viewed accidents and narratives. Other database research efforts included a review of controlled flight into terrain, night-VFR accidents, agricultural operations, and numerous other topics.
2004 set a record for live seminar attendance, with more than 38,775 pilots attending two new programs, "GPS: Beyond Direct To" and "Weather Wise." The transition to satellite navigation is a relatively new topic while weather remains an area of ongoing interest and challenge to all who fly light aircraft.
ASF received matching grants from the states of Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, and New York. The National Weather Service assisted in funding "Weather Wise" and provided technical support to make this an outstanding weather education refresher. These government-industry partnerships are a cost-effective way to stretch safety resources.
Meanwhile, ASF's in-person refresher program remains the industry leader in weekend CFI courses. But we recognize that with today's busy schedules, some prefer to work at home. Our online refresher program, in partnership with Jeppesen is one of the industry's most popular.
Just as it takes fuel to fly, it takes money and cooperation with many industry and private sources to produce a successful GA safety program. The majority of ASF funding comes from individual pilot donors, pilots like you, who have made a financial commitment to save lives and improve our general knowledge. For more details on ASF funding, please see the 2004 Safety and Philanthropy Report online ( www.aopa.org/asf/development/). On behalf of the ASF staff and the entire GA community, thank you for making our skies safer.
Bruce Landsberg Executive Director AOPA Air Safety Foundation
The AOPA Air Safety Foundation is the largest pilot-supported aviation safety organization in the world. It got there through a lot of hard work and through the ongoing, generous tax-deductible contributions from pilots. Only $1 of your AOPA dues is allocated to ASF, so as you can see, we have to seek many other funding sources.
In 2004, we saw a substantial increase in individual donor gifts, including a record number of members providing individual gifts greater than $100,000. AOPA Air Safety Foundation's impressive board of visitors took on a more active role in fund raising last year.
One of our most successful programs is the Hat in the Ring Society, the elite cadre of donors making gifts of $1,000 and up. With the support of dozens of volunteers, the 2004 Hat in the Ring Society campaign grew by 20 percent and has another ambitious growth goal for 2005.
You can make a difference with your donation online ( www.asf.org). Once on the site, click the Your Donation Helps GA button. Thank you!
Harvey W. Cohen Senior Vice President, AOPA Air Safety Foundation
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AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.