February 4, 2013
By Benét J. Wilson
Bad weather across a large part of the country means that many pilots have less time to take to the skies. But AOPA member Shannon Osborne, a member of the North Jersey chapter of The Ninety-Nines, came up with an idea to counter that.
Osborne has challenged her chapter members to take an Air Safety Institute online course in February. And for every course her members take, she has pledged to donate $5 to the Air Safety Institute, and she’s going for 100-percent participation.
“I created the challenge for February, when pilots are not flying as often, because I wanted to do something that allows people to keep up their skills,” said Osborne. “This weekend when I couldn’t fly, I went online, and took three ASI courses. I think other members should take advantage of things like these courses to keep their skills sharp. The pilot who recently landed on the Hudson [River] reminded me how important it is to keep my skills sharp.”
The North Jersey Ninety-Nines have a MeetUp website to organize their activities, said Osborne. “I posted my challenge on our site for our 16 members to see. We have meetings on Monday. I won’t be at the next meeting, but one of our members will be there to encourage everyone to join the challenge,” she said. “Members can RSVP no to accept the challenge and switch to yes once they’ve completed their course. That way, members can see how many people have accepted the challenge.”
Osborne said she is a firm believer in AOPA’s safety products. “I survived an accident where unfortunately, the other pilot didn’t. The skills I learn in these courses can save lives,” she said. “Whenever I get into a situation, I hear the voice of my flight instructor, Tim O’Neil, saying ‘fly the plane.’ You hear these things as a student, and if you keep refreshing that, you can save your life and others.”
As for the $5 donations to the Air Safety Institute, Osborne said that nickels add up to dimes. “If we get a lot of people out there doing this challenge, the money will add up.”
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