In flying, the motto “a license to learn” applies to all pilots, whether you’ve earned your credentials decades ago or recently added that coveted certificate to your wallet. But how do you follow this sage advice? Certainly, federal aviation regulations provide minimum requirements for pilot currency—for example, the flight review and instrument proficiency check. While these cover legally required minimums, keep in mind that pilot currency is not the same as pilot proficiency.
Say you or some of your club members haven’t flown regularly since completing your flight review several months ago. Would you consider it safe to fly the minimum required number of takeoffs and landings at night, and then load your family in the airplane for a VFR cross-country flight to a family reunion? You may be current and legal, but it may not be smart. Why not step back and delve into a couple of aviation safety programs to fill gaps and dust off the rust? Your friends and family will appreciate it.
Since many clubs have regular safety meetings or present safety topics at meetings, check out AOPA Air Safety Institute’s Top Ten picks from 2016 for subject ideas. It’s a great way to jumpstart your member’s license to learn and might make it even easier to plan those club safety seminars.
1. Tablet-Friendly Online Courses. Whether you wonder about the true meaning of lift, or want to brush up on airspace, Aerodynamics: Stalls, Spins, and Safety and Know Before You Go: Navigating Today’s Airspace serve up essential knowledge to your tablet or desktop computer. Give these courses a spin before your next flight.
2. Accident Case Study: Unintended Consequences. Beware of complacency: Performing the same tasks in the same way may lead us to overlook things we take for granted. In this video, explore the errors that caused a twin-engine airplane to impact a mountain at night on what should have been a routine flight.
3. Margins of Safety Video Series: Our proximity to the ground during takeoff and landing should give us pause to consider how any action or inaction can lead to a stall or spin that may be unrecoverable. Concluding this video series, Avoiding Traffic Pattern Stalls and Low Altitude Maneuvering address the issue of flying safely at low altitudes.
4. AOPA Fuel Cards. While completely preventable, misfueling continues to be a problem. There are simple steps to prevent it from happening to you. Learn how clear communication and AOPA’s customizable fuel ordering cards can save the day.
5. CFI to CFI newsletter. No need to be a CFI or AOPA member, but you must subscribe to receive this free newsletter each quarter. Trade flight-training tips with others and explore the challenges and opportunities flight instructors face.
6. Collision Avoidance Video: Terrain, obstructions, and midair collisions often fall into the “can’t happen to me” category. But getting caught in a tight situation is possible if you’re not prepared. Look out! Avoiding Terrain and Obstructions suggests how to recognize and avoid potentially dangerous situations.
7. Personal Minimums Contracts. Do you set, review, and adhere to personal minimums? Doing so will help fight the temptation to "mentally negotiate" yourself into a tight spot during the heat of the moment. Download and sign the VFR and IFR contracts with yourself, your passengers, and your family to stay within your personal minimums.
8. Flight Instructor Refresher Course—Online or In-Person. Sign up for the most comprehensive FAA-approved CFI renewal program and the only one that puts all its net revenue back into developing aviation safety programs. Flight instructors, pilots aspiring to become one, or anyone simply interested in advancing their aviation skills will enjoy ASI’s CFI renewal program led by expert, knowledgeable, and engaging presenters.
9. In-Person Seminars. Passionate about flying and sharing knowledge? Plan a club activity and attend a free 90-minute seminar at an airport, aviation museum, or aviation themed venue near you. Find your favorite location in the seminar schedule online.
10. Emergency Video Series: An in-flight emergency requires you to recall immediate action items. Engine Out! From Trouble to Touchdown and Taming the Twin: Four Rules for Safe Multiengine Flying explore the proactive things you can do to ensure a safe outcome on every flight.
The AOPA Air Safety Institute has you covered—from flight planning to proficiency training. Next to courses, videos, quizzes, and digital and online publications, ASI also produces the AOPA Fly-In procedure videos and the Joseph T. Nall report.
These safety programs were made possible by generous contributions from pilots like you. The AOPA Air Safety Institute thanks you.