The year 2002 has turned into a banner year for the AOPA Air Safety Foundation (ASF) outreach efforts. More than 33,000 pilots attended some 190 foundation safety seminars held across the country this year.
"A safety organization that collects information but doesn't share it wouldn't be of much use to anyone," said ASF Executive Director Bruce Landsberg. "Safety seminars are one of the best ways for us to pass on experience and wisdom gathered in over five decades of studying and trying to improve air safety."
ASF is the world's largest non-governmental provider of GA pilot safety education. The foundation is primarily supported by charitable donations, especially those from GA pilots. For more information on how you can help, please go to AOPA Online or telephone 800/955-9115. Donations completed by December 31 can give you a benefit on your 2002 taxes if you itemize your deductions.
During the first half of 2002, Air Safety Foundation seminars focused on spatial disorientation, in which the brain misinterprets sensory inputs. Spatial disorientation can lead to dangerous flight attitudes such as a graveyard spiral.
Although relatively rare, spatial disorientation accidents are fatal 89 percent of the time. The ASF safety seminar acquaints pilots with the many faces of spatial disorientation and provides practical strategies and tactics for coping with this acknowledged killer.
In the second half of 2002, the foundation offered its ever-popular "Single-Pilot IFR" seminar. Short of an emergency, there is probably no greater test of a pilot's skill than flying in instrument weather conditions. It's all the more challenging when a pilot is flying alone, with no one to assist with the workload.
The "Single-Pilot IFR" seminar offers tips and techniques for dealing with the challenges. It examines some common IFR-related accidents and discusses some of the important issues such as planning, equipment, organization, situational awareness, weather, and that all-important question, "What's my out?"
The Air Safety Foundation's latest seminar, "Takeoffs and Landings: The Ups and Downs of a GA Pilot," is proving to be equally popular. In more than half a dozen early outings this fall, attendance was well above average. "Ups and Downs" uses a sometimes humorous, always informative video to teach pilots about two of the most critical phases of flight: takeoffs and landings. The video rates, Olympic-style, dozens of actual takeoffs and landings taped at a major fly-in held in 2002. A streaming clip from the video is available online.
In addition to the record number of pilots attending seminars, the Air Safety Foundation provided a record number of its Seminars-in-a-Box®. They provide pilots' groups with everything needed to host their own safety seminar for up to 50 people: visual material (slides, video, or CD-ROM), a presenter's guide, safety guides, and door prizes, which also serve as entry forms for ASF's quarterly drawing for a handheld transceiver, courtesy of Sporty's Pilot Shop. Seminar-in-a-Box® costs $24.95 and may be ordered online.
Neither "Single-Pilot IFR" nor "Ups and Downs" are available yet as a Seminar-in-a-Box®, but Safety Advisors on each topic are available online from ASF. In addition, the videos from each of the seminars are available for purchase from Sporty's Pilot Shop. A large portion of the purchase price goes to support the foundation's work.
The AOPA Air Safety Foundation is the nation's only private, nonprofit organization dedicated exclusively to providing continuing pilot education and safety programs for general aviation. It is funded by donations from individual pilots and organizations, which support the cause of improved general aviation safety.