Despite otherwise lower than normal attendance at the Experimental Aircraft Association's 2000 AirVenture event, safety seminars presented by the AOPA Air Safety Foundation drew record crowds.
The Air Safety Foundation is celebrating its fiftieth year of providing safety education and research to the general aviation community.
Air Safety Foundation seminars on "GPS for VFR Operations" and "Single-Pilot IFR" drew a total of more than 1,000 pilots, leaving standing room only in the meeting room. In addition, the award-winning ASF video Weather Decision Making sold out early in the show.
"I'm gratified that pilots cared enough about aviation safety to continue standing after seats ran out," said John Steuernagle, Air Safety Foundation vice president of operations. "Comments afterward indicated they found the sessions more than worthwhile."
"GPS for VFR Operations" offers an analysis of why the modern tool for pinpoint air navigation is so often misused and how it can lead pilots astray. One humorous anecdote tells of a determined pilot headed for Cheyenne, Wyoming (CYS), who nearly ran out of gas blithely following GPS guidance toward CYT—which is in Yakataga, Alaska, nearly 2,000 miles away. Some sessions offer participants the opportunity to test their GPS knowledge at the conclusion of the program with an entertaining quiz modeled after a popular TV game show.
"Single-Pilot IFR" answers the longstanding pilot question, "Is it possible?" in the affirmative, offering tips and techniques for safe solo operation in the IFR environment. The seminar includes a review of common IFR-related accidents and discusses important issues such as planning, equipment, organization, situational awareness, and weather. "And don't forget," Steuernagle added, "that all-important question, 'What's my out?'"
In the Air Safety Foundation booth in the AOPA tent on the Oshkosh midway, all copies of the ASF video Weather Decision Making were purchased before the end of the show. That video leads pilots through a real-life, step-by-step process for finding and evaluating weather information, both on the ground and in flight. The ASF-produced video won a Bronze Telly, a prestigious national award given by Telly Awards of Cincinnati, Ohio.
Also at the ASF booth, hundreds of pilots played the ASF-designed "Wheel of Misfortune," a takeoff on a game show designed to heighten awareness of aviation hazards and show ways to minimize those hazards.
In a novel twist, ASF personnel gave out some 3,000 aviation "fortune cookies" to pilots stopping by the ASF booth. The fortunes found inside the cookies served as a starter for safety-related thought and analysis. Some fortunes pointed to additional free ASF safety materials, including popular ASF Safety Advisors on airspace, runway incursions, operations at towered and nontowered airports, and weather.
ASF will again offer the aviation fortune cookies, along with a full seminar schedule, at AOPA Expo 2000 in Long Beach, California, October 20 through 22.
August 17, 2000