You may have heard the adage “the best type of accident is one that’s avoided”—a popular notion among AOPA Air Safety Institute staff. So as pilots, how do we advance this concept and embrace safety every time we fly?
Being proficient—not just current—is an excellent start. But it requires that you commit to regularly sharpening your skills and honing your knowledge. For example, periodically arrange some time with your flight instructor to work on areas or techniques you’d like to improve; when weather grounds your flight, participate in a ground school session to brush up on the regulations and how they apply to your type of flying; and when an Air Safety Institute seminar pops up in your area, broaden your knowledge with nuggets of wisdom from knowledgeable seminar leaders and fellow pilots.
Additionally, explore the Air Safety Institute website, which has an incredible inventory of free safety programs—from the popular Accident Case Study and Real Pilot Story series to online courses, top-notch safety videos, quizzes, and publications that provide relevant insight and critical lessons learned.
To help get you started on your safety journey, consider these top 10 Air Safety Institute programs to prime the safety pump for your flying adventures in 2016.
- Transitioning to Other Airplanes online course. Do you know what to expect when jumping from a familiar airplane or avionics setup into something new? Get the scoop on how to make that switch safely while having fun exploring a new horizon.
- Real Pilot Story: From Miscue to Rescue. Learn how a series of delays, poor decisions, and lack of preparation turned a four-hour cross-country flight into a 30-hour survival nightmare for a pilot and his family in the Idaho backcountry.
- Accident Case Study: Emergency Management. In this video, the Air Safety Institute shares lessons drawn from a pilot’s unfortunate decisions during a vacuum pump failure in instrument meteorological conditions.
- Runway Safety course. How do you cope with cockpit distractions, confusing taxiways, and miscommunication? This tablet-friendly course puts you in real-world scenarios that depict the complexities of airport surface operations.
- CFI to CFI digital newsletter. Whether you’re an active flight instructor or simply interested in what CFIs are saying, here’s your chance to enjoy thought-provoking articles, videos, and flight instruction tips. Anyone can subscribe to this free quarterly newsletter.
- Electronic Flight Instructor Refresher Course (eFIRC). If you’re a flight instructor, are aspiring to become one, or are simply interested in advancing your aviation skills for the love of safety and knowledge, you’ll enjoy the Air Safety Institute’s eFIRC. Developed for desktop and mobile devices, the course enables you to train at your own pace, anywhere, anytime.
- Live safety seminars. Feed your flying passion and connect with seminar leaders, flight instructors, and new friends when you attend a free AOPA Air Safety Institute Safety Seminar near you. The online schedule includes icons to identify whether the course is a fly-in or one of the institute’s unique aviation locations.
- 24th Joseph T. Nall Report. Learning from others’ mishaps may help us avoid similar mistakes. Dedicated to the memory of NTSB member Joseph T. Nall, the downloadable report provides a comprehensive analysis of general aviation accidents during 2012.
- Weather Wise video series. Getting the big weather picture can sometimes be a daunting task. With this series, which focuses on practical weather flying, the institute shares strategies to gather important weather information at the right time, whether planning a VFR or IFR flight.
- Margins of Safety: Angle of Attack Indicators video. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a precise way to gauge when you’re about to exceed a wing’s lift capacity? This video explains the different angle of attack indicators and how using one can help you keep stalls at bay.
These safety programs were made possible by generous contributions from pilots like you. The AOPA Air Safety Institute thanks you.
Aviation Technical Writer
Machteld Smith is an aviation technical writer for the Air Safety Institute. She holds a commercial pilot certificate with multiengine, instrument, and seaplane ratings.