The American Bonanza Society will make its online Beechcraft Pilot Proficiency Program (BPPP) available to members free of charge as the group works to remove obstacles to pilot participation in potentially lifesaving training.
The action builds on the group’s continuing efforts to address declining participation in proficiency training, especially evident in declining enrollment in weekend training programs that cost about $1,500 plus expenses associated with meals and lodging, the group said. About three years ago the society supplanted the weekend program with a combination of online delivery of course material, and flight training near the pilot's home with an accredited flight instructor, bundled for $495.
Under the newly announced training system, course material will be free online, and society members can add approximately four hours of flight training with an instructor with expertise in Beechcraft single- or twin-engine aircraft for $395. All but $20 of the fee goes to pay the instructor, said the American Bonanza Society and the ABS Air Safety Foundation in a Jan. 6 news release.
Bob Goff, president of the American Bonanza Society’s board, said the panel took the action "because we’re serious about the ABS Air Safety Foundation’s mission to protect lives, and preserve the Beechcraft fleet. The best way to achieve these goals is to ensure all ABS members receive regular, expert flight instruction. The best way to do that is to make BPPP training as convenient as possible to members, at the lowest possible cost."
Several pilot proficiency training options will be available. An initial class, a 13-module "Beechcraft Systems, Procedures and Techniques Course," offers pilots an opportunity to refresh or expand knowledge of their airplane’s systems and how to use them in normal, abnormal, and emergency situations. The course includes tips for operating "in a manner that promotes airframe and engine longevity."
A recurrent class, the "Beechcraft Pilot Skills Enhancement Course," expands on the initial offering and teaches advanced techniques for Beechcraft emergency procedures—including "a completely fresh look at stalls and angle of attack." The course also reviews special-use airspace, and gives tips for using electronic flight bags. Optional but recommended for twin Baron and Travel Air pilots is a section covering critical decision-making for engine failures after feathering the propeller.
Adding flight instruction to the online courses could make an owner eligible for a discount on aircraft insurance, and may qualify the pilot for a flight review or instrument proficiency check endorsement.
The society is also offering flight instructors a course, "How to Teach Beech." The goal of the instructor training "is to ensure that Beech pilots everywhere have convenient access to safe, informed and effective type-specific training, in or out of the BPPP system," the American Bonanza Society said.
"By now offering online pilot and flight instructor training free to our members, and flight instruction near the pilot’s home at the lowest possible cost, we’ve removed the obstacles of price and scheduling that may have prevented many Beechcraft pilots from participating in life-saving type-specific training," Thomas P. Turner, executive director of the ABS Air Safety Foundation, said.
Pilots and flight instructors who want to learn more about flying and teaching in Beechcraft Bonanzas, Debonairs, Barons, and Travel Airs may join the 9,000 members of the American Bonanza Society online or by calling 316/945-1700.