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Give your students wingsGive your students wings

Our new students may be wet behind the ears, but they’re also like sponges, eager to learn and ready to absorb all we can throw their way. Being new to our world, they usually have no idea how many resources are out there to help them achieve their flying goals and improve their skills on a continuing basis. It’s our job as flight training professionals to help.

Since safety and value are both vital to student retention, partnering with reputable programs that share similar goals enables you to offer invaluable incentives and meaningful credentials to your students and local pilots. Too often a newly minted private pilot certificate finds itself tucked into the far reaches of a wallet. Keeping any pilot engaged with your school on a regular basis in some form or other is possible, even if he or she can’t afford more than a couple of hours of actual flight time per year.

What could be better than aligning your school with the credibility and certified authority of the FAA Safety Team (FAASTeam), one of the world’s undisputed leaders in aviation safety? The FAASTeam is a network of volunteer aviation professionals who work with the FAA to try and make a difference in the aviation community by promoting aviation safety through education, training, and outreach. As an employer you can show your dedication to the aviation industry by joining and working toward becoming a FAASTeam representative. By strongly encouraging every CFI in your school to join as well, your team is showing how much you all care about making aviation as safe as possible and staying abreast of the FAA’s changes. Once you’re a member, you’ll be able to display the logo credentials link of FAASTeam on your website and literature.

Perhaps the most popular component of the FAASTeam’s program is the WINGS Pilot Proficiency Program, which recently underwent several significant revisions to make it a truly invaluable tool for pilots of all ages, ratings, and experience levels. The purpose of the WINGS Pilot Proficiency Program is to encourage pilots to experience more effective, safer, and stress-free flying through various training events with a CFI on a regular basis. The FAA reports that 12,620 pilots have earned at least one phase in the WINGS Pilot Proficiency Program. Benefits of the WINGS program to help you promote it throughout your aviation community include the following:

  • Pilots have improved flying skills, better proficiency, and increased safety.
  • There are three phases of WINGS—Basic, Advanced, and Master. Completion of any Phase satisfies the requirement for a flight review.
  • Credits are earned for keeping up-to-date on aviation topics.
  • Some insurance companies will provide incentives or reduced rates.
  • Participation in WINGS may prove to be a positive factor in any FAA enforcement action, should one occur.

Although participation is voluntary, the FAA acknowledges WINGS participants with a certificate of completion and a distinctive lapel or tie pin, as well as noting it in FAA records.

By completing the Internet-based training provided by FAASTeam, your school may be able to become a training provider under the WINGS program. As a training provider you will be authorized by the FAA to provide pilots with the validation of training completed required by the program.

Since pilots who participate in the program will no longer be virtual strangers to your school, dropping in at the last minute for a flight review, you’ll be able to build regular, long-term relationships with them, garnering steady income from instruction, rentals, supplies, maintenance, and even increased referrals. For pilots who don’t wish to join FAASTeam or the WINGS program, encourage them to continue their learning by visiting the Air Safety Institute where they’ll find many of the same modules offered at no cost.

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