Fans of songwriter Carly Simon should recognize Have You Seen Me Lately? as the title of one of the two albums she released in 1990. The title serves as an apt reminder that people can go on doing interesting things even when you don’t happen to be watching them.
Why do we bring this up? Because we’ve heard distressing suggestions that somewhere in the flight-training industry there might be a few misguided souls who don’t actually monitor the AOPA Air Safety Institute’s website with compulsive regularity. Hard as that is to believe, it did prompt us to check the archives and discover that it’s been nearly a year since we used this space to bring readers up to date on what we’ve been up to.
It’s been a pretty busy 11 months. In addition to the usual quizzes, magazine and newsletter articles, plus another edition of the Nall Report and its accompanying two-year GA Accident Scorecard, ASI released 12 new educational products (not counting films briefing the arrival procedures for all five AOPA Fly-Ins during that period). While the fly-in briefings have an admittedly finite shelf life, our other offerings will remain entertaining and informative for some time to come. All are available for free.
Two of ASI’s most popular series are our Accident Case Studies and Real Pilot Stories. In the past year, we’ve added one of each. From Miscue to Rescue provides first-person accounts of a crash in the mountains of Idaho not only from the standpoints of the pilot and his family, but also some of the dozens of emergency responders who mobilized to find them. It offers practical suggestions about planning flights over remote areas, emergency preparedness, and diversion strategies.
Accident Case Study: Final Approach analyzes the decision making, weather, and possible miscommunications that led a Piper Arrow to run out of fuel after missing three instrument approaches at the end of a five-hour IFR flight. As so often happens, its pilot overlooked several opportunities to break the accident chain. An en route fuel stop would have extended his range and thereby multiplied his options. Requesting a precision approach with lower minimums would have improved the chance of making it in on the first try, and declaring an emergency just 15 minutes earlier could have preserved the last-ditch possibility of landing at Dover Air Force Base.
Online courses are ASI’s most complex and ambitious offerings. In 2015, we released IFR Insights: A Practical Approach, which expands on our earlier S1ngle-Pilot IFR course with practical strategies and tricks to make weather flying easier and safer. It also includes suggestions CFIIs might follow while providing instrument training.
Two new video series have begun to address some of the most persistent problem areas in fixed-wing GA safety. Margins of Safety addresses stall recognition, avoidance, and recovery. The first two installments address Angle-of-Attack Indicators and Avoiding Power-On Stalls. Segments on stalls elsewhere in the traffic pattern and during off-airport maneuvering are in production.
Seven of eight planned videos in our WeatherWise series are available on the Web. Together they address everything from preflight planning to a discussion of the most common types of weather-related accidents. The final video will be released in April. And the stand-alone presentation of Collision Avoidance: See, Sense, Separate takes up one of the subjects that provokes the highest level of pilot anxiety relative to actual risk, that of midair collisions. Knowing when and where to look can help lower worry and hazard alike.
We’ve said it before, we’re saying it now, and it’s a pretty good bet that we’ll say it again: When first-rate educational supplements are available at no cost, ignoring them just doesn’t make sense. If your instructors aren’t aware of these resources, they should be. If they are but still don’t promote them to their students, wouldn’t you like to know why not?
David Jack Kenny is manager of safety analysis for the AOPA Air Safety Institute.