AirVenture Oshkosh brings all kinds of pilots, planes, and products together to see and be seen. Thanks in part to the Sport Pilot/Light-Sport Aircraft Rule, the variety of aviators, airplanes, and avionics available for viewing has expanded dramatically since the rule took effect in 2004. By allowing a basic “fly for fun” level of certification with just 20 hours of required training, the sport-pilot option is building the pilot population. The light-sport aircraft portion of the rule has stimulated dozens of new aircraft designs, as well as advanced “glass cockpit” avionics once seen only in airliners.
Five years ago, the fizz was also tinged with fears: Some believed that letting inexperienced pilots fly new-design aircraft with advanced avionics was a sure recipe for safety disaster. The SP/LSA safety statistics tell a much happier story, but – as implied in Flight Standards Director John Allen’s Jumpseat column -“happily ever after” in aviation safety requires a strong day-by-day personal commitment to risk management.
Risk Management Handbook. You’re not alone if you don’t have a clear understanding of what “risk management” entails. Fortunately, a new product from the FAA is here to help. The Risk Management Handbook (FAA-H-8083-2), now available on the FAA’s Web site, is a first-time publication designed to introduce the basic concepts of risk management.
This handbook offers practical tools that pilots at every level can use to systematically identify, evaluate, and reduce the risk posed by each flight. These tools include information on developing personal minimums; checklists; and scenarios for risk management, flight planning, and training. Although the handbook uses a few mnemonics, it’s not about memorizing acronyms. The goal is for pilots to choose a risk management tool that can be readily remembered and, most importantly, consistently used to make every flight safer.
Advanced Avionics Handbook. An important component of aviation risk management is understanding the aircraft and its systems. Both new pilots and those pilots new to “glass cockpit” technology can benefit from material in the FAA’s new Advanced Avionics Handbook (FAA-H-8083-6). Also a first-time publication, the Advanced Avionics Handbook is designed to provide general aviation pilots with comprehensive information on advanced avionics equipment available in technically advanced aircraft. This handbook’s chapters include a detailed introduction to electronic flight displays, GPS and area navigation (RNAV), automated flight control systems, and advanced information systems such as weather data link and terrain awareness. Though it cannot substitute for the manufacturer’s guidance on operation of any particular avionics system, this handbook does a great job in presenting fundamental operating concepts for these systems. Happy reading, and happy flying! (FAA Aviation News JulAug 2009)