It is hard enough for anyone to map out a course of action and stick to it, but it is doubly hard for an aviator to stay on the ground waiting for just the right moment to go into the air. (Glenn Curtiss, 1909)
For a pilot, the idea of “standing down” from flying – especially when the icy howl of winter has finally given way to beautiful springtime flying weather – is a tall order. Perfect isn’t always possible in aviation, but practice at least makes proficient, right?
True enough. But an aviation luminary by the name of Wilbur Wright once observed that, “It is possible to fly without motors, but not without knowledge and skill.” If, as we hope, you choose to participate in the FAA Safety Team’s Safety Stand Down on April 17, 2010, think of standing down not as standing still, but rather as an opportunity to build your aviation knowledge and safety awareness.
www.FAASafety.gov. One of the many FAA aviation safety resources at your disposal is www.FAASafety.gov, and one of the most important elements of the site is the Safety Program Airman Notification System (SPANS). For those who prefer “bricks” over “clicks” as a learning venue, participation in SPANS offers an easy way to learn about FAA-sponsored safety events and seminars taking place in your area. Anyone can search the SPANS system and register online for these events. To take advantage of this free resource and get automatic e-mail notifications of safety events, go to www.FAASafety.gov, click on Create an Account, and follow the prompts. If you are already registered on www.FAASafety.gov, take a moment to update your user preferences to ensure you get the aviation safety information you want. Rest assured that the FAA Safety Team never shares its user database with anyone else.
A second safety resource on www.FAASafety.gov is the Courses & Events section, which includes a growing catalog of online courses and a list of upcoming safety seminars. The purpose of the online courses section is to offer a convenient, informative, and interesting means of continuing aviation education on a wide range of safety topics that qualify for credit in the FAA’s WINGS – Pilot Proficiency Program or the William (Bill) O’Brien AMT Awards Program.
When you click the link to the online course catalog, you’ll see an alphabetical list of available courses, or you can click a link to see broad categories to choose from. The list of categories covers both specific subjects, including weather, and targets specific audiences, such as pilots or AMTs. The category names in the online course catalog match those in the searchable library. The Web site is, of course, the portal to the WINGS – Pilot Proficiency Program. After you register on www.FAASafety.gov, just click on the WINGS link under the Pilots tab to get started.
Maintenance Hangar. A recent addition is the “Maintenance Hangar,” a special section designed specifically for AMTs. Tabs include a “Toolbox,” information about AMT-specific events and seminars, the AMT Awards Program, and a list of FAA-approved Inspection Authorization (IA) courses and providers. There is also a special projects tab with several initial maintenance training products on identifying hazards and risk situations in the work environment.
By using www.FAASafety.gov and its many resources, many more than mentioned above, you can make the Safety Stand Down an outstanding opportunity to enhance your aviation safety knowledge and skill. (FAA Safety Briefing MarApr 2010)