The FAA website includes this simple statement: What drives us – through everything we do – is our mission to provide the safest, most efficient aerospace system in the world. We continually strive to improve the safety and efficiency of flight in this country.
Since safety is the FAA’s top priority, it makes sense that safety education and safety promotion should be on the list of FAA safety-enhancing tasks. Although everyone in the FAA Flight Standards Service does some form of safety education/promotion work, the focus of this effort is concentrated in the FAA Safety Team, or, FAASTeam. The official FAASTeam mission statement is:
To improve the nation’s aviation safety record by conveying safety principles and practices through training, outreach, and education … (to) establish meaningful aviation industry alliances and encourage continual growth of a positive safety culture within the aviation community.
The FAASTeam – once known as the Aviation Safety Program – is structured around a few key concepts. One is the idea that preventing accidents requires a customized approach. At the heart of its structure are a series of FAASTeam Program Managers (FPMs) who work at Flight Standards District Offices.
One Size Does Not Fit All
To ensure that the safety education message is specific to their area, each FPM will develop a unique outreach strategy based on a central performance plan and from information gathered from the front lines, including: accident/incident reports involving airmen from the area hazards identified by FAA inspectors at local Flight Standards District Offices information from the local aviation community.
The next step is for the FAASTeam to develop specific programs and materials designed to mitigate risk and reduce fatal accidents. The beauty of this data-driven approach is that pilots in places like Florida don’t have to listen to presentations on icing, and airmen who operate around flat terrain need not spend time with mountain flying techniques or density altitude. The folks who do need these tips get tailored and focused information, and it comes from people who understand their operating environment.
It Takes a Team
Another FAASTeam concept is that it really is a team – FAA employees along with individual airmen and organizations that represent multiple segments of the highly diverse aviation community. Those truly on the front lines of the battle for GA safety are FAASTeam Representatives – aviation safety volunteers who work closely with FPMs to provide safety information and education in their communities. The FAASTeam provides training for those who want to serve as FAASTeam Representatives, and it also supports their efforts with materials and equipment.
By the way, those materials often include copies of this publication, which is another component of the FAA Flight Standards Service’s overall safety education and promotion effort. FPMs can request copies of FAA Safety Briefing to support a wide range of activities – anything from a safety seminar offered by an individual community FAASTeam representative, to seminars given at large aviation events like Sun `n Fun and EAA AirVenture.
The team also includes you. FAASTeam membership is open to anyone who makes the effort to promote aviation safety and become part of the positive shift in safety culture. To become a member, all you need to do is:
- Sign up at FAASafety.gov and use the wide range of resources it offers.
- Participate in structured programs, such as the WINGS – Pilot Proficiency Program for pilots and the automated AMT Awards program for mechanics.
- Attend live FAASTeam seminars in your area.
If you haven’t visited www.FAASafety.gov lately, make it a point to take a fresh look next time you’re on the Internet. This site offers a wide and still growing range of courses, sources, and resources to enhance aviation safety education. We can never learn too much. (FAA Safety Briefing – NovDec 2013)