Thursday, February 19, 2009

License To Learn

For those of us who fly we have all heard the phrase, "you now have a license to learn" now that your holding that great piece of paper in hand, your temp pilot certificate or your plastic for that matter. It is indeed a certificate that enables one to experience flight without the extra weight in the right seat, your CFI. Above and beyond the opportunity to learn as we spread our wings in our cross country adventures, we also have safety seminars that are much like continuing education in the working world.

One of the easiest ways to locate a safety seminar in your area is to log into the FAA Safety Team (FAAST) home page. The FAAST mission is "To improve the Nation's aviation safety record by conveying safety principles and practices through training, outreach, and education. At the same time, FAA Safety Team Managers and Program Managers will establish meaningful aviation industry alliances and encourage continual growth of a positive safety culture within the aviation community."

I regularly check online and access the Event Schedule page. Here is a sample of what's on tap this month.

GPS From the Ground Up - GPS operations as a whole, not just individual unit-specific functions. The seminar will start with some brief compare/contrast of specific units and how technology has evolved, and then move into meaningful tips and advise for every phase of flight: Flight planning, preflight, departure, enroute and much more. We'll also discuss real pilot "gotchas" that GPS users got themselves into due to lack of proper training, etc. You will not want to miss this seminar.

Dealing with Icing Conditions - Dealing with icing conditions on the ground and in the air. The presentation will address problems associated with an aircraft that is contaminated with ice either during its takeoff or while in-flight.

Weather Strategies: Planning and Flying in Weather! - Weather Evaluation and Analysis for VFR and IFR Pilots. Weather is the final frontier in pilot education,the learning never stops! Weather is the most critical and complex variable that affects your flying. But you don’t have to be a meteorologist to understand what makes weather, and use that understanding to help make sound flight decisions. This is what being weather wise is all about; attend this briefing and share your experiences.

I enjoy attending the seminars and learning from the experience of others and sharing my limited experience with the group. It's a great way to meet fellow pilots in your area. My wife attends most of the seminars with me and surprisingly retains the info and asks some great questions on our drive or flight home. Don't take the "surprisingly" the wrong way, I only reference it that way since she is not a pilot and yet still understands what is discussed. I think that's pretty cool that she "gets it" and will quiz me or bring it up if the seminar topic applies.

Get out there and sign up for the safety seminars, broaden your horizon, don't be complacent, it's what we don't know that can hurt us.


Steve said...

Couldn't agree more, Gary. The seminars sort of come and go in this area (and a lot are 1-2 hours away) but I make it to as many as I can. While it's not the most user-friendly website in the world, I think the online courses and new Wings program are pretty darn good.

Gary said...

I agree, they are worth the time invested to take the online and if you can attend one now and then its a plus.