As the nation grapples with the COVID pandemic, many pilots are faced with widening gaps of time between flights. By flying less, we are faced with the potential for a decline in proficiency that can erode safety margins for ourselves and our passengers. Fortunately, many organizations have been hard at work to provide pilots and flying clubs with resources to help us stay sharp in these trying times.
Let’s take a look at a few of these resources:
AOPA’s You Can Fly Team (YCF) has produced a series of free webinars called Don’t Get Rusty, Pilot which features a trio of YCF employees, and their invited guests, that cover a wide range of topics relating to pilot proficiency. Highlights include flight simulation, radio communication procedures and flight fundamentals. More webinars are being added, so be sure to check out AOPA’s events page for details.
Additionally, the Air Safety Institute (ASI) has a wealth of articles, videos and webinars on their webpage, covering just about every aspect of general aviation. Every month, ASI hosts a webinar with special guests to discuss safety. This month the topic will be: Preparing for the Worst, Preflight Planning. ASI’s Podcast series—There I Was—is a great way to hear from pilots as they explain how they got out of real-world difficult situations. It is available on most Podcast platforms. Stay tuned for updates and expect to hear some announcements from ASI in the coming weeks, regarding safety when returning to flying after a hiatus.
The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) has several tools to help pilots stay sharp when at home. Their Proficiency365™ program is a terrific resource that gives you scenarios that you may encounter in real life and lets you fly that flight on your home-based flight simulator. This resource is free for EAA members, but there is a small fee for each lesson, for non-members. The EAA’s Proficiency and Education Programs page also has a vast list of webinars and articles to help keep your head in the game. You can also check with your local IMC/VMC Club to see what events they are hosting in your area
For a long time, the FAA Safety Team has provided resources for pilots of all ratings and types. The WINGS Program is a wonderful tool to keep you proficient and safe. By earning WINGS credits, and flying with a CFI, you may be able to satisfy flight review requirements and you may even qualify for a lower insurance rate!
Check out this month’s Question of the Month to learn more about how you can implement a WINGS-for-Clubs safety program for your flying club, so that you can together become safer and more proficient pilots.