Setting Summer Goals
April 1, 2018
With Spring fast approaching, we are all eager to get back to summer flying and the exciting activities such as fly ins, trips to the lake, and not having to log night flight at 4:30 in the afternoon! With this excitement, it is easy to overlook opportunities that we can take advantage of to make our aviation activities safer and more enjoyable.
Many people are unaware of the excellent educational opportunities (and many are FREE) that the WINGs program offers. For seminars near you, visit http://www.faasafety.gov and sign up for something that interests you.
If you prefer to do your learning at home in your sweatpants, you can take advantage of dozens of seminars online, both at http://www.faasafety.gov and a via the Air Safety Foundation at http://www.aopa.org. Use those course credits to apply towards earning your WINGs from the FAA Pilot Proficiency program. The ground portion, in addition to time with a CFI and flying, earns you a phase of WINGs.
Over 31,700 pilots already participate in the program which is designed to be a self-directed continuing education experience. Many general aviation pilots only seek out training every 24 months for the biennial flight review and that's it. Airline and military pilots have programs that provide education on a continual basis to maintain high levels of knowledge and proficiency.
The safety records would seem to indicate that we, as general aviation pilots, could learn a thing or two from the safety programs of aviation organizations.
With this in mind, WINGs was developed to provide this type of training program individually tailored to the type of flying you do. Completing a phase of WINGs qualifies you for your BFR, as well as often provides you a discount on aircraft insurance (both owned aircraft and rental pilot insurance programs). And CFIs that instruct WINGs can get their renewal through the program as well!
With better flying weather comes the time for many pilots to grab their favorite CFI and head off for some dual instruction. Take the opportunity one step further and do something new and different. Get a tailwheel endorsement, go get your glider license, try flying float planes, grab a CFII and go for a flight in the clouds. Do something to push yourself and your skillset.
With the increased flying in summer, use the time to increase your comfort level with new things. For example, try to file a PIREP on every flight, fly your next flight using pilotage only to test your skills, etc.
Find ways to make each flight something that challenges and enhances your skillset. Then go back to the hanger and chat with the other pilots and challenge them to do the same.