New FAA Airman Certification Standards – Comment Now!

After many months of hard work, the Aviation Rulemaking Advisory Committee (ARAC) Airman Testing Standards and Training Working Group (ATSTWG) has released the Private and Instrument Airman Certification Standards, formally the Practical Test Standards, for public review and comment. This is exciting because the industry now has a say in how to increase the level of aviation safety through the way we train airmen. There are five documents available for review and comment. The more input received, the better the end product will be for the entire aviation industry. There is still a lot of work to do between now and the end of September, but your comments will help guide the crafting of these, and the remainder, of the documents this group has been tasked to work on. Please take the time to review and comment. Also, let your friends know about this opportunity – spread the word. The comment period is open until May 24, 2013 so don’t miss this opportunity.

No Greater Burden

Recently Russ Jeter contacted AOPA to tell about an experience he encountered that claimed the life of his son. I admire Russ for coming forward to tell other pilots about his experience. His hope is that others won’t go through what he went through – that’s why he is telling his story. I believe everyone who listens will relate to what he has to say. Please watch his recounting of this unfortunate tragedy and what he has learned from it. As you do, reflect on what he has to say and see if anything rings true with your approach to aviation safety and the human aspect of aviation.  Thanks Russ for telling your story. Godspeed to you and your family.

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I ran across an article this morning that inspired me, once again, to be the best in everything I do. I realize I may not be the “best”, but I can give everything I have in whatever I attempt. An a teacher and flight instructor, it is important for me to set the bar high for my students. At the same time, I should model the standard I expect others to live up to. When it comes to aviation, we must run from complacency and always be looking for ways to better ourselves in the cockpit. We should also hold each other to a higher standard; flight safety will improve if we can all do this. I hope you enjoy the article titled “PROVIDING LEADERSHIP IN THE AFGHAN WAR: IN THE WORDS OF A USMC HERO“.

Motivation – Student’s Need; Instructor’s Challenge

All students have some level of motivation when seeking flight training. It’s up to the instructor to determine the level of student motivation and figure out the best way to either maintain or increase the student’s motivation to fly.

The challenge for the flight instructor is to determine why the student wants to fly; what motivates this pursuit? There are countless factors that play into the motivation of individuals who pursue the dream to fly. It could be a curiosity about flight; or the perception of how useful it could be; or something to be conquered; or the status it will project to others. The bottom line is that different things motivate all students, and each student brings a different level of motivation to the table.

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ICON A5 Light Sport Aircraft

A trip to the ICON aircraft company recently proved to be very interesting. This company is taking advantage of the new Sport Pilot initiative to bring more people into the aviation family with the innovative design of their ICON A5 sport aircraft. The Sport Pilot certification has some limitations such as day time flying only and remaining out of the clouds at all times, but that is fine with ICON; their idea is for individuals to have fun again in aviation but do it more simply, and preferably in the ICON A5.

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The FAA Knowledge Test Mystery – Part 2

I recently returned from OKC where I was part of a group of educators and industry personnel who met with personnel in AFS-630 (Airman Testing Standards Branch) for two days. Those present were representatives from AFS-630, AOPA, NAFI, Liberty University, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Western Michigan University, University of Oklahoma, and the Professional Aviation Board of Certification. The reason for this meeting was to discover the reason of a sudden, and drastic drop in the pass rates of the Fundamentals of Instruction (FOI) examination.

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SAFE Pilot Training Reform Symposium

I recently attended a two-day event where the Society of Aviation Flight Educators (SAFE) chaired a landmark gathering of major general aviation stakeholders to discuss lack of growth, decreased student start, increased student attrition, and flat accident rate trends vis-à-vis our current flight training system. This meeting was organized because of a study by AOPA, The Flight Training Experience, that showed some alarming statistics; approximately 80% of the people who begin aviation training stopped their training either prior to obtaining their private pilot certificate or shortly thereafter; student starts in aviation training are down by 60%; and Private Pilot Certificates issued are down by 75%. In addition, despite all of the advances in technology, the general aviation accident rate is essentially the same as it has been for the last 10-20 years.

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The FAA Knowledge Test Mystery

Recently there were significant changes to the FAA Fundamental of Instruction knowledge test question bank (as well as the ATP and Flight Engineer). This change significantly affected the permanent FAA records of many who took this new test – the tests scores were significantly lower to include a record number of failures. The entire aviation community wanted to know why. Both the number and type of questions added to the test were significant. The release of these questions also came as a surprise to us as well. The questions that immediately came to my mind was “is this what the rest of the tests are going to be like?” and “what in the world are they trying to accomplish?” I was also concerned about the 300 plus students in Liberty’s aviation program; where these tests going to keep them in the chocks?

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