Now that the dust has settled after my return from the AOPA Summit, and the telecon meeting of the Board of Directors, I will catch you up on all that’s been happening withSAFE.
Many positive things got accomplished during the AOPA Summit. I had the opportunity to meet with numerous people within industry and government to promote the vision and goals ofSAFE. I also had the opportunity to represent SAFE in committee meetings of the General Aviation Joint Steering Committee, and the General Aviation Awards Committee. Topping the list of things done, were negotiations with two different major industry corporations to secure sponsorship for our website, and for our exhibits at Sun N fun and Airventure. These negotiations were positive and the Board of Directors voted to accept an offer from a major industry sponsor for our website. As soon as the terms of agreement are written and accepted I will be announcing this exciting partnership.
I had the opportunity to meet with Bryan Neville who is in charge of the FAASTeam Wings program. They have a new beta version of the revised and updated Wings program, and Bryan asked ifSAFE members would like to participate in the review and testing of this new beta site starting in early December. I assured him that we would, so please help me out. I f you would like to participate in this testing please send me an email. I will then forward the list of all SAFE members interested in participating on to Bryan. We also discussed the possibility of SAFE, the FAASTeam, and a major industry sponsor partnering together in writing, creating and presenting a safety seminar that would address two of the “National Project” topics, on a nationwide basis. Bryan was very receptive to the idea. Stay tuned for more to come on this.
During the meeting of the GAJSCSAFE joined the newly formed “Light Sport Aircraft subgroup”, which will give us the opportunity to have input on areas of concern, and projects initiated within the LSA subgroup. We are also members of the “Personal Aviation subgroup” and are working with that group on their two major projects: one being “Project Pirep”, which seeks to improve the solicitation and timely dissemination of pireps, particularly those associated with icing and turbulence; the other being efforts to revise the knowledge tests to make them more applicable and relevant to the current state of aviation.
In meeting with the General Aviation Awards committee,SAFE was one of seven(out of a total of fourteen)sponsoring organizations represented. I expressed concern over moves to turn the entire selection process over to the FAA. From my own observations, I feel that there is a level of dysfunction at the district and regional levels which could easily lead to the demise of the program as we know it today. One positive result of the meeting was my agreeing to a suggestion made by Jason Blair, of NAFI, that SAFE and NAFI work together to improve several aspects of the Awards program.
There were two opportunities forSAFE members to get together during the Summit. One was at a “Meetup” on the exhibit hall floor. This was supposed to be streamed live on the internet, but unfortunately there were technical difficulties which prevented that from happening. However those present got to meet Jim Anderson, of Starr Aviation, who is underwriting our insurance plan. (Jim was the person who wrote the original flight instructor insurance plan for AOPA way back in the pleistocene era.) Jim spent some time explaining the steps that are necessary to get the plan approved in all fifty states, and how that is a l-o-n-g process that unfortunately cannot be rushed. He assured us that the plan, as it is now presented on the website, will come out intact, but that it might take as long as the end of the first quarter of 2010 before it can become active. He also assured me that he will be staying in frequent contact with me to keep me updated as to the progress being made.
The second opportunity forSAFE members to gather was in a room arranged for us by JJ Greenway, of AOPA, in the Marriott hotel. It was an informal gathering, where members shared thoughts and accomplishments, and I was able to update those present on the many things I am reporting here.
In moving around the Summit venues I had ample opportunities to meet with a large variety of folks who were interested in learning more aboutSAFE. I am happy to report that we are gaining recognition and respect within the aviation community. I also presented a forum, at AOPA’s request, which they titled: “Fast Track to Your Pilot Certificate”, dealing with the problem of student attrition, and how to prevent it. Whereas the audience was not huge, they were very enthusiastic, and it was a good way to promote our organization to aspiring pilots. The power point I created for this forum not only promoted SAFE, but also promoted AOPA, and I am now in the process of using this power point as a tool to further the relationship between SAFE and AOPA.
Moving on to other matters not related to the AOPA Summit, we are only a week away from the membership voting on theSAFE by-laws revision. Vice Chairman Mark Adams has made arrangements for an independent organization to conduct the voting, and you will be receiving an email from him next week detailing the process. If you have not yet read the revision it is available in the members only section of our website, (which by the way is now completely switched over to:www.safepilots.org). Please be sure you are a part of this important process! Our slogan is: “we’re all about our members”, and this is one of your opportunities to take an active part in the growth and progress of our organization.
I must admit that I am a little bit distressed by the fact that only about one half of theSAFE membership has registered for access to the members only portion of our website. For those of you who for whatever reason have been unable to register yet, it is really quite simple. First go to this link: http://www.safepilots.org/?/register/public . Please do not be confused by the term “New Member”, especially if you have been an existing member since our inception. If you have not yet registered for the members only section you must fill in the registration application as if you were a “new member”.Fill in the form, creating your own user name and password and then click submit.
Another area where I have observed complacency is in the member response to solicitation for comments to the FAA’s NPRM on FAR Part 61/91/141 changes.SAFE put together an ad-hoc committee, co-chaired by Pat Knight and Donna Wilt, to formulate an official SAFE response, which must be submitted by November 30th. To date we have only received comments and suggestions from three people! I hate to say it, but that is an abysmal response rate. That being said, Pat and Donna shared the draft of the SAFE comments with the Board for it’s approval, which was unanimous. Folks, it is your responsibility to take an active role in the community of aviation educators. Whereas it’s too late now for your input on the official SAFE document, I would certainly hope that you send in your own personal comments to the FAA at the following link:http://www.regulations.gov/search/Regs/home.html#docketDetail?R=FAA-2008-0938,and do it before the deadline!
At the recentSAFE Board meeting, steps were taken to move ahead with two very important projects. One is the SAFE library, and the other is the SAFE mentoring project. Director Alan Davis stepped forward to head up the library committee. This committee is tasked with not only the solicitation of materials for the library, but also with establishing policies and procedures for this process as well as peer review of all submissions. Thus the call is going out to the membership. In particular we are seeking expertise within the realm of the K – 12 educator, aviation maintenance, and avionics.If you would like to serve on the library committee, please send Alan an email at:RakenJake2@hypercon.net . Further, if you have materials that you would like to share with theSAFE membership, be it syllabi; power point presentations; pre-solo knowledge tests; essays; etc. again, let Alan know.
Director Donna Wilt, is taking the lead in heading up the committee to develop theSAFE mentoring program. If you would like to participate on this committee, or even if you only have some thoughts relative to what you would like to see in the program, please don’t be shy! You can contact Donna at:DONNA.WILT@HAMPTONU.EDU and share with her your thoughts, ideas and suggestions, and if you are really energetic you could volunteer to serve on the committee.
Well that about wraps it up for this update. Please remember thatSAFE is an organization composed of, by and for it’s entire membership. This means that each and every member should know that they can take an active part in the growth and direction of their organization. At this point we are still a totally volunteer organization and to be honest, we can use all the help we can get. If you have an area of expertise or knowledge that you would like to share with the rest of the membership please do not be shy. If you would like to serve on a standing committee, please let Committee Coordinator Rich Stowell know (Rich@RichStowell.com).Every member of the Board of Directors is accessible to the membership so please feel free to contact any one of us with your thoughts and or concerns. It is through the active participation of each and every member of SAFE that we have our greatest strength. Together let us forge ahead, creating the pre-eminent organization for the Aviation Education community.
Have aSAFE day,