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Knowledge + Professionalism = Safety: FAA Safety Program online resources

In my travels around the web looking for resources and information for the main PrepareToTest site, I’m continually coming across sites provided by the FAA for pilot and AMT education. One of the most important areas of education is Safety and the FAA Safety Program is a site devoted entirely to this topic. In reading the site, a formula listed on the AMT Awards page, “Knowledge + Professionalism = Safety” stuck in my mind as being a great way to sum up the approach we should all have towards aviation and the many related safety aspects of the profession. There is a variety of useful information and resources on the site that all Pilots and AMTs should be aware of, I describe some of these in the rest of this blog entry.

Developed from an accident prevention program in the early 1970′s, the current Aviation Safety Program is a joint program sponsored by the FAA and the Aviation Community. Pilots are probably most familiar with the work of the program via the FAA’s WINGS program. Wings allows pilots to use attendance at safety seminars in combination with dual instruction time to take the place of biannual flight reviews. This could be thought of as ‘Continuing Aviation Education’, a bit like the ongoing training requirements found in the Medical, Legal and other communities. There are twenty levels in the Wings program that you can work your way through – with a maximum of one per year that will give most of us something to work on for a while!

AMT’s have the Aviation Maintenance Technician Awards. This program became active in 1992 with the goal of serving as an incentive for AMTs and their employers to actively participate in recurrent training. There are five levels of awards: Bronze, Silver, Gold, Ruby and Diamond. The requirements for each level consists of a combination of recurrent training on FAA regulations and policies with increasingly larger amounts of aviation maintenance training. The Diamond level award requires 100 hours of training to be taken in one calendar year (teaching credit can be used to reduce this total).

Other awards offered by the program include the Charles Taylor Award for Master Mechanics and the Master Pilot award. Both of these recognize lifetime accomplishments in the fields of aviation maintenance and piloting. You need to have at least 50 years as an AMT or pilot to even be in consideration so these are truly for those who have devoted a lifetime to their profession.

Safety Program Airmen Notification System
Also available on the FAA Safety Program site is ‘SPANS’, the Safety Program Airmen Notification System. This is a very handy search tool that allows you to find FAA sponsored safety and training events in your area. You can register with the system to receive automatic notifications of events, rather than having to remember to check what’s going on. One thing to note – the previous ‘snail mail’ notifications you may have received in the past are being phased out in favor of this online notification. Previously you would have received these notifications without having to do anything, now you have to ‘opt in’ to keep informed. Personally Im not sure this is the best route as this relies on pilots finding the site and registering, though its obviously very difficult if not impossible to auto-register people given that people change email addresses, etc. on such a regular basis. However, registering for SPANS lead me to find a reference to the National FAA Airmen registry, a place where you can register your information, email, etc. with the FAA so it does stay up to date. You can find more information on this on The FAA Airmen Certification: Airmen On-Line Services page. Features offered include the ability to update your address online, order replacemetn certificates, remove your SSN from your certificate, etc. Creating an account with the Airman Certification Branch also registers you with SPANS (though I don’t know if the reverse applies…)

Online Resources
The FAA Safety site also includes links to a variety of other online resources of interest to pilots and AMTs that are well worth checking out and adding to your list of bookmarks:

Resources for Pilots:

  • Events
  • Forms
  • Guidance, Standards and Regulations
  • Organizations and Associations
  • Resources of special interest to CFIs, Commercial Pilots, Instrument pilots, Private pilots, etc.
  • Referfences and Databases
  • Tools and Training Courses
  • Weather Information

Resources for AMTs

  • Aircraft and Airworthiness
  • Events
  • Guidance, Standards and Regulations
  • Organizations and Associations
  • References and Databases
  • Tools and Training Courses

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