Be It So Resolved

Doesn’t that sound dreadful? “Be it so resolved … .” Sounds like a political statement, don’t it? The beginning of another needless law. And, considering the horrors of the 2016 presidential campaign, the choices, the outcome, do we really want to think about anything political ever again? ARGHHHH.
Be it so resolved … that we swear never to listen to another politician again.
Actually, this piece isn’t about cheating, lying, thieving politicians (sorry, redundant) – it’s about resolutions, New Year’s resolutions. And I began writing this on January 2nd. Today is the 31st and it still ain’t done, and probably won’t be done until early February. Sigh. Such is the way of New Year’s resolutions.
A couple of years ago I wrote about resolving to tackle a new flying challenge in the new year: getting a tailwheel endorsement, a complex or high performance endorsement, an instrument rating. This time, let’s talk about being so resolved to increase your aviation knowledge.
Most of us study hard for our private pilot knowledge exams, pondering topics that are useful mostly only to pilots: radio navigation, aerodynamics, meteorology, the frkng Federal Aviation Regulations. And once we pass the knowledge exam, then pass the private check ride, we stash all those books/videos/dvd’s/programs in a drawer in the garage, seldom to think of them again.
It’s a shame. We worked so hard to acquire that knowledge – oftentimes whilst juggling work, family, life – then we let it go. The FAA, in its infinite wisdom – snort, chuckle, chortle, guffaw – make flight instructors review what they had to learn every two years. And that may be one of the very few things FAA has ever gotten right. There is so much to know in order to be a qualified flight instructor, that it’s virtually impossible to remember it all. So, every two years, CFI’s get to review what they’ve forgotten – with me, it’s always the FAR’s – in a class, or online. While there are ways around the flight instructor refresher courses, and I usually qualify to do so, I much prefer the review. It reminds me how much there is to know, and how much I’ve forgotten.
FAA mandates a flight review for all pilots every two years that specifies, as a minimum, an hour of flight and an hour of ground focusing on topics of the flight review conducting CFI determines germane to the needs of the particular pilot. Really? An hour of flight and an hour of ground every two years? No wonder general aviation accident rates remain so high.
The FAA-sponsored Pilot Proficiency Program, also known as WINGS, waives the biennial flight review requirements through annual recurrent training. Airline pilots get reviews every 6 months. Are you better than an airline pilot? Yet you get pissy if a CFI doing your flight review insists on additional training when your performance fails to meet standards – why? Because you let your lazy ass get a flight review every two years. Wanna get better? Then do annual recurrent training as a WINGS participant and you won’t have to get pissy because an instructor thinks you need more help – because he won’t.
Be it so resolved, then, that you start seeking to at least maintain your aviation knowledge, and skill, level, every year.
How?
Easy.
Join the WINGS program and discover how much fun it is to learn something new – or relearn something old that you’ve forgotten. Hie your cyber-self to https://www.faasafety.gov/ and, on the right side of the page, register to join with your email address and password. You can set up your account to be notified whenever there is a safety course or seminar scheduled for anywhere near you, then explore the website and discover the hundreds of courses that will maintain or expand your aviation knowledge. Better yet, it’s free.
If you join the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association it’ll cost you money, but AOPA is a powerful advocacy voice for pilots and the dues you spend will be put to very good use. Along with keeping Congress aware of the nation’s pilots issues, AOPA offers a wealth of recurrent or advanced training courses through the Air Safety Institute. As a member, you don’t have to pay for any courses.
Next step is to join the Experimental Aircraft Association, the heart and soul of grass roots aviation. If you want to learn how to build your own airplane, EAA is your teacher. Beyond that, they offer all kinds of courses in all things aviational. Just last year I learned how EGT leaning techniques can actually damage an aircraft engine over time – by taking an online course offered through EAA. And the best part about EAA is that they put on the world’s greatest aviation celebration: AirVenture, at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, EAA’s home base. The number and quality of unique airplanes you’ll see will boggle your mind. What you can learn in a week at Oshkosh will expand your consciousness – without the help of controlled substances.
There are lots of companies that provide aviation knowledge courses for a price, as well. King Schools, my employer a few decades ago, has a wealth of flight training courses designed to help you master, or expand, your skills – for a price. Having worked on many of them over six years, they are worth your money.
Sporty’s provides aviation education courses as well, and lots of people prefer them to the Kings. I’m not one of them, but John and Martha – like me – aren’t everyone’s cuppa tea. So spend money at Sporty’s, if you must.
There’s a wealth of free educational material on the internet, as well – just remember that not everyone who claims to be an aviation authority on the internet actual is an authority.
SO – however you pursue it – be it so resolved that you expand your aviation knowledge in this new year. Learning is fun.

Posted in Training Topics