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Mon, May 09, 2011

SAFE Symposium Acts as Springboard for Training Reform

Two-Day Event Was 'Fast-Paced, Productive' -- And Then Some

We've had a few folks ask us why we've given so much attention and 'ink' or air-time to the Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE)... and the results of the recently concluded Pilot Training Reform Symposium should now be all the justification we'll ever need for our decision to make sure that the efforts of this organization were covered aggressively. Unfortunately; a few of the Alphabets and Aero-Companies didn't agree... as both EAA and NAFI failed to participate while GA Manufacturer Piper was a no-show (quite a contrast to Cessna's aggressive participation) and Cirrus' embattled CEO, Brent Wouters (originally on the sked), apparently couldn't be bothered to show up either.

The recent Pilot Training Reform Symposium chaired by SAFE marked the official start to a multi-year process of broad reform that has not been attempted since the Civilian Pilot Training Program more than seventy years ago.

During a keynote address on the second day of the event, FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt said he was "delighted to be [there] with the movers and shakers of the flight training community," and that the FAA is eager to have help from industry on its five-year plan to transform general aviation safety--a plan that includes risk management, training and education with an expanded focus on flight instructors, and outreach and engagement with general aviation stakeholders.

More than 150 such stakeholders pre-registered for the event. Registrants had collectively logged 820,000 hours of flight time and 390,000 hours of instruction given. They also included 10 National Flight Instructors of the Year and an estimated 60 Master Instructors. Representatives from 46 flight schools, 42 aviation/trade associations, 20 university aviation programs, fourteen courseware providers, eleven OEMs, and five insurance companies registered as well. Significantly, FAA AFS 800 manager Mel Cintron and AFS 600 manager Van Kerns were among other regulatory representatives who attended the symposium from start to finish.

SAFE volunteers are preparing a post-symposium report featuring the recommendations generated during six breakout groups. The report will be disseminated to stakeholders for action against a published timeline. Information generated since the symposium is being posted to the training reform website as it becomes available, and a significant portion of the proceedings will soon be available for viewing through the Aero-News Network's Aero-TV.



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