WINGS, Part 2: Online Learning

Last month I talked about flying for WINGS credit. This month I’ll talk about learning on your computer or smart device for WINGS credit.

The FAA Safety team offers many courses for credit. When the new program started in 2007, the few courses they offered were pretty clunky. But since then they’ve partnered with AOPA and other providers, and the choices are good. Most of the programs available from the AOPA Air Safety Institute may be used as credits in the WINGS program (requires AOPA membership).

To access FAA Safety’s view of available courses, log on to your FAA Safety account, hover over Activities, Courses, Seminars & Webinars and click Courses on the pulldown menu. Then in the blue Catalog of Available Courses box, click Show WINGS Courses.

Notice that some courses cost money and others require you to be at a certain place at a certain time. It appears to be unsorted, other than the free courses appearing before the ones that cost money.

Another way to get to the courses is to go to your My WINGS page (hover over Pilots at the top and choose My Wings), and click Search next to one of the Knowledge Activities.

I’m working on my next WINGS phase, and decide to satisfy Knowledge Topic 1. On my My Wings page, I click Search on the Topic 1 box.

Scrolling down the list, I find Course ALC-82, “Do The Right Thing: Decision Making for Pilots”. I click its Select button which returns me to my My WINGS page. My selected activity now populates Knowledge Topic 1, with Status showing Enroll. I click there, and am enrolled for the course.

Usually, following the link to the course actually connects you to the course. However, when I follow the link to this particular course, I end up at the list of AIr Safety Institute courses, rather than at the Do The Right Thing course; AOPA probably moved a link associated with ALC-82 that caused things to get out of sync. No problem; I find the course in the list and start it. Now I’m ready to learn something and get credit for it. Feels like school.

Less than an hour later…

Very informative course, and I got 14 out of 15 questions right on the quiz, which is a passing grade. At the end, I’m asked for the email address associated with my WINGS account, and it assures me I’ll get credit. By the time I get back to my My WINGS page on FAA Safety, I’ve already received course credit. (This is really nice; when the program first started, it could take days or weeks before your credit for an AOPA course would show up.)

If I take one course in each of the topic areas, I’ll have my written requirements completed for my next WINGS phase. The three topic areas may be redefined from time to time depending on what areas of study the FAA wants to emphasize. Currently the topic areas are:

  • Knowledge Topic 1: Aeronautical Decision Making
  • Knowledge Topic 2: Performance and Limitations
  • Knowledge Topic 3: everything else (including Preflight Planning, Risk Management, and Fuel Management)

You can also sign up for WINGS credit when you attend a FAA Safety-sanctioned safety seminar. On the signup sheet at the event, write the email address associated with your WINGS account, and the event presenters will give you credit for the course, in the appropriate knowledge topic. Most seminars generate a credit for Topic 3, the catch-all topic.

That’s all there is to it. You’re more knowledgeable, the FAA is happy with you, and your insurance company is happy with you. Next month I’ll write about how to use the WINGS program as a substitute for your Flight Review (formerly known as a BFR).

New Airport Name: Northern Colorado Regional Airport

Our Airport Commission voted this afternoon to rename our airport to Northern Colorado Regional Airport, effective immediately.  Over the next few months, we can expect the name change to appear on approach charts and sectional charts.  The commission will be asking the two cities for funding to change the signage around the airport.

Our radio calls will eventually change to some variation of “Northern Colorado Regional Traffic” (my recommendation is “NorCo Traffic”).  Keep doing what you’re currently doing on the radio (“Fort Collins Loveland Traffic” or “Fort Love Traffic” or whatever) until we’re directed to change.

Our airport designator will continue to live on as FNL, so we will remain FNL Pilots Association.

Oshkosh AirVenture Presentation

On March 24, 2016 Steve Wolf gave a presentation on Oshkosh Airventure and Mass Formation arrivals. He expressed the excitement, fun, pride, and comradery of participating in a formation arrival of similar performance aircraft.

These mass arrivals increase the efficiency and safety of traffic at Wittman Reginal Airport and are scheduled for late morning through mid-afternoon, weather permitting. The arrival of these large arrivals often interferes with regular FISK VFR traffic.

Participation is limited to aircraft registered in each group. Currently there are four groups, Bonanzas which began in 1990, Mooneys which began in 1998, Cessnas which began in 20016, and Cherokees which began in 2010. All presently are still active in the mass arrivals at Oshkosh.

Large formations require an EAA approved training program and a letter of agreement with the FAA.

Julie Wolf then spoke about the Oshkosh event from a non-pilot view point. She described the event as a Pilot’s Disney World. She talked about the many vendors, workshops, air shows, concerts, and group activities.
She expressed her amazement at the amount of people who attend and the cleanliness of the venue. Although she loves attending the event, there comes a point, as a non-pilot, that the hanger talk causes her eyes to glaze over. So she takes advantage of the many transportation opportunities to both the events and into town for various stops.

They both enjoy meeting up with friends both new and old.

IMC Club starts at FNL

EAA_IMCClub_4cLogo_rgb-300I’ve gone through the training to become the EAA Chapter 515 IMC Club Program Coordinator.  Our inaugural meeting will be Wednesday night, May 18, at 7pm in the jetCenter Hangar.

IMC Clubs were started by Radek Wyrzykowski in 2010 as a support group for instrument pilots and students, and the IMC Club non-profit corporation was acquired by EAA effective November 2, 2015.  Now anybody who is an EAA member can also be an IMC Club member.

IMC Club has a library of instrument flight scenarios.  At the beginning of each meeting, the participants watch the video, and then spend the rest of the meeting discussing what they’d do in that situation.  The scenarios are flexible; I can change the parameters, such as “Now suppose it is at night.” or “Now suppose you are picking up ice.”  Meetings are kept to an hour.

IMC Club gets its scenarios from its members.  Members are encouraged to send in stories of their instrument adventures.  Radek and his staff anonymize the most teachable scenarios, changing location and equipment, and generate a new scenario each month.

For our first meeting, we’ll be watching an introductory video from Radek, and will then work through an abbreviated scenario for about 30 minutes.

For more information on IMC Clubs, visit http://www.eaa.org/imc.  If you fly instruments, or are interested in flying instruments, we hope to see you on May 18, and then on the third Wednesday of each month.  Let’s become better pilots.

Seaplane Bill Dies in Committee

From Ray Hawkins:

I am sorry to report that the Bill was defeated in Committee today by a vote of 5 – 8.  The Bill was designed to gain access to the waterways and then, after passage, develop the processes and procedures to meet CPW requirements.  It is my belief that at the moment discussion turned to invasive species the Bill was no longer passable.  It is maddening that all they could talk about was invasives and the only villain they could see was seaplanes.

The battle may be lost; but, the war rages on.  Over the next few weeks I intend to contact each member that voted against the Bill to find out what it would take to get a “Yes”.  Using that information, I will begin work again on another Bill for the next session.

(reference Seaplane Watch)