Flying GA Aircraft Safely


Flying light GA aircraft can be dangerous

No matter how many hours you have in your MWS, flying a small GA aircraft can dangerous.  Especially if you don’t put in the effort to learn how to do it safely.

In this episode, I discuss ways you can mitigate the risks involved with flying light pistons in the GA world.

Share flight with your family and friends

Many of us military trained aviators will, at some point want to share aviation with our friends and loved ones.  The best way to do this is to go down to the local airport and rent a small GA aircraft to take out on a weekend.  The flying your will experience in the GA world is exhilarating and very fulfilling!  However, there are some steps you should take to make sure you are aware of the inherently different risks involved with flying a single pilot, single engine piston.  You also need to do your due diligence in making sure you understand the FAA regulations as apposed to just assuming your military training will be good enough.

FAA WINGS Pilot Proficiency Program

The FAA started the WINGS program several years ago in an attempt to give GA pilots the equivalency of annual/semiannual currency beans.  The WINGS program consists of online courses, live and web seminars, and flight activities.  Most of the online courses are free and can be used to catch you up on civilian regulations.

In order to sign up for the WINGS program you need to create an account at: FAASafety.

Once you have created your account, click on the the Activities, Courses, Seminars & Webinars tab:

When you select the courses, you have to then select ‘Show Wings Courses’:

You will then be able to browse the full selection of courses available for WINGS credit.  Many of the courses are free and provide great information for those of us who are rusty or unfamiliar with civilian rules and regulations.

WINGS Flying Profiles

The WINGS program also assigns a flight task profile to complete each phase of a WINGS level.  This can be found by navigating to the ‘My Wings’ link in the middle of the homepage.

You can customize the flight task profile to include the specific maneuvers you want to practice.

Once you have completed, and been given credit, for three qualifying flight tasks and three ground tasks you will complete that phase of wings.  The instructor who completes the flight activities must log onto their WINGS account and give you credit.

Useful Links

AC 90-109A – Transition to Unfamiliar Aircraft

AC 61-91J – WINGS – Pilot Proficiency Programs

AC 61-98C – Currency Requirements and Guidance for the Flight Review and Instrument Proficiency Check

WINGS Courses

Flight Review Prep Guide

IFR Insights: Regulations

Transitioning to Other Airplanes

Instrument Proficiency Check Review Guide

Performance and Limitations

Engine and Propeller