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The NEW wings pilot proficiency progam

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http://www.faasafety.gov/articulate/wings/default.htm is the web site for a tutorial on the NEW wings program. For those unfamiliar, the old program required you to attend 1 safety seminar held by the FAA and get tree hours of training from a qualified CFI. What you got was essentially a renewal of your BFR (very handy), a certificate (makes nice notepaper) and a pin badge (rather nice to show off on the old headset bag!).


Now it seems the FAA have cancelled above old program and got this new one up. According to the informative video, they revamped the wings program because only 2.5% of pilots were using it. But when I watched the video on what it's about I was stunned. There are several problems as I see it:


1) Only 2.5% were signed up when the program was simple, easy and cheap to use. Now it's expensive, complicated and overdone who is going to want to take this route to a BFR.

2) Wings is not the only way to get a BFR - why would someone now choose this route to get one when a simle ground and flight test from a current cfi would suffice - that would be cheaper in flight time and quicker in terms of total time.

3) NO MORE PINS - man the FAA gets cheap nowadays - an emailed certificate is now all you are going to get - so you have to print it on your own paper too! They do say that "companies" are looking into selling us a pin badge though! Gee Thanks!

4) To have the acredditation approved for any part of the tasks assigned in the wings program, you have to use a CFI who is also signed up to FAA safety.gov. That won't be easy. Only 2.5% of all pilots signed up for the last program!

5) There are now so many tasks in the flight parts (all based on the PTS) you are virtually going to take a checkride every 2 years. That might be fine, but for a corporate guy flying to buildings or a guy working offshore where in the PTS is the stuff that he should be practicing in the BFR. As an instructor I always tailor my BFR's to what the guys do in real life. Why get someone to demonstrate proficiency in run on landings and ignore steep approaches when he lands on oil rigs???


And I think that is just the tail end of it. My question is this - does anyone else think that the FAA have lost it? I know the goal is to get more proficient pilots, thereby reduce accidents etc but do you have to price everyone out the market??? I used to like the wings program, but I'm pretty sure I will be visiting an instructor and taking a BFR with him now - which means maybe even attendance at safety seminars won't be as great.??


FFF :angry:

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I clicked your link and watched the 1/2 tutorial... I can't believe the FAA made it so complex. On the other hand, I think the new system is neat... The old WINGS program was so open-ended and left a lot to interpretation. I like to subject myself to a good challenge every now and then, so this seems like a good way to do it. And, as a CFI I never liked doing BFRs or the WINGS program because there were no completion standards.


Wings is not the only way to get a BFR - why would someone now choose this route to get one when a simle ground and flight test from a current cfi would suffice - that would be cheaper in flight time and quicker in terms of total time.


Employers and insurance companies love to see that you willingly go the extra mile in the name of safety. The BFR route was always cheaper, but the purpose of WINGS is not to save you money.


My one and only complaint from looking at the new system is that I don't see anything about the CFI getting credit for signing off pilots to use towards their own WINGS credit. In the old program, there was even a way to renew your CFI in the WINGS program (it's a little known fact, not described in the Advisory Circular).


As for the low 2.5% participation in the old program... Consider all the inactive pilots who don't stay current, the student pilots that are whizzing through ratings and get excempted from BFRs due to their new certificates, and the paid professional pilots whose companies pay for their recurrent training.... That leaves a small pool of remaining pilots.


You mentioned the oil rig guys... Well, they're exempted from the BFR requirement because they receive recurrent training from their employer (135 Certificate holder), so the WINGS program would most likely be pointless for them unless they fly another category or class (as the tutorial mentioned).

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I never did much of anything with the Wings Program. All the meetings I ever when to were nothing more than a waste of time. I signed up with the New System and when to a meeting on it and some Aerodynamics. It was just another circle jerk. I thought the new system had possiblities but the heck with it. Just the same old same old and now on line and you need hi speed internet a printer and a lot of paper.

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I used to get wings from this program for attending annual recurrent training. I got up to 12, and then they started me over at 1, and I got back up to 10 or so, and suddenly it just stopped. We quit getting wings. We all cried buckets of tears of course, because we really lived to get those certificates and wings. :rolleyes: Really. OK, we didn't give a crap, and most of us just tossed everything as soon as they gave it to us. Mostly because we knew the FAA safety guy who signed the certificates. He had formerly worked for the company, and his departure was not mourned. A jerk, in other words, so we took the Wings program as a reflection of him, for better or worse. In short, my GAS meter is still pegged on zero for this. I've tried and tried, but I just can't GAS.

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