I’m back!!  I just could not stay away.  This month I want to talk about the SSA Instructor Development Program.  I want to tell you where we are and where we want to go with the program.  First let me tell you about what has already happened.  At the Indianapolis convention during the SSAI luncheon awards were handed out to SSAIs in every region who were the most active in the ABC and bronze badge program.  Additionally, letters were sent to over 25 SSAIs throughout the US who had awarded ten or more badges to SSA pilots.  Those instructors were given a 50% credit on their next SSA dues payment as a small token of appreciation for their work for the SSA.


Last year the first SSAI cross-country training camp was held in Texas hosted by Dean Carswell and the Texas Soaring Association.  The objective of the camp was to teach SSAIs how to teach cross-country soaring. The SSA subsidized a portion of the attendees’ expenses.  Since this was our first camp we kept it small.  We had five committed to attend but two had to cancel at the last minute, one due to an unexpected operation and the other to a business conflict.  So while small in attendance, the camp was a major success in going through the learning process of how to structure such a camp.  Dean, along with much help from the TSA membership and with special help from supervising instructors Pat Tuckey and Rick Howell.  (Pat is the current US 1-26 Champion and the current US National PW5 Champion.  Rick is the current US Motor Glider National Champion – not too shabby a group of instructors, huh?).  From the camp Dean wrote an excellent manual that can be used by others who want to host such a camp.  This manual is available free from the SSA office. Our objective this year is to host at least two SSAI cross-country camps.  If any of you are interested in hosting or helping to host a camp you should contact Dean Carswell, who has been appointed as the SSA Chief Master Instructor.  Dean will be more than happy to give you guidance on how to structure your camp.


I need your help in identifying those SSAIs who are actively teaching cross-country soaring, as they will be awarded a 100% SSA dues credit and be given the title of SSA Master Instructor.  If you know of anyone who you think qualifies please let me know or if you think you qualify let me know.  This is not the time to be bashful.


So, where are we going?  From the above you can tell that we want to be able to offer more cross-country soaring training to those who want to learn.  In order to do this we need SSAIs who have the ability to teach X-C soaring.  Hence, the SSAI camps.  However, beyond that, we want to take this program to the next level.  We want to work hard on developing a program for standardization of all instruction from primary to advanced.  We want to have at the instructor’s disposal the most modern teaching materials possible certainly including training and teaching manuals.  But what about “on line” materials, videos, and even CD-ROMs?  Is this possible?  Yes!  It must be for us to move into this new century.  The Soaring Safety Foundation has already started moving in this direction as has John Sharp’s “on line” prep for the private pilot written exam.  However, there is much more to be done for us, the SSAIs, to do the best job possible in teaching people to soar safely.  With the help of many of you we can design, develop and implement a complete package for the SSAIs.  An SSA Flight Training Academy if you will.  Not a place but rather an accumulation of knowledge to be used for learning by students, experienced pilots, instructors, and, yes, even pilot examiners.  If you want to be a part of this program and help with its implementation please let me know.


Fly Safely and have FUN!



Frank Reid