The process of acquiring a glider pilot certificate requires not only dedicated instructors but also a group of dedicated Pilot Examiners to give the practical test and issue the pilot certificate. In a previous article I discussed the need for pilots to step up and become instructors to share their knowledge with others and help them move through the learning curve associated with the pilot certification process. Standardization of instruction is a major safety issue that the Soaring Safety Foundation (SSF) is trying to address. However, the CFIG training offered by the SSF in currently voluntary and it is actually possible for a CFIG to never attend a glider revalidation clinic nor attend any glider specific training. This can happen if the CFIG is also a CFI in airplanes or helicopters and chooses to always get his recertification in one of those areas as opposed to gliders. This is a safety issue that needs to be addressed by the FAA in the future if we are ever to have true standardization within the glider training process. However, this article is not about instructors. Rather this article deals with the next level up. That is, the FAA Glider Pilot Examiner who is the one who “completes to loop” involved in getting a glider rating.
there are less than 75 FAA Pilot Examiners in the
The second area of concern involves both the initial training of Glider Pilot Examiners as well as their recurrent training that is required every two years. With all the tasks that the FAA currently has on its plate it is not practical to expect them to develop a program specifically designed for Glider Pilot Examiners since this area is such a small portion of their entire FAA pilot examiner training program. However, imagine a training program that not only teaches the generic areas of being a pilot examiner but also emphases current safety issues that exist in the soaring community. This program would then lead to examiners putting special emphasis during the practical test on safety problem areas in soaring.
we have two areas that need to be addressed relating to Glider Pilot
Examiners. First there is the need for
more Glider Pilot Examiners. Second,
there is a need for glider specific training programs that could, if developed,
improve the glider examining process that, in turn, could lead to improved
safety throughout the soaring community.
Your SSA President, Larry Sanderson, and I spent a day in
Fly Safely and Have FUN!