by Jenny Furst on January 22, 2015

Less than a week before it was to take effect, the FAA pulled the SAFE-requested direct-to-final rule to allow pilots up to 20 simulator hours toward an instrument rating, citing “adverse comments.”  The unexpected move leaves pilots limited to no more than the 10 simulator hours allowed by FAR 61.65.

A SAFE analysis found only one adverse public comment, filed December 17, in the FAA’s docket.  It resulted in an immediate protest by SAFE labeling the comment as “personal opinion, lacking substantiation and contrary to current education doctrine regarding use of training devices.”

Agency spokesman Les Dorr confirmed that the FAA is required by Federal regulations to withdraw any direct-to-final rule if even one adverse comment is received.  Proposed regulations that are not expected to draw any protest from the public, such as this one, are often issued as direct-to-final rules.

“We are disappointed that this beneficial rule change was withdrawn based on a single negative comment out of the hundreds submitted on this issue,” said John Dorcey, interim Executive Director of the Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE).  “We understand the FAA’s need to follow their protocols but will continue our efforts to get these changes enacted.”   He said SAFE will ask the FAA to expedite re-issue of the rule as a conventional NPRM, not subject to dismissal due to a single negative comment.

Dorr said he is not aware of further FAA action planned on this rule-making, although the original document cited substantial advantages of additional simulator time, including relieving burdens on pilots seeking to obtain aeronautical experience, training and certification.  It called simulators an “effective, safe and affordable means of obtaining pilot experience,” and said the rule was necessary to bring the regulations in line with current needs and activities of general aviation training community and pilots.

“The fact remains that the existing FAR 61.65(i) is outdated,” said Dorcey. “Both before and after this regulation was issued in 2009, the FAA issued hundreds of Letters of Authorization to simulator manufacturers permitting simulator hours in excess of the regulation.”

SAFE, now representing nearly 1,000 of the nation’s top flight instructors and aviation educators, works to create a safer aviation environment by supporting aviation educators with mentoring opportunities, educational resources, and other benefits; inspiring professionalism through promotion and recognition of excellence and enhanced education; representing aviation educators through interaction with the aviation industry and government and promoting learning in all areas of aviation for everyone at every level

John Dorcey Interim Executive Director

by David St. George (Lifetime Member) on January 6, 2015

We are glad to have the steady hand of John Dorcey as our PIC (interim Executive Director) while the search committee works it’s magic. John has all the scout badges; ATP, CFI (instrument and multi) and is a veteran Master CFI as well. John was a SAFE charter board member and directed the board for two years. Other hobbies: He served as Operations Manager for Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh until his retirement in 2012 and was previously, the Chief Pilot for the Wisconsin Department of Transportation! Welcome back John!

Openings Available on SAFE Committees

December 4, 2014

Here is an opportunity to get involved in SAFE and make a difference. SAFE Committees are where the important mission of SAFE gets done, and staffing for 2015 is now underway. Committees include: Marketing, Advertising and Events; Development; Programs; Social Media; Governance; and Government Affairs. If you or someone you know is interested in serving […]

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Fall 2014 issue of SAFE Magazine is now available to members through the Resource Center

November 20, 2014

Fall 2014 issue of SAFE Magazine is now available to members through the Resource Center.

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SAFE to FAA: Policy Change Will Degrade, Not Improve, Aviation Safety

January 8, 2014

The Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE) told the FAA on January 7 that an unexpected change in agency policy on Letters of Authorization (LOAs) for GA flight simulators will harm aviation safety, create a burden on the industry and run counter to the intent of current LOAs. “The FAA should be encouraging better […]

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More Regional Pilot Proficiency Projects Planned by SAFE

November 26, 2013

Following last month’s success of its first  Regional Pilot Proficiency Project (PPP) in Texas, the Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE) has promised more such fee-based events, with Florida likely the next venue. SAFE debuted its Regional PPP on October 26-28 at Redbird’s Skyport in San Marcos, Texas, drawing 28 paying participants from as […]

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SAFE Asks FAA to Collect Recurrent Training Data

September 23, 2013

The Society of Aviation Flight Educators (SAFE) recently asked the FAA to start collecting information on pilot recurrent safety training in addition to the data the agency already collects on airports, aircraft, and aircraft activity. The suggestion came at the quinquennial meeting in Washington, D.C. of industry and government leaders to refine data collection for […]

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Skyport to Host SAFE’s First Regional Pilot Proficiency Project

September 11, 2013

Safety Forums, Simulator Training in San Marcos, TX, October 26-27, 2013 In partnership with Redbird Flight Simulations, the Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE) will present its first regional Pilot Proficiency Project™ at Skyport in San Marcos, TX on October 26-27, 2013. The Project brings valuable proficiency training to pilots by combining relevant safety […]

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