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 pilot training, not discouraging it,” said Doug Stewart, SAFE Executive Director.  “The extra simulator training hours allowed by these LOAs is invaluable.”

GA simulators affected by the FAA change in policy will include virtually all FAA approved Personal Computer Aviation Training Devices (PCATD), Flight Training Devices (FTD) level 1-3, Basic Aviation Training Devices (BATD) and Advanced Aviation Training Devices (AATD).

The FAA’s Notice of Policy Change for the Use of FAA Approved Training Devices, published with docket number FAA-2013-0809 in the January 2 edition of the Federal Register, will sunset all FAA Letters of Authorization (LOAs) for GA flight simulators on January 1, 2015.  That will limit pilots to the FAR Part 61.65(i) maximum of 10 hours of simulator time loggable toward an instrument rating.  Some LOAs for advanced simulators currently allow as many as 20 hours of simulator training to count toward an instrument rating.

“FAA officials, understanding the value of simulators in flight training, have been issuing these LOAs since 1980,” said Stewart.  “This proposed policy change will take away much of the incentive for pilots to improve their skills in a better classroom than a noisy cockpit.”

SAFE’s official comments ask the FAA to rescind its proposed policy change in the interests of safety.  The comments also point out that the proposed change is actually contrary to the intent of current letters of authorization and will create an undue burden on industry by forcing manufacturers and users to revert to prior FAA rule interpretations.  The full text of the Society’s comments is available at

Comments on the proposal are now being accepted at

Download press release

Download Podcast “2014-01-12 SAFE BULLETIN.mp3″

More Regional Pilot Proficiency Projects Planned by SAFE

by Jenny Furst on 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 far away as Colorado.

“The smaller class size turned out to be a blessing in disguise,” said Doug Stewart, SAFE Executive Director. “We’d planned on fifty pilots, but  every single participant told us that the smaller class size improved their experience and helped make the event so successful.”

SAFE Regional PPPs are advanced educational events for pilots and instructors.  They combine in-depth aviation seminars by top national presenters with one of eleven specially-designed flight scenarios in an advanced Redbird simulator.

Seven seminars during the San Marcos event included Single-Pilot IFR, Stick and Rudder Skills in Glass Cockpits, Human Factors in Loss of Control, iPad Best Practices using ForeFlight, Tailwheel Tips and Tricks, Angle of Attack Awareness, and GPS: Beyond the Basics and simulator instructors provided a dozen challenging sessions in Redbird simulators.  Surprisingly, about a third of the participants choose to train with a “six-pack” legacy instrument panel rather than the simulator’s available glass cockpit.

Participant and CFII Mark Pierce of Austin, Texas wrote SAFE President Doug Stewart, saying the PPP was “an excellent event, and worth many times the investment. You are a first-rate instructor and speaker, and those of us who had the opportunity to spend time in your presence are better for the experience.”

A detailed report of the San Marcos PPP, based on a survey of participants, is available at

The San Marcos event was SAFE’s first fee-based regional Pilot Proficiency Project.  The PPP was developed in 2012 by SAFE in part because pilot error continues to account for about three-quarter of all accidents, and lack of flight proficiency is the chief cause of the most frequent type of GA inflight accident, loss of control.  Before going on the road, the SAFE PPP received rave reviews from pilots and instructors at EAA  AirVenture, Sun-n-Fun, and AOPA Summit.

“We’re committed to bringing high-quality PPP events to pilots in the most populated parts of the country,” said Stewart, adding,  “Announcement of the next PPP will be made on SAFE’s web site, at

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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Rutgers University Investigating “The Flying Effect”

June 2, 2013

Female Faculty in STEM Disciplines Take Flight as Part of Research Funded by NSF A dozen female faculty members from Rutgers University recently completed a two-day aviation workshop funded by the Rutgers Office for the Promotion of Women in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics (SciWomen) and a National Science Foundation ADVANCE grant (award HRD-0810978) designed to […]

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New SAFE Member Benefits w/ eKneeboard & iFlightPlanner

May 6, 2013

Discounts on eKneeboard, iFlightPlanner Now Available The Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE) recently added eKneeboard and iFlightPlanner to its list of member benefits. eKneeBoard is a complete training solution that combines full flight and academic courses with the power of an electronic flight bag in a single app. Moving map navigation over geo-referenced […]

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Starr Aviation Offers Accident Forgiveness with the SAFE Pilot Proficiency Project™

April 5, 2013

Starts During Sun-n-Fun 2013 Contact: John Thompson, (646) 227-6780 Starr Aviation (Starr), a division of Starr Indemnity & Liability Company, recently partnered with the Society of Aviation and Flight Educators (SAFE) and Redbird Flight Simulations (Redbird) to reward participation of insureds in the Pilot Proficiency Project™. Available at major aviation events, the Project offers a series of […]

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SAFE Participates in NTSB “Listening Session”

April 4, 2013

Along with SAFE Executive Director Doug Stewart, SAFE members Jeff Edwards, who also represented the Lancair Owners and Builders Organization (LOBO), and Tom Turner, who also represented the American Bonanza Society (ABS), recently participated in a “Listening Session” chaired by NTSB member Dr. Earl Weener. The session sought input from members of the general aviation industry […]

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