Safety First aims to prevent accidents

Posted: Friday, July 26, 2002

I have been writing this column for several years now and I would like to think that all the area pilots know who I am and what I do to earn my bread and butter. This article was first written in 1996 and so I decided that it was time to revisit this subject.

This column is primarily written for pilots and passengers in an effort to increase aviation safety. Yet, the column is read by nonpilots who frequently comment on its content. So it is about time that my readers found out that the safety program does more than write articles.

Here's a short synopsis on how the program was developed.

The Accident Prevention Program began in June 1968 as a test program, in partnership with the aviation community, devoted to enhancing aviation safety. The test program ended in June 1970 with the adoption of the Accident Prevention Program to be run by an accident prevention specialist within each district office.

In 1990 the accident prevention specialist received a new title, that of accident prevention program manager. Along with the title of accident prevention program manager came the added responsibility of managing the Accident Prevention Program for the office. 1995 brought the change that we now know as Aviation Safety Program and the safety program manager. Throughout all of these name changes the responsibilities remained the same except for a few minor changes.

The safety program manager, whether on the pilot side or the mechanics side, has the responsibility of promoting safety by providing pilots and mechanics guidance, support and proficiency through education. Most people think of education in the formal sense: How can I help? What do I mean by education?

Education comes in many forms. People have differing needs and requirements. Some people call with aviation safety complaints or require assistance on a research project. I can provide them with contacts to help them with that special project or help address their complaint. I speak with pilots regarding their special concerns such as flight time and duty restrictions or discuss federal aviation regulations. I receive inquiries from aviation business owners and operators, other FAA personnel, outside entities such as the Labor Department and attorneys who have called for explanations of the federal aviation regulations.

Aviation safety material in the form of videos, pamphlets, advisory circulars, speakers for seminars and meetings and accident data are but a few of the services that are provided by the program.

Pilot/Aircraft Courtesy Evaluation is offered to any pilot and their aircraft as requested by the pilot. PACE provides a courtesy check of aircraft, pilot's certificates and piloting skill at no charge to the pilot.

Some pilots feel that the inspectors giving the check might find a discrepancy and sanction the pilot. This is not the case. If a problem is discovered that can be taken care of immediately, such as registration of an aircraft, the inspector will give the pilot the information needed to correct the problem.

Should the pilot have a problem in the flight portion of PACE the inspector will suggest that the pilot receive instruction on the specific area.

If an aircraft is found to have a mechanical problem the inspector will either issue a ferry permit or instruct the pilot to have the matter taken care of before flight. No violation will be issued, so you can put that concern to rest.

These are but a few of the day-to-day jobs that the safety program manager does for the aviation industry and the private pilots. There are many more that keep us busy as SPMs helping you to keep aviation safe for Southeast Alaska.

Please visit our Web site at www.alaska.faa.gov/jnufsdo/ or email me at patricia.mattison@faa.gov.

Patricia Mattison is safety program manager for Safety First.



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