FROM THE LOGBOOK: The Newest Way to Reach Out For Information…

Jim Trusty 2012

            Yes, is the newest way to communicate with your government.  They have almost stopped using mail-outs and gone over to the computer for information about the Federal Aviation Administration, some of the business it conducts, and upcoming safety events across our great nation.  About 40% of American households now have one, ownership has increased 500% since 1998, and 60% of all our jobs require some use of a computer. 

            So what the FAA has figured out is that if you can fly across America without bumping into something and can operate a Global Positioning System in your airplane, then you can operate a computer.  And you don’t necessarily have to buy one.  I took classes at a local Community Education Program and would stop by the library and use their equipment until I felt smart enough to buy my own.  Since my tax money bought them, I thought I should have the right to put them to good use.  I also was smart enough to marry a wife that used one at work and ALMOST had enough patience to put up with me while I learned my way around cyberspace.  NOW I couldn’t live without it, so you have no excuse.  Believe me, if I can do it, so can you. 

            The system they came up with on beats everything else I have ever tried to understand from the government and really keeps you up-to-date automatically.  You sign in with name and password and then tell them what information you would like to receive.  I asked to be notified about upcoming safety meetings within 200 miles.  That’s about 1 ½ hours flight time for most of the clunkers we fly from my airport and makes for a nice outing.  We load up 3 or 4 to an airplane, hopefully with an instructor on board, family and friends are welcome, and away we go.

             It gives all on board a chance at some night and instrument currency, swapping pilots sometimes when we land, and makes for a lot of fun.  The presenters are always glad to see us because a lot of the time, we are a big part of the total crowd.  These programs are all we have in the way of putting new information out there for the masses.  We can’t guarantee that the pilots and aviation enthusiasts will read everything that is available about it, so we try our best to put together an interesting program that will appeal to the majority, get a good location, some food, handouts, speakers, and ALL FREE to anyone who wishes to attend, and there you have it. 

             Get someone to show you how easy it is to get started on a computer, and once hooked, you’ll be sorry you waited so long to enter this century.  Finally, the cost is about where it should be.  On the low end, $500 can buy one heck of a rig, and then as you learn, you can add on to it with printers, scanners, cameras, BIG screens and lots of other stuff.  But first, get started! 

             This FAA site,,

is going to be a winner at passing out information and scheduling these meetings far and wide.  Thousands more use the computer daily, and it should be up to the pilots to find out where this training is taking place and when.  They are provided free so the least we can do is locate one and attend.  

             Some other advantages, and I was just reminded of this feature while doing some research for an article on aviation insurance, is that a lot of these firms will recognize participation in an FAA WINGS PROGRAM as recurrency training when it is time to renew your insurance policy.  So WINGS gives us a FREE Biennial, FREE training, FREE food, FREE video, FREE seminar, FREE handouts, FREE lapel pin, FREE wall certificate, FREE access to an FAA Inspector and certainly an FAA AVIATION SAFETY COUNSELOR that you can communicate with long after the meeting is over.  All you have to do is show up and bring or rent an airplane.  It’s really a pretty good deal all around for you and the FAA. 

             The FAA requires the training, the FAA furnishes the training, the FAA notifies you where and when it will be held.  All you have to do is plug in and show up.  I attended one this week at my airport about “Weather Wise” and we expected over 100 to attend.  Again we underestimated the power of reaching out and had to cram 176 into a tiny fire hall to listen to an AOPA presenter work on weather for two hours.  Pretty interesting.  He managed to cover some things most of us have drifted away from since we have gotten too smart to call the Flight Service Station for a briefing.  I like the AOPA, they keep up. 

           I know that some of you are still fighting me over getting and learning to use a computer, so I’ll let you slide for awhile.  Need the information on the web site?  Well, here are some other ways to stay informed.  I’ll bet your FBO has a computer, your library probably has one, your Instructor should, your FAA Aviation Safety Team Representative does, and if all else fails call the Flight Standards District Office and ask for the Safety Program Manager.  When he calls you back, tell him that you need the date and time of the next safety program in your area.  Remember all the free stuff including food that you will be missing by not attending. 

             It’s not an option any more about modernizing the way to pass on information.  It’s a necessity, and if you are not computing, you are not keeping up.  Remember, that thing, as you refer to it, is simply a storehouse of information, and that you have to ask for whatever it produces.  Now just before you say “NO” again and I let you go, make me this one promise.  Just sit down for a moment and let someone show you how easy it is to get on the internet and pull up   Promise?  It’s the best $500 investment you will ever make.  Everyone that now has one will appreciate your getting one and will help you learn how to use it . . . especially that SPM you called at the FSDO.

As a last resort, call or e-mail me.

         Permission required to reprint this copyrighted article (2012).


Jim Trusty, ATP/IGI/CFI/AGI, was named the FAA/Aviation Industry National Flight Instructor of the Year for 1997, and the FAA Southern Region Aviation Safety Counselor of the Year for 1995 & 2005 and then again in 2011.  He still works full-time as a Corporate 135 Pilot/ “Gold Seal” Flight & Ground Instructor/ FAA Aviation Safety Team Lead Representative/ International Aviation Magazine Writer.  You have been reading his work since 1973 in publications worldwide.  He welcomes your comments and e-mail works best (



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JAMES E. (Jim) TRUSTY,  ATP~CFI~IGI,  was named the FAA/Aviation Industry National Flight Instructor of the Year  for 1997, and the first ever FAA Southern Region Aviation Safety Counselor of the Year for 1995 and then again in  2005 & 2011.  He still works full-time as a Corporate 135 Pilot~ “Gold Seal” Flight & Ground Instructor~FAA Aviation Safety Team Lead Representative~ Internationally Published  Aviation Magazine Writer.  You have been enjoying his work since 1973 in publications worldwide.  If you have comments, questions, complaints, or compliments, please e-mail them directly to him, and he will certainly respond.  Thank You.  (


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