What is an Aviation Safety
Within each Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Flight Standards District Office (FSDO), there is an individual directing the aviation safety activities. He or she is the Safety Program Manager (SPM). The SPM relies on the assistance provided by the staff of the FSDO, other FAA offices, and by the efforts of talented volunteers within the aviation communityand beyond. These volunteers are known as Aviation Safety Counselors (ASC).
ASC Appointment:
An ASC receives an appointment by either contacting the SPM in the district in which the volunteer lives, or being contacted first by the SPM. In the case of the ASC making contact, it is usually to express a desire to serve the aviation community in a specific manner, the need which is fulfilled by the volunteer. Often, an SPM will seek out individuals with certain talents to help service the aviation community.
The major advantage of having talented people join the ASC program is the credibility associations offer to both parties. All of aviation benefits when everyone works toward a common cause, in this case, the promotion of aviation safety. The advantage to the FAA is to associate with talented, motivated volunteers who constantly bring fresh ideas to the program and who provide direct contact with airmen for which there could never be sufficient FAA employees. Currently there are about 5,000 ASC's nationwide. The advantage to the ASC is the opportunity to be involved closely with the FAA?s mission and programs and to carry the credibility of that association along to the contacts made by the ASC. ASC's are issued an identification badge by the FAA and may display that ID badge as long as their appointment is valid. ASC's have no authority to enforce Federal Aviation Regulations.
Typical Duties And Other Volunteer Activities:
Not all ASC's are airmen (pilots, Air Traffic Controllers (ATC), maintenance technicians, Aviation Medical Examiners (AME), etc.), most, though, are. Many ASC's bring talents such as photography, video production, marketing and advertising, writing, and seminar development, to name a few special skills. What all ASC's share, however, is a desire to serve the aviation community.
Some typical (and not so typical) examples of ASC functions are:
? Providing information and guidance on local flying conditions to transient pilots.
? Providing counsel for airmen who may have exhibited unsafe acts in the air or on the ground.
? Providing assistance to pilots, aircraft owners, and mechanics on matters pertaining to proper maintenance of aircraft and avionics equipment.
? Counseling airmen following incidents requiring flight assistance from personnel in ATC.
? Assisting FAA in transmitting safety information to pilots, aircraft owners, maintenance facilities, and mechanics.
? Conducting proficiency flights (when appropriately rated).
? Writing articles about safety activities for magazines or other periodicals.
? Associating with other ASC's to form committees (even corporations) to do various functions that benefit airmen.
? Conducting safety activities for airmen.
? Creating educational materials, soliciting sponsorship of programs, and arranging the many details needed for a given event.
Clearly, when any given SPM is responsible for directing a vital and dynamic safety program to thousands of airmen in a district, the ASC program is an essential element for success.
Each SPM is free to structure the organization of ASC's within the district so that service to the community is the best it can be. Some districts may be small enough so that only a few ASC's are needed; some are so large that over 100 would be more suitable. In some districts the counselors have developed an organizational structure. Others work best using individual talents. Some develop committees that exist briefly to serve only a single project, in helping develop a safety plan or program at an airport.
How to Contact a Counselor:
Since most ASC's are airmen, they can generally be found at, or by, Fixed Base Operators (FBO), flying clubs, Flight Service Stations (FSS),- ATC facilities, corporate flight operations, airport management offices, and through the local FSDO. And one final point to keep in mind: If for any reason direct contact with the FAA feels uncomfortable, an ASC would be a great first contact.
Your apprehensions will likely vanish, and you will benefit from what the FAA, with its many programs and volunteers has to offer.
Some day you may be an ASC, too!.