Greetings SAFE Members,

It would seem that in many parts of this country winter has taken a firm grip on the weather. What with cold temperatures (they even had to de-ice airplanes in Florida), ice laden clouds, and howling winds, many of us have found some extra time in our schedules.. time spent in the furtherance of SAFE endeavors. For those who have been working on projects for SAFE this has been a godsend, and the progress that we have made over the last month is just fantastic. Hopefully my CRM (Can’tRememberMuch) will not leave out any of the numerous accomplishments of the past several weeks.
For starters, I am thrilled to report that SAFE now has two major corporate sponsors, one for our website, and one for our display at Sun N Fun. I cannot reveal the sponsor of our website just yet, as we review the letter of agreement I received last week, written by their corporate lawyers. (If there are any lawyers in the membership who would like to help us out here, please step forward.) But they have already sent us the first of two checks and it has been deposited in the SAFE bank account. I hope to be able to reveal who this wonderful sponsor is later this coming week. The other corporation that has stepped forward to sponsor our display at Sun N Fun (more on that display in a moment… ) is headset manufacturer LIGHTSPEED. Not only will they be sponsoring the display, but they will donate a Zulu Headset to the winner of a contest to be held during Sun N Fun that will be open to all aviation educators. The winner will be selected at random from all those who score 100% on a communications quiz.
In addition to events at Sun N Fun, LIGHTSPEED, in a letter of understanding with SAFE (read the News Release), “seeks to explore the joint development and promotion of aviation and proficiency educational materials and events”. They will also “continue to explore opportunities to provide value-added benefits for SAFE members. This may include headset giveaways, discounted products, and other types of promotional benefits”. One area that we are already jointly working on is the development of a seminar series on effective and correct communications, presented in partnership with the FAASTeam. I am looking forward to working together with LIGHTSPEED,not only because of their incredibly generous contributions to SAFE, but more importantly for the opportunity to have an effective influence in furthering greater safety within the aviation community! On behalf of all SAFE members I offer LIGHTSPEED our sincere gratitude.

While speaking about Sun N Fun, I am happy to announce that this year we should not be as difficult to find as we were last year. We have secured space E-6, which is just to the east of Hangar A (see attached map at the end of this update). This year we will not be hidden behind airplanes, or flanked by show-stealing displays. With our new flutter flags standing tall, you should all be able to easily find us. We are in the planning stages for our annual members breakfast at Sun N Fun, and have still not finalized a date. All of you who plan to attend this year’s Sun N Fun could help by letting me know your preference, either Friday 04/16, or Saturday 04/17. I would like to finalize this by the next Board meeting in mid February, giving me time to reserve the venue for the breakfast, so please let me know your preference. In addition, if you are planning on attending Sun N Fun, we will definitely be needing assistance at our display. So please start thinking about volunteering some time at the SAFE tent during your visit to Sun N Fun.

I hope that all of you are visiting the SAFE website from time to time and have taken note of numerous subtle changes and additions to the site. That being said, do be aware that there is much going on behind the scenes. We have several different pages all in a beta test form that will be made public in the near future. Perhaps the most exciting page for me is the library page. The LERCers (Library Editorial Review Committee) chaired by hard working Director Alan Davis, have been very busy creating the logistics whereby SAFE members can not only access the content of the library, but also submit content, all the while providing copyright protections and security for all concerned, not only users, but contributors as well. If all goes as planned it is quite possible that the Library will become a reality within the next few weeks.

Another page in beta form is the one we will be using as we launch an exciting member recruitment program called the “Member GaMe Plan” (Member-Get-a-Member). Julie Hubner and Michael Phillips of the membership committee have put together a very invigorating challenge whereby everyone of you can play a part in growing our organization, while at the same time competing for some very wonderful prizes. It will most likely be another few weeks until the entire program is ready to go, but stay tuned for this powerful program to be unveiled. In relation to the member recruitment program we have also been getting ready for our first round of membership renewals. In another two months, those of us who first joined SAFE will be celebrating our first anniversary of membership. I certainly hope that all of you who are part of that inaugural group are planning on renewing your membership, and in anticipation of this we are getting the website ready to make it a simple and seamless process.
Also soon to be resurrected in an entirely new format (now in beta testing) will be our forums area. Member Dennis Wilt (husband of Director Donna Wilt) who has significant experience in moderating forums, has been hard at work creating “terms of service” as well as many features heretofore missing from the forums area. These will include:Moderator oversight;The ability to restrict access to abusers of Forum rules;User Avatars;Full text formatting & spell check functions;Ability to include photos & graphics in posts;Private Messaging;Buddy Lists;Automatic email notifications regarding posts & private messages;RSS views;Forum stats; and the ability to link SAFE web pages to the Forum. This will insure that the SAFE forum is all that our members seek, and that it will be a very valuable resource to the entire membership.

I would be remiss if I didn’t take a few lines to single out one of our members without whom much of these things would not be happening, and that is Rich Stowell. In his “official position” as committee coordinator Rich has had a hand in virtually all the accomplishments of the past month. From website beta page creation, to creative writing, to a host of administrative chores, as well as a coordinator of all the different efforts going on simultaneously, it is no wonder that Rich is considered THE Guru of upset recovery. If ever there was a person who epitomized the ability to multi-task it is Rich. I guess it takes a Master who spends most of his time teaching folks how to recover from unusual attitudes, to juggle all the numerous tasks that Rich seems to effortlessly handle with aplomb. Thank you Rich!!
Moving away from the website news, there is much more to report. As I mentioned in the last update, the newly revised by-laws tasked me, as the chairman of the Board to make appointments to several standing committees. Unfortunately I wasn’t flooded with emails from members eager to serve, but I have completed filling the seats of the governance committee. It currently is comprised of Board members Mark Adams, John Dorcey, Tom Benenson and Alan Davis, as well as members at large, Sherry Rossiter and Burt Stevens. Their first immediate task is to elect a chairman for that committee, and then get to work coming up with a list of nominees for the upcoming elections of three Board of Director positions. Keep your eyes open for an email from the governance committee soliciting nominations for the Board in the very near future. In the meantime, if you would be interested in serving on the finance committee, please send me an email letting me know.
At the monthly Board of Directors meeting held last week, we reviewed a letter of understanding sent to us by SAFE memberRadek Wyrzykowski, who is the President of the recently formed IMC Clubs
( The Board voted unanimously to sign this LOU. ( In this understanding SAFE and the IMC Clubs will “promote aviation safety awareness, training and instrument proficiency to all airmen”. Thus SAFE has created yet another alliance as we strive to fulfill part of our vision statement of seeking a safer aviation environment.

For those of you who volunteered to partake in the Wings beta test, do not despair that it was in vain. In an emailreceived last week fromBryan Neville, the National FAASTeam Outreach Manager, he said:“Haven’t forgotten you! Our revised Beta test schedule for the revised WINGS program is moving toward late January. We will keep you in the loop!” So please hang tight, and hopefully we will hear from Bryan before the month is out. In other emails received recently, one was from Jim Anderson, the underwriter for Starr Aviation who is working on putting together the SAFE flight instructors insurance program. In it he told me: “Chubb is completing their review of our product and I am waiting for a call from them as I write this for an update from our Chubb liaison. I also spoke with our IT manager earlier on the product and I will be inAtlantasometime in the next couple of weeks to wrap up some of the details/discussions for the automation.” So it would appear that he is on track to keeping his promise of an insurance program within the first quarter of the year.

Director Donna Wilt reports that we should learn about our submission for a grant from the Wolf Aviation Fund, to support work on providing a mentoring program for SAFE members, sometime this spring. In the meantime, Donna, in collaboration with Director Arlynn MacMahon, is reviewing numerous documents, information and reports relative to setting up an effective mentoring program. This process will be a time consuming one, but we do hope to have a program in place in the not too distant future. If you would like to serve on this Mentoring Committee, please contact either Donna or me, and we will put you right to work on this important project. Please give some thought to those things you would like to see in our mentoring program, as the committee will soon be soliciting the membership for input on ways to make the SAFE Mentoring Program one which will lead the way in creating aviation educators that soar to the top of the field.

I think that just about covers all the things that have happened over the past month. Whereas much of the country has been in the grips of some very cold weather, and much of the aviation community has slowed way down, members and Directors of SAFE have been turning up the heat, and getting quite a bit accomplished. Remember that we are a member-centric organization and as such each and every one of you can play a part in our growth and development. In the soon-to-be-initiated Member GaMe Plan we will be counting on all of you to play an integral part. However you don’t have to wait until then. If you have something to offer, regardless of how much or how little, please don’t be shy in stepping forward. Please don’t hesitate to contact me, or any other Board member, if you would like to serve on any of our committees, or if you have any thoughts or suggestions on ways to improve our organization.

In the meantime please stay warm, and stay SAFE!
My best regards,
Doug Stewart
The Society of Aviation and Flight Educators

SAFE Booth at SNF, April 13-18, 2010:


About the author 

Doug Stewart (Lifetime Member)

MCFI/ DPE, 2004 National CFI OTY. Specializing in instrument training, tailwheel training, and sport pilot training. Currently SAFE Executive Director.

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