Apr 1, 2017
A couple of weeks ago, I presented a safety seminar on two topics: One segment on Single Pilot Resource Management, SRM, and another on Loss of Control, two topics in which we seem to be needing more than a little refresher, if we look at accident stats. For example, in 2015, 384 people died in GA accidents. Loss of Control was the number one cause, and there is often a strong indication of poor single pilot resource management, SRM, in these accidents.
According to the Feds, there’s one fatal Loss of Control accident every four days.
For this event, the FAA sent out 5591 emails to local pilots of all kinds: balloon pilots, glider pilots, helicopter pilots, airline pilots, flight instructors, sport and recreational pilots. Only 35 registered. Of those, just 24 showed up. Twenty four pilots. That’s less than half of one percent of those invited.
Why don’t more pilots attend safety seminars? I’m not the only presenter wondering what’s (not) going on here. What should we as (volunteer) content creators, presenters, or flight instructors make of that kind of abysmal showing? Is there that little interest in learning something new? Are pilots content with their training, knowledge and flying proficiency that they don’t feel they need safety seminars?
This event cost the pilot nothing to attend other than their time. We even gave away the customary cookies and Starbucks coffee. (For the record, there were no cookies left when we cleaned up after the event.)
Perhaps it’s time to offer something different than the live safety seminar. What if…we created a different model? What would that look like?
Would pilots rather watch a video online or listen to a podcast to feel like they are paying adequate attention to their personal safety and continued learning? Has the content offered in past events not been applicable, or of interest to pilots? Have the presentations been poorly done?
Or has the sit-down safety seminar held on a Saturday morning or afternoon, or some evening after dinner, become another relic of an earlier time? Are people just “too busy” to spend a couple of hours learning something that might make a difference in their cockpits — or their lives?
What if we offered (free) pie and ice cream instead of cookies?
Does the fact that it’s free cause pilots to think that they’ll get exactly what they pay for? Do they not perceive value in a “free” seminar?
I’d like to believe that aviators prize new ways of thinking, embrace new perspectives, devour potentially life-saving information. Or are we satisfied that our miserable accident rate is acceptable, or as good as it can get, so hey, why bother?
What do you think?